Angel in Our Midst


8. One Day a Year ago:

   I watch emotions flash across Emily's face; the hurt, anger, and joy mixes with a twinge of sadness. Next come the slow, hot tears that are ebbing their way down her cheeks, into the bunched up sheets that are clutched in her hands. I cannot take watching her hurt anymore. I cup her face in my hands, wiping her tears away, gently, with my thumbs. I lean in and kiss her on the forehead.  I watch as she slowly pulls her head out of dreamland and comes back into my world. She slowly pushes herself up off the bed and I scope her in my arms and cradle her, trying to absorb her pain so she doesn't have to deal with it on her own.

             "I Love You," I tell her, as I wait for her to tell me what horror she had seen in her dreams.

            "My Dad," Emily chokes out between sobs that rack her body, "he is dead."

              I try to hid my reaction to her words, knowing it would hurt her more.            

Instead I ask her "How do you feel?" I wonder what she would say, this is not a subject we talked about much because it is too painful for her.

             "As weird as this is," Emily started, "I am more sad than I though I would be. I am also relieved he no longer has a chance to hurt my little sister, Hannah. Now that horrid man will never be able to lay a hand on her and she can keep her innocence for some man who actually deserves her, not for her father." 

            A very valid point, I tell myself, as I wait for Emily to go on knowing that she is not done speaking yet.

            "But he is still my Dad and I loved him at one point. I miss the days before my Mom left, when we would go camping or fishing. Or even the time when he first let me shot a shotgun. I will miss that side of my Dad, but never the monster he became." She heaved a cathartic sigh. Now that Emily had said her piece and is feeling better I suddenly became aware of the tear stained spot on my T-shirt. I know without a doubt, the world is a better place without her Dad, but I did not dare to say those words out loud. 

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