A young woman helps her father pass on with a smile.


"Sophie," he said, in a deep, reasuring voice, "Death is natural. Everyone lives and everyone dies. It's something that happens to everything. There is nothing immune to it." The girls disappointing showed clearly as she sighed. 
"But daddy, I just want to know why we have to di-" 
"I told you, Sophie," interupted with his deep voice, only this time, in a calmer and more relaxed tone, "there are forced beyond our comprehension in this world. Life and death are one of those." Sophie slumped her small shoulders as her eyes started to tear up. Poor thing, he thought to himself, must 'uv thought I meant to scold her with that. He hated to see her as such, but there was nothing he could do. It was the truth, after all.
The Man had to cheer her up. "Sophie," he said to the young girl, in a caring voice, one that would make anyone lower their guard, "how about we head to town." The man asked the young girl. The girl gave a quizitive look at the man and was about to ask him why, but the man answered her question before she could ask it.
"Wasn't there something you wanted in town?" The girls mouth opened into a grin that grew wider in excitement with each word he spoke. That smile made the old man feel young again. "You know, from that one store. What was it called? J-Mart?" 
Sophie jumped in the air, as she screamed, "You mean it daddy? Youre really going to buy Dolly?" She asked, radiating an aura of delight.
The old man smiled at her reaction. At her youth. He remained silent for several minutes in an attempt to tease the young girl, finding some sort of satisfaction in her face, ever increasing in frustration with each passing moment of silence. 
"Yes, Sophie. The Dolly." the old man finally said. 
"The one with tha'ed hair?" She asked the man towering above her. 
"No Sophie, not that one," the man teased Sophie once again, then looked down at the girl and saw her disappointment. He quickly finished what he was saying earlier, "Not, the one with 'tha'ed hair,' Sophie, the one with the red hair," he said, placing emphasis on the end, regretting that he took his teasing a bit too far.
The girl's expression Cleared immediately. The girl smiled a smile that the man would permanently etch into his mind. She stood on her toes and wrapped both arms around the giants' waist. "Thank you daddy!" She squealed in joy.
The Red Man loved the girl. He loved her as a part of himself, that is to say, much like a daughter. Three years have passed since the two met. It's been three years since man had saved her from the ice, and, in a way, it's been three years since the girl had saved him from the loneliness. 
The old man liked many things about the girl; the way she skipped instead of walked. The way she would unintentionally combine words when she spoke. Her ever increasing love for nature, which reminded him of himself years ago. But most of all, he loved the young girls stories.
He enjoyed the stories she would tell him, stories of a world she created and the creatures she defeated. Her vivid imagination never ceased to amaze him. He had not once every met one able to weave a yarn as well as she had been able to.
She would dance as she spun her tales. The fluid movements, combined with her soft, feminine voice were cure for any ailments the man had encountered. Indeed, with such medicine available, nothing's incurable. Or so he had convinced himself.
"Daddy? Daddy! Daddy, wakeup Daddy!" The young girl pleaded the red man. 
The man must have been out of it for longer than usual, since even the girl, who had grown accustomed to his zoning out, had begun to panic.
"Yes, Sophie, I am alright." He said to the girl as he stroked her hair, "I am alright." He repeated once more, more to himself than to the girl. "I'm just going to relax for a while, Sophie. Go on, now, go and play. We'll go get you the doll later. For now, play."
"Daddy, I was worr...." The young girl started. She didn't have the strength to finish. She knew the red man had cancer. She knew he had the same thing that had taken away her father, not too long ago. She had overheard the man talking on the phone about it. She knew he didn't have 'till the end of the year.
She had not brought it up with the red man. She was young, but she was wise beyond her years. She realized that it was something he would have to tell her. A conversation he would have to start. She had no right to rush the man into telling her, and she knew it. But still, she was young. And she loved the red man as a father, and she would not be able to handle losing her father to Cancer.  Not again.
His eyes remained closed. The man said, "Sophie, my girl. Tell me...another story." He said it in a voice so feeble it chilled the girl to the bone. The girl knew what would happen.  She prepared herself for the worst as she began another tale.
The man had once again zoned off. The young girl began to dance. She started another story. She knew the man enjoyed her tales more than anything else. Even if he was asleep, or worse, she figured, he could still enjoy them.
So she danced as she read aloud the book she held deep in her mind. 
The mans breath slowed. 
The girl continued with her play.
The mans pulse weakened. 
Tears strolled down the girls face, yet she continued with her show.
His face smiled as his breathing stopped.
The girl continued to dance.

Submitted: December 09, 2011

© Copyright 2023 Reed Smith. All rights reserved.

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Reed Smith

Well, I have a couple problems with how this story progresses. The girl consistently refers to the old man, her father, presumably, by different titles: old man, red giant, red man, etc... I originally did this because of the idea that the man was not her biological father, as stated toward the end, but rather was an adoptive daughter. It sounded like a good idea at first, but now I'm somewhat shifting on weather that was a good decision to make or not.
She, the daughter, is also referred to as, "Wiser than her years," towards the end, when it is reveled of what she knows about her father. Though, in the beginning, she seems quite immature and childish. Now, whether this is simply to let her father go about his life all calm-like, or not, I have no idea. I'm pretty sure that it's just a major mess up on my part though. Though I could be wrong. What do you think?

Fri, December 9th, 2011 10:10pm

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