"Jane?" a soft whisper came from behind me. I recognised that voice better than I'd recognise my own. My eyes flooded with tears as I turned to see him. The man who forever guarded my heart from misery and evil.
"Father?" was my only response before I flew into his awaiting arms. "I was told you wouldn't be back. That it was impossible for you to ever return. How are you here now?" his face hadn't changed one bit in the two years that had passed since I had last seen him. His face suddenly changed from one of pure joy and elation to one of grief and sorrow. "Father what is it?" I questioned, eager to know what was troubling him. "My dearest Jane, you're hope has always been my only faith. Yours and yours alone my darling. You, were the first woman I ever cried for Janey. Did I ever tell you that?" he was worrying me, making me tense and I felt powerful waves of fear wash over me again as if I was back in that bomb shelter. "I need you to know Janey my angel, that nothing that happens next is because of you." he started, "If something happens Janey, I want you to know - I need you to know how awfully sorry I am. This a goodbye Janey, we both know that. If I'm sent back I won't return. Look after the family, my precious. Look after your mother and sister and brother. Most of all Janey, have hope. Have hope in life itself and never lose the faith I know you possess. Please. For me." I was confused. Why was he telling me this now? It may be days, weeks or even months before they would call for him again. Why would he tell me this now?
"Jane?" I turned my head slightly to see Michael standing before me, with a worried expression etched upon his face. I couldn't hold my delight towards my father's return albeit brief. "Look Michael, it's my father!" I say not looking behind me and gesturing to my beloved Thomas Smith. Although, Michael's look of confusion and worry only grew. "Michael! Whatever is the matter? My father. He's home! Are you not as delighted by this news as I am?" Michael moved closer to me. "Jane." he took a deep breath, "There's no one there Jane. Look behind you, Jane. There's no one there." it couldn't be so. Of course my father would be there. He'd not let me down. He'd be there when I turned I knew of it but as my head started reversing, looking towards the ever familiar face, his features started fading. His hand became limp and fell from my grasp. With a blink of my eyes he was gone. I turned to Michael, tears stinging my eyes. "What happened to him? He was right there! HE WAS RIGHT THERE!" I began to sob. Michael moved his hand to my shoulder. "Jane listen to me. It's not easy for me to say this but your father. He died. Two hours ago. He was flying his plane above Berlin when a stray bomb landed above him. There was nothing he could do Jane. It was too late. It was too late."
The words kept replaying in my mind. It was too late. My father had died. One of the bombs he had tried protecting us from had killed him instantly. He told me once when I couldn't sleep that I was his second first love. Mother was his first of course. And then me. His eldest child, his eldest daughter. I was his first experience crying. I was his first little girl. I was his first princess. I was his second first perfect hello. I suppose he was there. Hours after his death. He was there to make sure I got the perfect goodbye. Just like I got the perfect hello, 14 years prior to that second. My dearest father was there one last time to guard my heart from any evil or sorrow or grief I may have. My father, the heroic soldier was there one last time to tell me of his death in person before I got the tragic news from any other being alive.