Short stories,

Spirit breakout: Daddy's little princess

November 02, 2012 Ezer Kenegdo 0 Comments

For as long as I can remember, my dad had always been my best friend.  I’d always been ‘daddy’s little princess’, and he was my hero and my number one fan.

I remember quite vividly the day all that changed. I’d been upset daddy had come home slightly earlier than usual, because that meant I wouldn’t be able to surprise him with the jelly I’d made him which wouldn’t be set for another 2 or so hours. Regardless, I excitedly ran to the door to give him a hug and a kiss as was our ritual. I sensed something was wrong when he didn’t pick me up and spin me around like he always did. I was horrified that he somehow sensed I may have been upset about his coming home early, so I tried to cheer him up by telling him how much I loved him, but He didn’t respond, he didn’t even smile at me.  That day was the first of so many times he looked at me with something I didn’t quite understand then, but which my now adult mind would have recognised as hatred and disgust.

Daddy never smiled at me again. No matter how hard I tried to please him nothing I did was ever good enough for him. Gone were the words of encouragement he used to shower me with. Still, nothing could have prepared me for what happened the day mummy died. I received no comfort from my father when he told me my mum was involved in a fatal car accident, instead I was shipped off to live with her younger sister. How does a 10year old girl deal with the news her mother just died and that her father was rejecting her- sending her away because the only reason he kept her around was now dead. The last time I saw my dad was the day of the funeral. I’d tried to get his attention, but he wouldn’t even look at me.

But that was 15years ago. Now as I finish of what’s left of the box of crunchy nut cornflakes, I’m confused as to why my best friend just doesn’t get that I cannot accept love from the man who abandoned me when I needed him most. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it then, and in many ways I still can’t. How do you just stop loving someone? How could the man who called me his little princess, who promised to always be there for me, just stop loving me?

 “Fope, you aren’t getting what I’m saying. I’ve honestly completely forgiven him, I have nothing against him. The way I see it, it’s ridiculous to be angry at someone just because they don’t love you”

“Ruth if you really have forgiven him why won’t.....”

Throwing my hands up in the air, and almost knocking the box of cereal over.

“We’ve been through this a million times, and frankly I don’t think I want to discuss it anymore! Forgiving is easy. Forgetting? Not so much. I just can’t.......”

“Can’t or won’t?”

Her words stung, maybe because I knew they were true. For the longest time I’d dreamed of my dad realising the error of his ways and coming back with his tail between his legs, but now that it was finally happening, I didn’t want it. And she was right, I hadn’t made much of an effort to look past the hurt, I unconsciously decided I wouldn’t make things easy for him. I wanted him to have a taste of the pain and rejection he subjected me to.

My best friend pulled me into a warm hug as I tried to fight back the tears that threatened to flow.

“He sent me away Fope. In the blink of an eye his love turned to hatred, how do you just stop loving someone? And now I’m magically supposed to accept that love – a love that is here today and gone tomorrow? I’m sorry, I just can’t trust that love of his. If it’s the same love of 15years ago that he wants to give me I can tell you right now that I don’t want it. I just ca...”

“Enough with the you can’t this, you can’t that. I’m not trying to justify what he’s done, but put yourself in his shoes, and imagine how he must have felt when he found out that you were the product of his wife’s infidelity. A constant reminder of what ultimately led to the breakdown of his marriage. He was wrong to treat you the way he did, but you of all people know hurt people hurt people”

Pulling away.

“He built a wall, and shut me out. He can’t waltz back into my life 15years later because he is terminally ill and suddenly realises he got it wrong all those years ago, and that I am actually his daughter. What if next week another report comes out saying I’m not really his daughter? Will he still love me then? I forgive him, but his love means nothing to me. I don’t trust it to always be there, so I can’t accept it.”

“Do you love him?”

Her question threw me off guard. All these years I’d concentrated on how much he didn’t love me, never once did I ever consider how I felt about him.

“Madam the issue here is that I just don’t trust him, it’s not about me or how.....”

“Well maybe it should be about you. What do you think love is? And that’s not a rhetorical question”

I shook my head violently, this definitely wasn’t one of the times I wanted the Holy Spirit all up in my head. But the harder I shook my head, the clearer 1Cor 13:7 “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”, was impressed in my heart. Right then, I broke down and started crying. My friend held me tightly in her arms as I cried the tears I’d refused to cry for many years, the tears I’d told myself my father didn’t deserve. But God was not done with me yet. Fope told me something that shook my whole belief system to its very core.

“He doesn’t know you are his daughter”

I froze. She continued.

She told me how his daughter Sheni had found among his things the unopened result of the paternity test my mother had tried to use to prove that I was his daughter and how for some inexplicable reason Sheni hadn't yet shared her discovery with him. I don’t know which shook me more, the fact that he could so easily throw me away without having concrete proof that I wasn't his daughter, or the fact that he wanted a relationship with me now regardless.

“Ruth no one is asking you to allow things go back to the way they were. That’s impossible. He realises that his actions had consequences. He knows he has to work to earn the trust he destroyed all those years ago. All he needs from you is an opportunity to prove himself. No one expects anything to happen overnight, but I believe you both will come out stronger”

I wasn’t in the mood for her Christianese, but I knew my friend was right. Sigh. She’s always right. Sinking deeper into her arms I knew what I had to do. Tomorrow I would go to the hospital to see the man who had abandoned me 15years ago. I was willing to take things one day at a time, not because I believed he deserved it, but because I love him- and that’s what love does. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

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