"Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family. - Anthony Brandt"

Five Years

"Really Momma," Lucy said, "The baby's fine. I swear. I've been eating properly, and letting Dessie do all the harder work. I went to the doctor just yesterday. Do you want to know if it's a boy or a girl?"

Lucy paced the kitchen wearily as she rubbed her hand soothingly over her stomach. The tiny baby inside was kicking like crazy. Lucy held no doubt in her mind that the doctor was right when he'd proclaimed the fetus a boy.

"No!" Her mother cried over the phone, miles away, "Don't you dare tell me! I want it to be a surprise!"

"Okay, okay, okay, fine. It shall remain a surprise. How's Dad?"

"Lucy."

"Mom, please? Just tell me okay?"

"He's fine, Sweety. He goes in for more tests tomorrow. We're going to find out what's wrong with him this time."

"Does he talk about me yet?"

"No, Honey, and I really don't think he's going to. He's refused to even admit he has a second daughter. It's been five years, it's time you let this bird fly."

"Well, everything else is going so well, a girl has to have hope."

"Sweety, I have to go. Your father's home right now."

"Okay, Momma. I love you."

"He goes bowling at six o'clock on Saturday. Call me then. I love you."

The dial tone sounded as Mrs. O'Neil hurriedly hung up the phone.

Lucy disconnected as well, and let the phone drop to the table. The one tunnel in her sunshine-filled world: her father. If only...

But Lucy couldn't rest her mind on 'if onlies.' She had to finish dinner before Destry got home from work.

Nadia lay sprawled on the floor, colouring a picture of Spongebob and humming to her worn old bear. In the five years since Destry had given her the bear, it had lost both its eyes and the stitching of its mouth. The fur was worn and stained, and the nose was about to pop off any second. But Nadia and 'Mr. Biggles' were inseperable.

Lucy stepped around her daughter with a handfull of long spaghetti noodles and tossed them into the large pot bubbling away on the stove.

"So, what did you learn in school today?" She asked her daughter.

"We played!" Nadia announced happily.

"What did you play?" Lucy chuckled softly. If she didn't know any better, she'd think she sent her daughter to school just to do everything she already did at home: make messes and play.

"Umm..."

"Don't start sentences with 'um,' Sweety."

"Uh...I played fire truck with Jamse today, and then guess what Mommy?"

"What?"

"I skinned my knee! At recess!" Nadia stood up and began to pull her pant leg so she could show her mother when she stopped suddenly.

An engine stopped and was shortly followed by the sound of a car door shutting.

"Daddy's home!" Nadia shreiked as she quickly jumped up and ran for the door.