A few weeks ago I was digging through my old shoebox full of newspaper clippings that I kept from the earlier years of life. In it, I found an article that stirred up old memories. I've been debating telling the story or not, but I'm going to keep names and dates out. In a way, it's kind of a two for one story, but terribly sad. First, I have to give some background before diving in.
Years and years ago, back before I even knew how to drive and still spoke to my dad, his best friend sort of became a second father to me. Daddy #2 had a daughter roughly the same age as me, perhaps a year younger. (If I recall she was a grade behind me.) I'm just going to call her Sunshine for this story because her personality was just that - full of sunshine and daisies. Sunshine was popular and well liked by many, on her way to an Ivy league school, and was probably the sweetest and nicest girl I have ever known.
One day, Sunshine was home alone (we were teens) when someone entered her house. It was her neighbor and apparently he was there to steal something to pawn off to fuel his drug addiction.
In short, Sunshine was killed. All over an item that probably would have only netted him $10-$20 at the pawn shop.
Obviously, Daddy #2 was distraught. He wouldn't talk to anyone, not his ex-wife, current wife, other family members, or my father. The day of the funeral, he looked like a complete mess, not that I could blame him. Everyone in the church was crying, including the priest and my father - a man of no emotion.
However, Daddy #2 seemed to open up somewhat to me. I'm not sure why. I was a teenager. My dad thought it was because I reminded him of his lost daughter. We were the same height, same hair color, close to the same build. We had been confused as sisters before. I hugged Daddy #2 at the reception, and he wouldn't let go for a solid fifteen minutes. Just cried on my shoulder.
Fast forward several months. Daddy #2 is finally ready to face the world... somewhat. My dad invited him to go out to eat, and I tagged along. Things were going pretty well, we were all laughing and joking around. It wasn't until after we got up to go pay, that he heard someone call out his daughter's name.
He broke down again and ended up crying on my shoulder, right in the lobby of the restaurant. It wasn't busy, but it also wasn't empty. I had just turned 18 a few weeks before, however, I still looked young. I got confused as a 15 year old a lot. Also, there's no mistaking my father is my father because I'm his mini me in female form.
Apparently to one other customer, this was too much for her. She made a snide remark to my father saying, "How can you just let that man molest your daughter like that in front of you?" Now, for the record, he wasn't rubbing all over me, his hands were wrapped around me in a normal hug, but his face was buried into my shoulder. I suppose she could have thought we were necking or something, if it weren't for the gentle sobs coming from him.
Daddy #2 heard her and pulled away quickly (it had been a whole minute worth of hugs and sobs), clearly even more upset.
My dad rounded on the customer and said, "Maybe if you knew the story you wouldn't be too quick to judge. Firstly, my daughter is of legal age, so even if they were doing something that your fucked up brain thought of, there's nothing you or I could do. However, if you would pay attention, you'll see she is COMFORTING him because he is mourning. So fuck off, bitch. My daughter is doing an awesome thing for a man she cares about." And with that, my dad pushed us out the door and into the car, where we went home and Daddy #2 and I watched stupid movies all night long while eating popcorn and ice cream.
I'm sorry it's long. I tried to keep out as many details that might ID the family as possible. Even though I don't speak to my own father these days, I still see Daddy #2 from time to time. He's in a much better place now, but still does miss Sunshine terribly.