“Daddy? Where are you going?”
You watched as your father walked to the front door. His hand was just touching the knob. Surprised, he turns to you. You were in a white nightgown, your thin stilt-like legs holding you up. You were clutching your favorite stuffed bear, and your (color) hair was a mess.
“_________?” he says, his eyes focusing on you, “What are you doing here? It’s past your bedtime!”
“What are YOU doing here?” you ask, “It’s past YOUR bedtime, too!”
You examine his dress. He was in some nice clothes, but he had two large suitcases with him.
“_________, sweetie…” your father kneels down to you, “Your daddy needs to head out. Just go back to bed, okay?”
“Where are you going?” your head tilts to the side, “Can I come, too?”
“NO!” your father yells, making you step back a bit. Noticing your frightened expression, he softens, “I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to yell… it’s just… daddy has to go far away for a while.”
“What do you mean?”
“I… do you remember the phone call we got earlier?”
You recall someone calling you daddy earlier that day.
“I was called to do something very important. I’ll be going somewhere far away and… I’m not sure when I’ll be back…”
“Well…” Your father tried his best to find the right way to tell you.
“_________... where I’m going, there’s never a guarantee of coming back… you’re going to have to be strong. Not just for yourself, but for your mother, too…”
“but… you ARE coming back, aren’t you?” you felt tears filling your (color) eyes.
“I can’t really say for sure… I have to go now…”
You dashed madly for the door, blocking your father’s way.
“NO!” you yell, “You can’t leave!”
“_________! Don’t block me!”
“No! Not until you promise you’ll come back!”
“Please! I…” You were on the verge of crying. Your father knelt down and gave you a hug.
“Alright… I promise I’ll try to come back. Okay?”
“O… Okay…” you hug your father back.
“Just promise me you’ll be brave… your mother needs you now more than ever.”
“I promise, daddy…”
The hug lasted several moments before you daddy let you go.
“I have to go now,” You watch him head to the door, his hand turning the knob. Before he opened it, he turned back to you. “I love you, _________... and I always will.”
“I love you too, daddy…”
With that, you watched as your father opened the door, stepped out into the rain… and closed it behind him.
And he was gone.
It’s been several years since that day. You were only 8 at the time. You could hardly remember what your father even looked like. You were now 16 years of age and in high school. Currently, you’re in your World History class, trying to focus on the lesson at hand. Sadly, the heat of the day had other plans. You were hardly able to stay awake, partly due to the heat, partly due to your teacher’s droning voice, and partly due to the fact you hadn’t slept much lately. Your eyelids start to droop as you stare up at the clock. It was still only 2:00! The day wouldn’t end for another 40 minutes! Why wouldn’t time go faster?
“And now, class,” your teacher says, “I’d like to introduce to you a special guest.”
A guest? It was probably someone from the school board. You take your head off your hand and sit up straight. No matter who it was, you didn’t want to appear tired in front of a guest.
“But first…” your teacher turns to you, “_________, would you please come to the front of the class?”
“W… Why?” you ask nervously, “Am I in trouble?”
Your teacher lets out a small chuckle, “No, you’re not in trouble! Just come to the front of the class!”
“O… kay?” you reluctantly get up from your seat and walk down the row of desks to the head of the room. You felt your classmates’ curious gazes on you as you stood in the front.
“Alright. I’ll go get our guest, now!” The teacher heads to the door, opens it, and sticks his head out. “Come in, sir.” You wait with bated breath as your teacher started to lead the guest inside.
“Everyone, I’d like you to meet General Ludwig Beilschmidt!”
The name shocked you. That name was… you watched the guest walk into the room. He was tall, wearing an army uniform and helmet. He removed the helmet to reveal that he had blonde hair that was slicked back, and bright sky-blue eyes. His face, his stature… your eyes start to fill up with tears.
“D… d… Dad?”
“Hello, _________,” your father said, “I’m sorry I took so long.”
In a swift second, you found yourself running up to your general of a father, wrapping your arms around him, crying tears of joy. “DADDY!” You felt him hug you back lovingly. “I missed you so much!”
“I missed you too…”