Into My Father's Arms

A Short Story

The rain pounded down on the windowpanes, another summer thunderstorm was visiting the area. My father looked at the clock, the glowing green digital numbers glaring back at him. As another loud crack of thunder resounded through the air, my father could hear the little pitter-patter of his daughter's feet running down the hallway. "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" the frightened little girl cried. Tears flowed in little crystal streams staining their paths down her face. My father knelt down to pick up his daughter. "Shush, it's okay. The storm won't hurt us." he whispered, wiping the tears from her cheeks. "I won't let it hurt you. Your big strong daddy will never let anything hurt you." My father rocked his daughter, the little daughter without a mother. He sang her lullaby, and gently put her back in bed. He lived for those moments, the moments when his daughter would run into her father's arms.

"Daddy! I love my bike! It's so pretty!" my father's daughter exclaimed. My father finished taking the training wheels off his daughter's bike for the first time. Slowly, but surely, his daughter mastered how to keep her balance on the bicycle, until she didn't need her father's hand on her back to keep her steady anymore. It was hard for my father to admit, but his little girl was on the way to independency, where her father didn't always need to be around.

The next day, my father's daughter decided to take her bike out for a ride. The child was inexperienced though, and fell onto the hard concrete. She cried, noticing the blood spilling out of a cut on her knee. My father's daughter ran inside, into her father's arms, to shelter and safety. My father picked up his daughter, and carried her to the bathroom to clean and bandage her scrapes. "Daddy will always take care of you." he assured his daughter. He touched up the paint on his daughter's bike and within the month, she was riding her bike alongside him.

Jemma and Daddy. Daddy and Jemma. That's the way it always was. Until a new woman entered the picture, separating the happy relationship between father and daughter. The undivided attention Jemma got from her dad was now cut off, shared with a woman she didn't know, a woman that dad had chosen to replace Jemma's mother. Jemma hated her father on the outside; she would never run to him for a long while.

"Stay out of my life! I hate you and I hate her!" my father's daughter screamed as she slammed her door, ran towards the car and drove away. My father's daughter found solace in the arms of an abusive boyfriend, yet she tolerated it. My father tried to be truly happy for his daughter at her wedding, but whispered to her "If you ever need some place to run, my arms will always be open to my daughter."

The damaged relationship started to mend, but was never fully brought full circle, until after my father's divorce, and another stormy summer night…

Another summer storm rolled in, and my father heard a knock at the door. When he opened it, he found his daughter, beaten and bruised. "Daddy…I…" was all his daughter was able to manage. She fell into his arms, crying and lamenting her husband who had left her alone in the world. My father stroked his daughter's head. "I won't let it hurt you," he whispered. "Your big, strong daddy will never let anything hurt you."

The relationship was brought full circle again; it was once again just Jemma and Daddy, Daddy and Jemma. And now…

There is no sound in the silent hospital room. Today is the day that I have to say goodbye to the father that I love. My father stirs from his sleep. "Jemma," he whispers, his voice barely audible. "I love you. Your big, strong daddy will be watching you…and never let anything happen to you." he holds out his hand, and once again, for one last time, I ran into my father's arms.