Ten Years On

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She hadn’t seen him for ten years, and as she stood outside his door, she seriously questions the wisdom of being there.

Her memories are vague.  A pink teddy that smelt of tobacco, a stained yellow smile and a promise to write every day.

She’d never received one letter until last week.  One scrappy sheet of paper covered with scrawls of professed regret.  How he must have missed so much.  Her first boyfriend.  Her wedding.  Grandchildren.  Words.  Just words.  Every one reminding her that he didn’t know a thing about her.

But, she had come this far…

Ding dong.

The man who opened the door was a far cry from the one she remembered.  Small and thin, smaller than her even, hollow eyed and grey.  He was no longer the strong heroic father who’d left her; who’d haunted her dreams for the last decade.

Her voice sounded small and far away, ‘Dad?’

‘Yeah kid, it’s me.’

‘Oh my God.’  Sobbing she collapsed into his arms but the strong man from her childhood had gone and they both sank to the floor with the pressure.  ‘What happened to you?’

‘I got old.  Old and sick.  I’m so sorry for everything I’ve done, everything I didn’t do; I’m so glad you’re here.’

She looked at the sobbing frail old man next to her and realised that none of it mattered anymore.  She helped him up and they went into the house holding each other up and closing the door behind them.

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