Freedom 16

Jennifer smiled as Alex led her sister away. It had not been very hard to convince him to attend church with her. Jessica hadn’t seen him but he had seen her. The look on his face, the look she had so admired then. She had paused sometimes during the service and seen him giving her that look. It amused her. It relieved her. Jessica would be alright and so would he.
Jennifer took stock of her life these days. When her father had held up a bottle of Tommy Hilfiger’s Tommy Girl, she had wanted to retort that she wasn’t a child anymore. Something stopped her. The red haze cleared and she saw her father. Really saw him. His cheeks were sunken. His lips were chapped. His top button had come undone and there was a slight tremor in his hands. She wanted to take him in her arms and rock him to sleep. To hug him and shelter him from everything and everyone. Johnson had always said she was a born mother. She chose the middle ground. She took the gift from him and stared. He put his hands in his pocket, obviously unsure as to what to do with them. She hugged him. Kept hugging him until her tears started falling and he’d begun to blubber. Nothing else mattered in that moment. Her daddy was back. Sitting at the table, he maintained his best behaviour and so did Jessica. She hadn’t warmed up to him exactly but when they were clearing up, she had caught a glimpse of Jessica touching his arm. Johnson had kept the conversation going, peppering each sentence with “Remember when” anecdotes.
Jennifer took stock of her family these days. Remembering the times she had begged God, sobbing to kill her, to send Jessica back, to cause Uncle Monday to die, to cause her father to believe her, she smiled. It is always darkest before dawn. She had not believed her father and Johnson would ever see eye to eye, never believed Jessica would stand up so vociferously for her again, never believed her father would try to win her heart. She hadn’t trusted that God would make the seemingly impossible to be possible. She had made Him too small. He had surpassed her every expectation. Jennifer looked back at those days when pain had been a close companion. Her closest companion. And now?
She smiled.

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