Flash fiction from Michelle Chouinard

The One That Got Away

 

Hey there.

Yeah, it sure has been a long time. Longer than it needed to be. Funny, I never thought I’d run into you all the way out here; are you on a business trip? Imagine a thing like that. How is everything? How is your leg, did you get the surgery? How’s my mother? I know what you mean… life is like that sometimes, isn’t it?

Once upon a time, there was a Little Girl. When she was four years old, her mother took her far away from where she lived, to a new place, called ‘California’. When the Little Girl asked where her daddy was, her mother told her that she wouldn’t be seeing him again, because he had hurt them and he didn’t love them anymore.

But it was okay, Mother said, because the Little Girl was going to have a new daddy now. A new man had come into their lives; he loved Mother, and he would learn to love the Little Girl, too. But the Little Girl wasn’t sure. How could she trust this man to love her when her own biological father didn’t?

It wasn’t easy for the Little Girl, and it wasn’t easy for her new Daddy. These things are hard no matter what, but Mother made it even harder. She never let Daddy act like the Little Girl’s father, held it over him that he wasn’t her biological parent, only she was. She also caused fights between him and the Little Girl whenever she saw them getting too close; she needed to be the fulcrum around which the family moved. You see, Mother was a very unhappy person, and she made everyone around her unhappy, too.

Despite these difficulties, the Little Girl and her new Daddy grew to love each other, or at least so the Little Girl believed. When she was nineteen, Mother and Daddy decided to get divorced, and Daddy wrote the Little Girl a letter telling her that he loved her like she was his very own, and he always would, no matter what happened between him and Mother. And for the first time ever, the Little Girl started to believe she mattered.

But this wasn’t a fairy tale, and life doesn’t always end with happily ever after.

Mother and Daddy decided to stay married, and they moved far away to start a new life in another new place. It was very difficult for the Little Girl and her Daddy now that they were living so far apart, but they tried hard, and their relationship grew stronger than ever.

But when Mother found out how close the two of them were, she became very, very angry and very, very jealous. She began to pull their relationship apart again; she told lots of lies, and turned the two of them against one another.

The Little Girl saw what Mother was doing, and how unhappy a person Mother was. She very sadly realized that if she didn’t want to be unhappy, too, she would have to stay away from Mother. She explained this to her Daddy, and told him that even so, she still wanted him to be in her life, that she wanted to make sure their relationship stayed strong. And she kept trying hard, but it was too late.

Daddy stopped visiting his Little Girl, and stopped calling her. Birthday cards stopped, and there were no wishes at Christmas. The Little Girl grew up, graduated from college, got married and had a baby; her Daddy wasn’t at any of those events to share them with her. Days passed into months, and months turned into years…all without her Daddy.

 

Okay, well, I won’t keep you. It’s been good running into you; I’m glad you’re well. Stay safe.

The Little Girl turned and watched her Daddy disappear into the distance.

Goodbye, Daddy. I miss you.