Monday, January 19, 2009
There was a young man -- a doctor -- who was sent off to war, and he left behind a young wife and a 7-month-old baby girl. He was away at the war for two years, and was faithful to his wife. In writing to her frequently, he sent back a portrait of himself to her and the baby as a promise that he would return home soon.
He returned two years later, and the baby was now a toddler who didn't know him. In fact, in some ways she didn't want him in their house. He was a stranger, and he didn't belong. She only knew the portrait.
One Saturday the young doctor was sitting on the couch reading the paper when the toddler got up from her bed and slowly came down the stairs. He didn't want to antagonize her, so he just sat and read, watching her out of the corner of his eye.
She started in the kitchen, then the dining room, then came into the living room sort of watching him, sizing him up. She came to the other end of the sofa, and then pointed at the portrait.
"That's my daddy. Some day he's coming home," she said, looking at the portrait.
He lowered the paper, and looked at her -- both bursting with pride at her confidence and aching on the inside from her ignorance.
She looked at him again, and pointed at the portrait. "That's my daddy," she said certainly, and looked straight at the young doctor.
Then there was a curious silence as her face changed.
"You're my daddy," she said breathlessly.