Daddy's Last Visit

Thomas McHugh

Thomas McHugh

She pushed her half-asleep hand from under the warm blanket and

grabbed her ringing phone from the nightstand.

“You’re two hours early,” she mumbled.

“Good morning to you, too” her dad said with a syrupy lilt in his voice.

“Fine. I am coming. Be at the curb at arrivals.”

She was looking forward to her frequent-flier-time with Dad.

She lived an hour from the airport, but at five in the morning she knew traffic would be smooth.

As she drove toward the arrival’s terminal, she could see him standing outside without any bags.

She groaned, “Are you kidding me? He forgot his bag?”

She lowered the passenger-side window as she rolled towards him.

“Hi, Dad. Where is your bag?”

“Lost. They will get it to me.”

He settled into the front seat and said,

“You may have to bring me emergency shopping after breakfast.”

Before she started driving again, she had to settle this.

“You...you checked your carry-on?”

“I had to check it at the gate. I am surprised. I usually get through.”

She looked at the dashboard;

“Oh no, I have to get gas before heading out, at least I didn’t run out on the way here.”

Her dad beamed, “I am proud of you. A good attitude yields good results.”

“I’ll pay if you pump,” he added with a giggle.

She pulled into the gas station just outside the airport.

After paying at the pump, her dad said,

“Please excuse me. I am going to run inside. I love you.”

She smiled back and started filling her tank.

The guy pumping gas on the other side

of her gas pump looked across to her with a look of terror and

said, “Have you heard about the plane crash? Two or three hours ago. No survivors.”

She shot back; “What flight? Where?”

“That’s all I know. I just caught that bit on the radio.”

She pushed her half-asleep hand from under the warm blanket and

grabbed her ringing phone from the nightstand.

Through tears her mother said; “Baby, the plane crashed. There were no survivors.

Your Daddy won’t be there.”

She got out of bed, and her phone and her mother’s voice faded into the sheets.

In shock, she walked out to her car and got in.

She turned the key just enough to see that her gas tank was full.

She burst into tears and said, “Thank you, Daddy. I love you.”

 

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This Short Édition piece was submitted to Richland Library's collection by the writer.

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