SERIES: Part 10
November 2, 2015. Morning.
It takes a moment for what I’m seeing to sink in. I’m still groggy, squinting at the email through the steam of my coffee. I was just about check the tracking, dreading another failed delivery attempt.
I feel strange- as if I never fully existed in the world until now. My whole life, I’ve been a secret. Now he knows I’m here. What turmoil is happening in his house at this very moment? How will his wife react? Will he be cold and rejecting, and is the awful heartbreak going to happen now? If he accepts me, how long will it take? What if it takes years… and what if he dies before then? Of all the possibilities churning around and around in my mind, it doesn’t occur to me that my father’s heart might break open just like mine, and that he might love me immediately.
November 2, 2015. Afternoon.
An email notification dings loudly from the front pocket of my purse. I don’t really expect to hear from him the same day he’s received my letter, but I can’t help jumping every time I hear the sound. I reach toward the passenger seat and pull out my phone. “There is a light coming up,” I rationalize my disregard to safety. “I can look at it there.”
I pull up to the car stopped ahead of me and ease on the brakes. I look down from the stoplight that is blurred through the rain splattered windshield and push the round button at the bottom of my phone. The screen lights up, and I tap the envelope icon in the corner. My heart, that has been fluttering all day, pounds into my throat and my breath shifts from a shaky, rapid intake, to none at all.
At the top of my inbox, is my father’s name. Underneath it, are the words:
“Dear Jeni, I received a…”
Dammit! The light turns green and the car in front of me begins to pull away before I can read the message. The phone drops into my lap and I grip the steering wheel, hands shaking with adrenaline. I drive forward, looking frantically through the foggy passenger window for a place to park. Turning onto a street with less traffic, I spot a free space, lurch the car toward it, back in, and stop.
The squeaking windshield wipers create rhythmic glimpses into the outside world. Otherwise, I am insulated by fogged glass and the motor’s hum. Tap Tap… the phone lights up, and my eyes rush over the message. My chest and stomach tighten, constricting a wave of emotion that’s been pent up for days, and force it outward. For a few moments, sobs gush from my body before I’m able to swallow them back, blink through a sheet of tears, and read it again.
I received a visit from the FedEx man today. You are a brave soul for writing such a beautiful message and for that, I am and will be forever grateful. As you might imagine, I am of course, quite stunned, filled with sadness for all the years of ignorance yet elated by that which is yet to be known. May I call you tomorrow when privacy is available? Words scatter faster than I am able to rope them in for sane use. I love you. I always have. I haven’t wept in a great many years.”