Louie picked up the picture laying on his desk. His heart skipped one beat, thenanother. He blinked twice. If he inhaled too deep, his chest ached. How had she found him?
He laid the picture back down. Picking up the envelope he’d recently opened,he glanced toward the office door. Good,it was shut. No one would dare botherhim for another thirty minutes. Being theboss had its moments, like taking lunches behind closed doors that nonequestioned. Well except Bettina, and shedidn’t follow protocol unless she made the declaration. Sometimes her queenly ass could be a royalpain. Their nightly strolls down to MissElly’s dinner for Red Blood Sundaes had folks talking. Miss Elly’s homemade ice cream topped withher secret chocolate sauce and dark Bing cherries cured many a shifter’s sweettooth. Bettina’s cravings had clearedout Louie’s baked goods as fast he could make them until he introduce Bettinato Miss Elly. Now sanity reigned most ofthe time.
Louie turned the envelope over, examining front andback. No return address. A smeared postmark revealed little of thecity of origin. The date showed1974. Thirty years plus. Where had the time gone? His little---no his grown daughter might be aparent herself. Maybe even agrandmother. Easing the card out of theyellowed envelope, Louie stared at the simple lettering stating Happy Father’sDay. His hand shook as he opened thecard.
The usual generic verse about Dads and their importancedecorated one side of the inside two pages. A handwritten note on the opposite page caught his attention. Louie swallowed hard. He knuckled a tear off his cheek as he read.
Bythe time you receive this, Arisa and I will be gone. There was a time when love would have kept me by your side and ourdaughter not asking where Daddy is as I tuck her into bed each night. Your choices proved too costly and dangerousfor our safety to stay.
Nomatter how good the money and prestige, working for the mob, especially thesupernatural mob, is not worth putting your wife and child at risk. Maybesomeday, I’ll tell Arisa the truth about her father. Until then you are as dead as your name. Thank the Gods I never took your name. Nor do you know my real name. There was a time I would have trusted you withthat. Not now, probably never will youknow who I am.
Why am I even sending this picture to you? Maybe I want you to hurt as much as you’vehurt me. You’ll never know your daughter’slove or see her grow up. I will andevery day I’ll be the center of her world, not you.
Maybe someday you’ll findpeace. I doubt shape shifters know themeaning of the word.
Your soon to be ex wife
Louie carefully laid the carddown. He pushed away from his desk. He moved toward the window closest tohim. Closing the blind, he inhaled. No one would see the tears he needed toshed. He turned and made his way acrossthe office.
Life on the streets in NewJersey taught him many lessons, hard ones and ones that remained with him tothis day. Trust never came easily. It was earned and could be taken away just aseasily. Lord, how he had that oneknocked into his head many life times over. He’d taken risks along the way. Learned that life was given for a reason. He didn’t regret many of the last few choiceshe’d made. The one big one he did wasnot finding his daughter before now.
Louie lay down on the couch he keptin the office for late nights and naps. He needed one. Once he woke up,Mooney, Nick, and Penelope’s Aussie Penguin were getting a visit. Somewhere out there a daughter waited for herfather to find her. This Father’s Daysignified a new beginning.
Happy Weekend Gang! Happy Father's Day to all our male readers! I'm glad the warm weather is here without the abundance of a heatwave. What a week! Two nights of power outages. One last Sunday authorities say a raccoon juiced himself on. Last night another two! The joke around the spice homestead is a squirrel or two decided to try jury rigging their power supply. Watch out Gill!
I'm off to enjoy a good book or two with my spice and loves!
Have a great weekend!