A FATHER

Abigail Ormond, 23-years-old, threw a rose on her father's tombstone. Stephen Wesinstud's grave lied under an oak tree on top of a small hill. Jon and Heather stood far behind Abigail, giving her the privacy she needed with her father. Jon Wesinstud was now 27 and Heather O'Rourke was now 18. Heather graduated from high school last year and now studied philosophy at Melbourne University. Her disability destroyed any dreams she had of playing football professionally, but that didn't bother Heather. The little girl seemed more inclined to a life of silent contemplation.

The sun shined strongly from above. The oak tree swayed gently with the wind. Abigail breathed deeply and relaxed. Leaves rustled above her. She closed her eyes and saw, through her mind's eye, the small room she slept in when she was an orphan. The sweet scent of children surrounded her. She heard laughter outside as they played. She sat alone in her room, staring at the white wall.

During dinner in the cafeteria, she sat among many children. Even though she spoke and sometimes laughed with other children on her table, she still felt alone. She felt alone because no one understood how she felt inside.

One day, as seven-year-old Abigail walked to the toilets, she thought about her inner feeling. She knew she was hiding herself from the world. No one would ever know or understand her inner feelings either because she was afraid to express them or because nobody cared—or both. This alienation of her true self with the rest of the world was what made her feel lonely. This feeling that she was just another actor playing her part in a giant movie was what made her feel so useless and insignificant.

Then, in the middle of an empty corridor, as she walked to the toilets, she could no longer hold in her pain. Negative feelings spilled out from inside her body. This extreme pain came out as tears from her eyes, cries from her mouth, violent movement from her limbs, and heat from the surface of her skin. She crawled up in the corner and cried, cried till her nose was blocked, cried till she could no longer force another drop of liquid from her eyes.

From a corner, a tall man in a business suit appeared. He saw Abigail alone in the corridor. The little girl stood up. The businessman saw her ripped clothes, her messy hair, her red skin, and her moist eyes. He walked up to her, lifted her up, and held her in his arms for the rest of the day. Abigail remembered what it felt like. When Stephen picked her up, she remembered the strange feeling of not having solid ground underneath her feet. In the CEO's arms she remembered how secure, comfortable, and warm she felt.

For years Abigail had tried to express her emotions in a blue notebook, but language often has a way of simplifying the complexity of human emotion.

When Abigail was in her father's hands, when she was close to his heart, she could communicate her emotions to him. They didn't communicate with words but with some invisible force that flowed between the two as they touched. She had pain to express, and Stephen was the only man who seemed to understand her pain.

And now that Stephen was gone she had nobody to express her emotions to. They were trapped within her like complex ideas trying to escape from an illiterate. She closed her eyes and saw, in her mind, a bullet flying into her father's chest. She remembered the loud noise. She remembered the smell of gunpowder. She remembered how sticky and warm the blood was. She didn't mean to kill him, and if he were alive today, she was all too willing to forgive him.

Abigail took a step closer to her father's grave. She kneeled down and placed on the tombstone her blue notebook. Maybe in death her father could read her emotions.

THE