“Congrats!” I heard a voice say behind me.
I turned around in my graduation dress and saw him smiling at me.
My eyes widened with wonder and surprise.
“Oh my gosh! Did you come up just for me?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he said and opened his arms.
With the certificate in my hand, I walked towards him slowly, shaking my head with joy, thinking this wasn’t real. But as soon as I cuddled into him, I knew this was happening. He kissed me on my cheek. I felt that warmth feeling I always get when I hugged him.
“You bothered to come after the fight we had on the phone last night?” I asked.
“Anything for you, sweetheart.”
“Thank you so much.”
“So, how about a drive, Jasmine?” he asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Sure,” I said, “But before that I’ve a couple of things to complete.”
“Sure honey, I’ll wait.”
And those couple of things were to meet my professors, thank them, pose for photos with my friends and bid them all a goodbye.
“I’m all done. So, shall we?” I asked him.
“Hop in sweetheart.”
I got into the co-driver seat and he brought the engine to life.
“So, where are we heading to?”
“Where the road ends,” he replied, placing an assuring hand on mine.
He knew I always loved long drives in the car. We had just crossed a few streets, when the thunder clapped and rain poured down on us.
“Perfect,” I whispered. I always loved the rain during car drives.
“Awesome, isn’t it? Just the thing you need for a drive, right?” he said, working on the wipers.
“Oh! Stop grumbling! This is just PERFECT! You know pretty well I love the rain,” I said getting closer to him and leaning on his shoulders, “Besides I feel warm here.”
After about twenty minutes I announced, “Alright, I’m damn hungry and am gonna close my eyes.When I say ‘Stop’ you’re gonna stop the car and the first shop I’m gonna see upon opening my eyes, we feast there. Got it?”
“Deal,” he said giggling, “You aren’t tired of that game still, are you?”
“Not when I’m with you.”
“Alright, close your eyes,” he sang.
After a few turns, I cried, “Stop!”
He brought the car to a sudden halt and I gradually opened my eyes.
“Well?” he asked me in an innocent note.
I punched him on his arms and he began laughing loudly.
“Which house should we stalk now?” he asked.
I sulked in my seat. He had brought me to a residential area, where not a single restaurant was to be found.
“OK, OK, I’m sorry, I’ll drive through somewhere else,” he said between his giggles.
I had my arms folded, posing a gruff figure.
“Let it out, li’l girl.” He called like my Dad really used to, about three years ago.
“Alright, c’mon stop the car somewhere!”
We lunched at McDonald’s and had hot cappuccino – another of my favourites to match with the weather and the long drive.
“I’m sorry this evening has come to an end,” he said, as we got into the car to drive home, where he’d drop me and leave.
“Yeah, me too.”
As I got down from the car at my doorstep, he lowered his window, so I could give him a goodbye kiss.
“You sure, you don’t want to come in?” I asked.
“I don’t think your Mom would approve me.”
He nodded his head in worry.
I bent down and he kissed my forehead.
“Thanks for hanging out with me today,” he said.
“I’m glad. Don’t worry, we’ll go out together again soon. Till then, only phone calls.”
He nodded in approval.
“Bye,” I whispered and my heart ached to say it.
He gave a short smile.
As I was about to enter my house, he called out for me, “Hey Jasmine.”
I turned around.
“Take care sweetheart.”
“Love you Dad,” I cried as his car zoomed out in the distance…
Dedicated to all the kids living in broken families and to my Dad – “Love you Papa!” ❤