My sister Eliza and I used to sit at the bottom of the staircase every other weekend, waiting. We had our bags at our sides stuffed with clothes for the weekend. Eliza was always excited to go to our dad’s house for the weekend and I was usually crying because I didn’t want to leave my mom. If the phone rang we knew right away it was time to go back upstairs and unpack because that meant dad wasn’t coming. We were lucky if the phone rang at all. Usually he never showed up to get us without a word. My three year old heart didn’t feel the pain as well as Eliza’s six year old heart did. Fourteen years later I believe in fate.
The weekends my dad did show up to get us were unforgettable. He lived ina small town Oregon. He lived on about five acres of land and the whole yard was filled with trees as tall as buildings. Every day felt like an adventure in the forest. An old dusty, red barn stood towards the back of the yard that we liked to play inside. On the other side of the barn was an old school bus. It looked like it had been crashed into a tree and just abandoned. Branches were coming through some of the windows and many of the windows were broken or cracked. This was our favorite place to play. We loved to pretend it was a real school bus and my sister was always the bus driver because she was the oldest. We always had fun when we went to his house; I wished it happened more often.
I was eight and Eliza was eleven when we moved to Idaho. I don’t think either of us knew what the new schedule would be for visiting our dad now that we lived nine hours away and I don’t think he did either. We went from visiting our dad every other weekend; sometimes, to once or twice a year. Eliza and I were very bitter about the move but we both ended up fitting in better here. Fate brought us here to Idaho because here is where we could succeed better and have more opportunities.
About a year after the move Eliza made a decision to not visit or talk to our dad anymore. The pain in her heart grew too big. He forgot to come get us time after time when we were young, he rarely called, he never offered to pay for a plane ticket for us to visit and Elizabeth remembered all of that. Everything finally all became too much and she just gave up on him. I was too young to understand. I continued to stay in touch with him and I accepted that I would only see him a few times a year. My dad still sent Eliza cards on holidays and birthdays and always asked me how she was doing. My mom brought us to Oregon every year for Christmas to visit our grandma. We celebrated Christmas Eve at her house with my mom and then I went to my dad’s house for Christmas. Eliza never came with me. The silence continued for eight years.
One year I asked Eliza if she wanted to come with to visit our dad. I figured she would say no but it would be worth a shot. To my surprise she agreed. We drove to his house and she kept telling me that she was doing it for me. When we went inside it was really awkward. I gave him a hug then watched him and Eliza hug like strangers. Usually my dad asks me a lot of questions about Eliza, but this time he could ask her. I enjoyed seeing them together again. Later that evening my dad sent me a text that said “I love you both. That was the best Christmas present ever.”
I watched my sister hurt for a long time because of our dad, and I always saw the hurt in his eyes when she was brought up in conversation. All I ever wanted to do was bring them back together because I have always believed that life is too short to hold grudges. I believe everyone deserves a second chance because no one gets life right the first time, and you have to make mistakes to learn from them. Two hearts were healed in one night and I can only hope that someone, somewhere else out there is giving or being given a second chance. Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe in fate.
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