I thought I saw a ghost when I looked up from my morning newspaper. She didn’t introduce herself; instead, she glared at me as if taunting me to say her name. My eyes filled, instantly, but I couldn’t mouth any words. Rather than talk, we shared a heartbreaking silence. It’s defining sound forced her to sit across from me. But anchored in the memories of the past, her cheeks grew red and patchy while she shifted in her seat. In a second of courage, I motioned one hand out to her.
“Would you like something to eat? I know the chef here he could whip us up something. I don’t know if you like eggs. I like eggs they’re better than what I used to eat for breakfast,” I rambled.
She shook her head no. We sat in silence once again but it was in this quietness I realized how different she had become. Her once inquisitive eyes spoke now only of betrayal and anger. What happened to the girl I knew? The girl that ask questions in order to satisfy her imagination about the unknown. The girl that could make a room full of strangers happy just by smiling. The same girl that won first place in Florida’s junior chef championship by using creativity as a natural born skill. But as I sat in front of her, all I saw was emptiness.
“I’m sorry,” I blurted out.
“I didn’t come here for an apology,” she spoke.
“I know I’ve made mistakes, but I can change. I can learn how to be a father again.”
Her face turned cold. Soon every muscle in her body began to pulse with a rabid sensation. “I didn’t come here for you,” she spat.
“Then what are you doing here?” I asked.
“I wanted…I needed to tell you….mom is…” Suddenly her eyes started to fill with sadness as she choked out soft sobs. As she tried to explain to me why she was unhappy every time she failed her sorrow grew deeper. I wanted to comfort her, to wrap my arms around her and hold her but I couldn’t. I was stopped, by the fact, I lost that privilege long ago. I could no longer ease her pain since I was at the center of it. I tried to say a few calming words, but everything I said seemed wrong.
Finally, she choked out, “Mom’s dead, the funeral’s tomorrow,” Before I could comprehend what she said she stood up and walked swiftly to the doorway.
“Alice!” I screamed. But it was no use she was gone. My daughter had left me just as I had left her many years ago with a ghost of haunting remembrance.