The next morning, Deborah was woken from a deep sleep by her phone ringing loudly.
“Oh, blast,” she groaned drowsily while trying to grab it. She missed, sweeping it off the bedside cabinet and on to the floor. Reluctantly, she got out of bed, but it was too late. The moment she got hold of the phone to answer the call, it stopped ringing. As she rubbed the sleep from her eyes with one hand, she swiped the screen with her thumb to see who had tried to contact her.
She gasped in surprise to see ‘Dad’ appear on the screen. As her heart started beating faster, she recalled her father’s unexpected visit to her house last week. Before this visit she had not seen her father in years. Not that she did not want to see him before then, but there were some things between them that, even now, caused her a great deal of pain. She had, however, been very glad to see him, elated even, and felt relieved to hear him express his remorse for his and her mother’s behaviour towards her boyfriend Gio all those years ago.
Relief is what she felt now as well, as up until now, she had been under the impression that her father intended to end his life.
“Oh, Dad,” she whispered, “I’m so happy you’re still alive.”
She began sniffing and the odd tear rolled down her cheek and into the corner of her mouth. Her mother, she sadly realized, had died without making peace with her and had taken a deep feeling of guilt to her grave. Without giving it another thought, Deborah blew her nose in a tissue and then phoned her father.
Ironbark’s heart started pounding when he heard his phone ring. He took the phone from his pocket and took the call.
“Debbie, is that you?” he asked nervously.
“Dad,” Deborah answered, “I’m so glad to hear your voice.”
“The same goes for me, sweetheart,” Ironbark spoke as he swallowed a lump in his throat.
“I miss you, Dad,” Deborah sniffed and more tears followed. “So much has happened since we last spoke.”
Ironbark listened while tears welled up in his eyes.
“And I miss Mum too.”
“I know, Debbie. So do I. Oh, how I miss your mum.”
Meanwhile, Jenny trudged sleepily into the room.
“What’s going on, Debs,” she yawned and sat down beside Deborah on the bed..
“It’s Dad, Jen.”
On hearing the word ‘Dad’, Jenny was wide awake.
“Is Jenny there with you?” Ironbark asked, surprised to learn that his daughters were together.
“Yeah, I’m here!” Jenny cried.
“The morning after your visit, I went to the beach house,” Deborah explained. “And since yesterday Jen’s here too.”
Ironbark took his time processing the information and the feelings that went with it.
“Dad, are you there?” Deborah asked.
“Yes, I’m still here. It’s just that I feel so emotional.”
“I know, Dad. I know,” Deborah said soothingly.
“It’s okay for you to cry, Dad,” Jenny added and started sniffing.
Ironbark regained his composure.
“How about if I come down and see you girls?”
“A reunion! Yeah, that ‘d be great, Dad,” Jenny replied excitedly.
“I’d like that very much,” Deborah added, smiling through her tears.
“Okay, I’ll just pack some things and be on the road in no time.”
“No need to rush, Dad,” Deborah said, “I can wait a little longer.”
“I know, but there’s something really important I want to tell youse.”
Both Deborah’s and Jenny’s eyebrows arched in surprise.
“It’s about your mum.”
“Our mum?” Deborah asked.
“No, your mum, Debbie. She’s not who you think she is.”
TO BE CONTINUED...
‘Bottlebrush’ on Pixabay.com
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