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Letting go, her wedding
She watched her feet as she walked. The white cloth fell back, showing her foot for just an instant, before concealing it once more. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. How many times had she taken this walk as a child? How many times had she counted the number of steps? But today was different. Opening her eyes she looked at the man walking beside her. Salt and peppered hair, age lines around his eyes. Memories flooded the both of them as their eyes met. Each time her foot hit the ground, each step they took up the aisle, another memory flashed.
She wrapped her hand around his finger, walking beside him in the kitchen.
He picked her up when she fell off the swing.
She was sent to her room for not doing her chores.
He watched, from the passenger seat, as she put the car in drive.
Her phone was taken when she came home late.
He stood proudly as she received her diploma and again four years later as she received another.
Each breath she took she grew more anxious about the walk she was taking. She thanked her stars that the man beside her was steady and strong, as he’d always been. They were nearing the end of their walk, and the rest was on her.
She looked at him one last time. Her loving patriarch kissed her cheek as he had every night when she was young. Today was different.
She’d never seen him cry before, but today was different. She watched as one tear, quickly followed by another, flowed down her father’s face. She smiled at her life-long hero, gaining composure from his hand on hers. He was the best man she’d ever known.
He blinked away a tear. He’d never wanted this day to come. He wanted her to be his little girl forever. The bravest thing he’d ever done was get up this morning and go to the ceremony. He squeezed her hand before sliding it out of his. His little one, that’s what he used to call her. Sometime during the night his little one had blossomed into a beautiful woman and found a suitable provider and defender. Him stepping back, as all fathers must one day do, was the hardest thing he would ever do. He smiled to the person standing behind her.
As the last contact ended, as their fingertips parted and he let her go, she was free. She was able to do what she wanted. Not one permanent tie to keep her in one spot, but as fast as her freedom was given to her, she was giving it away. A smile lit her face as she took another deep breath. Holding her father’s gaze she turned her lower half and willingly placed her hand in the one waiting. The one just out of eyesight, but which she knew with all her heart was patiently waiting (as only a lover can) for her to let go of her first hero. A tear gleamed in her eye as her father nodded, first to her lover, then to her.
“It’s time, my beautiful girl.”
She blinked back a tear, nodded, turned, and looked into the eyes of her waiting lover.
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