She giggled as her father repeated the tickling on her stomach. Baby blue eyes, a shock of curly wiggly hair and a smile which melted most. Her father picked her up and together they started playing another game. She was, two years old.

She smiled back at her father as she took those first steps to her new school. An unknown dread washed over her heart as she realized she would be away from her soul, her father. Walking through those doors opened a new world. She was, six years old.

She grimaced as she held up her elbow, blood trickling from her wound. Letting out a soundless cry, she rushed into the house, and into her father’s arms. He petted her and cleaned up the wound and took her in his arms again. She was, nine years old.

She blushed as she stood in front of the class, smiling to her applauding classmates. Holding the trophy in her right hand, she couldn’t wait to get back to her father and show him that her efforts had paid. Father gave his daughter a new brooch that day and his love and pride knew no bounds. She was, twelve years old.

She wished for a miracle to happen, as she bent down and blew all the candles. While cutting her cake, she could see him staring at her, and knew that her wish would come true. Later that night, they walked hand in hand, the new guy at school and the birthday girl. She was, sixteen years old.

She sighed in relief as she read the letter. She had finally got her first job. Surprisingly, the first man who came to her mind was her father. Yet, she went out with her guy that night, not realizing that her father would be home, eagerly waiting to celebrate her joy. She was, twenty two years old.

She spill a few tears as she saw him bending on his knees in front of her, ready with a ring in his hand.  The same guy at her sixteenth birthday, asking her to marry him. The word ‘yes’ sounded strange on her own lips, and giddy with delight, she rushed into his arms. She was, twenty five years old.

She let out a wail and looked down at her bruised self. Tears sprang out as her mind drifted back to the latest beating. Her husband, had turned out to be a wife-beater. Out of nowhere, her father arrived and without a word, took her in his arms, hushing all her pain and wiping away all her tears. She was, thirty years old.

She clutched the hand again and opened her eyes, her father on the bed, barely conscious, with hardly an hour to go. He had fought bravely, the doctors had told her. And just when she thought that she would never hear his voice again, her father opened his eyes and cupping her face in his hands, said, “I’ll be with you always”. She was, thirty five years old.


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