You may remember about a month ago I posted the first part of a short story called 'The Drunken Man' - here you can check out the first part. I've been meaning to post the second and final part to the story for a while now and would love to know what you think of it as a complete and literal thing.
Bright blue eyes, deep blue like the ocean. If you look too far into them you would drown. The golden ringlets hanging down her back, against the background of flowers coating the countryside in a misshapen rainbow.
"Isabelle" was called, and the Golden Girl turned around and smiled:
"Dad" she ran up into his arms, and he swept her off her feet. "How was your day?"
"It was...the usual" he commented, his matching blue eyes shining at the sight of his daughter. The way she had grown since he had gotten back, almost into her teenage years now. Despite this, her face was still chiselled, her cheek bones prominent and she still welcomed her father home with a hug. For anyone watching it was clear this girl was his life. The oxygen in his lungs. The chorus to his song. The melody to his beat.
"I'm glad you're home" she said, picking a Daisy from the grass and handing it to him, "For you"
An adoring smile, "Thank you, I'm glad I'm home too" a sigh, "Have you seen your mum since you've gotten home?"
"She's inside, she must have seen me when I put my bag inside" The girl sighs, "She's so distant"
"I know she is Belles, but she's been through a tough time" He bent down to sit in the over-growing grass, squashing down the collect of flowers. "You've had a tough time"
"I know, but you're back now" and she takes a seat beside him, "And you're not going anywhere, right?"
A flash of pain is shown on the man's face, as if the child doesn't trust him. He promises. But, it would always haunt him that she needed to check.
"When I look in the mirror..." the girl begins, "I feel like I see an imaginary me. I see the person I want to see, the person I want to think I am. Only you see me, only mum see's me for who I really am.
The father stares at his daughter, spellbound from the words that just came out of her mouth. He tries to speak, but Belles carries on:
"That's why it's important for you to be around. I need you to notice that I'm not okay, that I need a hug. I need you to see I'm happy, and wonder why. To see how much I love you - how much you need to stay here. Don't leave me again, Dad."
The week went by like a breeze had blown it from my grasp and the next thing I know, I'm walking down to the Community Centre for another session with Tim. I was unsure about coming along, the bruises finally healing up across my arms although a few nail marks remain. I've been covering them with an assortment of accessories all week, luckily my mum hadn't notice. As I'm clambering the steps, my Leader, Rachel catches up with me.
"I saw what happened with Tim last week" She comments, "How he grabbed your wrist and the gentleman trying to help you"
"Honestly, Tim seemed to have his reasons" I sigh when I see her worried gaze, "He didn't hurt me"
"Are you sure?" she says, "You do look on edge"
"I'm not looking forward to being locked away inside for an hour. The smell of alcohol only multiples in there"
"How about, you and Tim, along with some others head out to the park. You've been trained, you know what you're doing. He can tell his story there"
"His story?" I wonder aloud.
"Everyone has a story, Gen, it's just up to them on whether or not they tell the tale"
So, twenty minutes later I'm walking beside Tim and a few of the other Teenage Volunteers and their partners to the park. It's a beautiful place, the evening sun lighting illuminating the veranda where you can find children signing in choir groups on the weekend. I lead Tim over to a bench beside the pond and for a few minutes we just sit in silence watching the ducks swim around on the water. I decide, after a week of thinking about what he had meant, to speak up first:
"You said your daughter was beautiful" He looks up, pain in his eyes. I can tell he's been drinking, but it's not as strong as it was the previous week and his shirt has a severe lack of holes. "Was?"
"She was killed" I stare, startled at what just came out of his mouth. "Car accident"
I don't know what to say to this. Right now, I know I'm so sorry won't do it justice. Nor will the usual, She's in a better place or I can't imagine how you feel. Because I don't. And never want to. Instead, I do the only thing I can and wait for him to speak next. When he doesn't, I venture out with,
"Is this what lead to you abusing alcohol?" I say, remembering back to the training I had to get here and how to phrase questions.
"What lead to me abusing alcohol was the fact she died because of me!"He cries, "I should have been there, not inside arguing and allowing her to runaway"
"Tim, please calm down!" I can't help feeling a little out of my depth and know people are starting to stare at us across the park. "Whatever you did, or didn't do, you can't live like this!"
There are tears pouring down my face now and I don't know why. I feel all emotions, raging like a fire at how this man should be living for his daughter and numb as if I'm a block of ice at the thought of the guilt he has been living with.
"I basically killed her myself - why wasn't I there?" He calls out, looking away to a far off point in the distance, "Why wasn't I there!"
He doesn't ask it the second time around, instead he demands to know. I spend the rest of the evening discussing his daughter, Isabelle and slowly paint a picture of her in my mind. From his descriptions, she truly was beautiful but not just in the way I thought. Intelligent, kind-hearted and generous - all things I fail to be constantly.
Epilogue: Five Years On, Still Going Strong
I finish recounting Tim's tale, our tale and the audience erupts. Finally, I can breathe again. Energy curses through my veins right through to my sweaty-palms. My limbs are numb, just from being up on this stage: looking out across the audience set in darkness - the only light coming from the slideshow that is going on behind me. "Thank you" I say, breathless, and in my hurry to finally get off the stage knowing my cheeks are burning-red, "I'd like to call Tim to the stage"
As I scramble down the steps, almost missing my footing but being steadied by Tim's wife, Lily, who waits for me. "That was brilliant" in tearful sobs she tells me, the speech I gave tonight promised to bring back memories for her. She lost her Daughter, and sometimes I feel she may have got a part of her back through me. Although, I'll never replace her. "Five years on, you're still going" She looks at me, "I'm surprised you've been able to work with him: He's a stubborn man"
"I've realised" I laugh, watching as Tim takes the stage in a smart-suit and tie, with fitted-trousers and polished shoes. He is clean-shaven, with no more yellow ingrained in his finger-nails. He's given up everything - and you can see it. I've never seen him put so much effort in, although a charity launch is the perfect occasion.
"As Charlie just told you all - I was once a drunken man - a disgusting man, although she would never put it quite in those worlds" He pauses to wink at me, "I'm stronger than I was before, living for today and never tomorrow: Living for the daughter that didn't get this far. But, more than that, I see the passion in Charlie's eyes to support more people like me. As without that girl down there, who I'd like to mention almost fell flat-on-her-face as she left the stage, I can't even comprehend what type of future I would've had"
For once, I start to forgive my Dad for telling me that Volunteer Work would look good on a CV.
I hope you all enjoyed it! Tell me what you thought of the ending below. Also, a huge THANK YOU for helping me reach 30,000 pageviews! This is such an overwhelming amount of people to have read my webpage and I'm so excited to reach it! I'm going to be away at Bath Children's Literature and Cheltenham Literacy Festivals this weekend vlogging and will be doing a more in-depth thanks in that(During the car-journey)
All content here belongs to Sophie Louise.