“Dad”. A son’s first hero and a daughter’s first love.

Tears were spilling out of her eyes as she watched her dad’s coffin being lowered. It had been a long 5-year fight between her and the cancer. In the end, she reached the stage where only a new heart could save her. Why? Why did it have to be her dad?

The day finally ended, and she and her mom retreated to the bedroom. They were like ghosts, moving around, doing what they can do, without really thinking about it. Minutes, hours had passed but she still can’t sleep. And with no explanations, she started to travel back in time.

It was all blurry, but she could picture out her mom, holding her bundle of joy across her breast, and her dad, looking at her with such proud eyes and gentle smile. They were deciding about her name. Hmm, what were they thinking of calling me…? She was never given a chance to finish that thought. The scenes started to change, and there she was on their first house.

“Dada, Momma, I walk, I walk!” her toddler self called out. With the camera ready for a video, her dad started to watch her through the lens, just before she took a step and landed with her face on the floor. She giggled while her past self cried so hard and continuously punched her dad’s shoulder. She was just about to explore, when the surroundings change.

She hid behind a tree, watching from afar yet hearing all what happened on her very first day of school. Wearing the day care uniform, her younger self mixed with the crowd, just before giving her dad some butterfly kisses. It started to change again.

The place she now standing was so familiar. Oh, of course, this was my elementary school. Hiding behind one of the pillars, she saw the student version of herself, being bullied by a gang of big boys. And who would come but the king in shining armor. Her dad carried her and scolded the boys, leaving them scampering and running for their lives. Tears threatened to form, just before everything went black.

She hid behind the hospital curtains, watching herself so pale and sickly. Her past self looked so peaceful while sleeping. There beside the bed was her dad, holding her hand, telling her to be strong, that they were right there, that they needed her, that they loved her. A doctor whispered to his ear, “Sir, the procedure will be done.”

And then, she was back in the present time, in her bed, her pillow wet in tears. She had never, ever thought how hard it would be if she lost her father. How hard it would be when she lost her first love. She had never even guessed in a million years that they would travel that far just to save her. Reaching out to the small note in her diary, she read it again for the thousandth time.

My dearest daughter,

If you have read this, it will mean that you have woken up and know what I did. You must hate me by now for leaving you and your mom like this. I can’t talk to you like I used to, but remember that I’ll be there when you need me. Don’t cry now, be strong, if not for your sake, then for your mom’s and mine. I have loved you for 18 years now, and I will still love you forever. Things won’t be the same, but I believe that you’ll survive all the challenges. I love you baby girl, I always will do.

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