Daddy’s Little Girl
She had always been daddy’s little girl.
He could still remember the day that she had been born, the agony that Susan had gone through in labour, before finally succeeding in those final steps to give the couple a beautiful baby girl. He smiled at her reflection in the mirror, and she gazed back at him adoringly, before turning around and taking a step towards him.
“How do I look?” She asked.
“Divine.” He whispered back, trying to force himself not to cry. She could sense it, too, and took another step towards him, giving him a soft kiss on the cheek and hugging him tightly.
So many memories were washing through his mind, as they stood there together, holding one another.
His mind raced back, she was only five years old, it was late at night, but she was simply too energetic to go to bed. He smiled as he remembered her bouncing on her father’s knee, and declaring that when she was older, she was going to marry daddy. He had looked across at Susan, and both had shared a loving smile.
Her mind raced back to when she was eight years old, and they were at the park. It had been a family Christmas barbecue – one of those rare occasions where they had everyone gathered together. She had been pushing her little brother on the swing, and he had come back too fast, hitting her in the face. She’d screamed, and the only thing that she really remembered from that point on was her father’s caring touch, tender words and the comfort that he had given her.
She felt his body shake a little, and held him tighter. Time was against them in this moment where, both knew, everything changed after this.
She was turning ten, and he could see her at her birthday party. Susan had dressed her up for the part, and he could picture her like it was yesterday. Beautiful brown locks of hair – half tied back, and half left hanging out, and a soft blue dress that matched her eyes – she had her father’s eyes, perhaps that was part of the connection between the two – every time they looked at one another, they saw a part of themselves. She was blowing the candles out, and he smiled, the look on her face, the happiness, the excitement that she held was something that he would treasure eternally.
She could remember when she was twelve, and he was in hospital. He’d had to have an operation, and she could remember crying. She had been unable to go and see him, he had always been so strong, and when she saw him lying in that hospital bed, he looked so pallid and weak. She had always felt guilty for that, thinking that maybe he would have recovered faster if she had been there to help him, but she had been so scared, seeing him there, so weak when he had always been so strong. Every night she had prayed beside her bed that he would get better. She cried on so many occasions about her father’s sickness; Jordan had teased her about it, but she hadn’t changed her mind, until right near the end, two days before he was meant to come out of the hospital. Then she had finally gone to see him. She had told him how sorry she was, and he had opened up his arms for her. She’d crawled up onto the hospital bed, and onto his lap, and he had wrapped his arms around her protectively, and told her that he forgave her, before kissing her forehead. She had suddenly felt so warm, so comforted in his arms.
They pulled apart, and looked into each others’ eyes.
“Daddy, don’t cry.” Crystal whispered, “That’s meant to be my job.”
They smiled, and Daniel removed a tissue from his blazer pocket, dabbing at his eyes lightly.
“We should go, or Michael will begin to think I’ve kidnapped you.” Daniel said, and crooked his elbow. She linked her arm through his, and they made their way towards the door.
He saw her at fifteen, in tears in her bedroom. They’d drifted apart a little when she had become a teenager. She’d begun to think it too cool to be close to her father, and spent more time with her friends, and less time with her family. The times she was with her family were spent doing homework, or in her bedroom reading. He had missed her, and there were times when he wondered what he had done wrong. He had done nothing wrong, Susan had always told him, she was a teenager and that was what happened with teenagers. They had both gone through the same things with their parents.
He’d heard her sobbing through the door, and entered the room, against all her wishes. There she was, fifteen years old, and as beautiful as ever. She was crying, and his heart had broken. It was all over a boy – he smiled now that he remembered it, and as the door opened, and the organ at the front of the church began to play, he looked down the aisle at that boy, now ten years older.
As they walked down the aisle, she remembered the day she had received her degree in law. There had been two men in her life at that point, her, an early twenties graduate in law, and those two men, one her father, and the other, Michael. They had been dating for years by this point. She had run first to her father’s arms. Ever since that day that he had interrupted her crying after her and Michael broke up when she was fifteen, she had made sure to go back to loving her father completely. She’d told him everything, shared it all with him, and he had become more than her father, but her friend as well. As she began to become an adult, he had loosened up – he still hesitated, and she could remember night after night, and day after day of long talks, where she had to explain again that she was an adult, and no longer twelve years old. She remembered one line he had said, after she convinced him that it was okay for her and Michael to go to England together for six weeks.
“You’ll have kids one day, sweetheart, and you’ll understand.” He had said, before kissing her on the forehead, the way he had always done, and letting her go.
They reached the front of the church, and she turned towards her father one last time. He gazed at her, and leaned forward. Through the veil, he gave her a kiss on the forehead, and stopped where he was while Crystal stepped forward to greet her soon-to-be husband.
The pastor at the front of the church went through the normal greetings for a wedding, and Daniel stood at the front of the church.
“Who gives this woman away?” The pastor asked.
Daniel nearly choked on his words. He paused a moment, and a tear finally did break free from his eye.
“I do.” He managed to finally whisper.