I never gave her the letter. I’ve explained, in person,the feelings I expressed in it. I brushed away her doubtswhen they came crawling—she has so many of themsometimes. But I never gave it to her. There was noneed. I wrote the letter and sat in my apartment, my headin my hands, my heart breaking, and I realized it wasn’tenough.
Vera deserved more than just a letter. She deservedeverything I had. With some difficulty I was able tospeak with Vera’s brother and mother in Vancouver andoffer to buy her flight home. I told her mother—pricklything that she is—that Vera needed to be with family,those that love her.
I love her. She is my family.
It was a gamble. I didn’t know if she’d even be onthe plane, let alone willing to forgive me. So I took thetime to make sure everything was right. I spoke to Isabel,several times, and did my best to try and get her to seemy point of view. I didn’t want to lose joint custody ofChloe Ann; I didn’t want her to grow up without afather.
Isabel almost relented. It took padding thesettlement with extra cash to finally get her to agree. Ofcourse, it was worth it. To have my daughter, I wouldhave paid anything.
To have Vera back, I would have done everything.
Once I was at the airport, I waited in thebackground as the plane boarded. I was sure I lookedsuspicious, but I didn’t want to give Vera a reason toback out. I felt her before I saw her, her aura pulling mein like gravity. She looked absolutely beautiful, so muchso that I could barely stand on my own two feet andwatch as she walked past. Radiant pain spread throughmy chest, and I was certain I was having a heart attack.But it was just the impact of seeing her and the pain thatI might still lose her in the end.
I’m normally a confident man—my career hasinstilled that in me. But at that moment, I felt drained ofit. I headed to the washroom to splash water on my face.I stared at myself in the mirror and didn’t see a confidentman in a sharp suit. I saw a little boy whose heart lay insomeone else’s hands.
I walked on the plane last minute and readiedmyself as I made my way down the aisle. I ignored theannoyed stares of the people who had to wait for me, andheld my breath until I saw her.
Vera’s body was angled toward the window, herhair covering her face. She looked both small and wild,and I itched to touch those shiny curls that ran down herback, the color of orange cream. The woman on the aislewas staring at me with blatant disappointment—shethought she wouldn’t have anyone sitting next to her thewhole trip. Little did she know, all my attention wouldbe on the other seat during the flight.
My patience was tested. I sat there, still as stone,my eyes solely on Vera, during taxi, take-off, when wereached cruising altitude. From the way her back roseand the occasional quiet whimper that escaped, I knewshe was crying. It took everything I had not to breakdown myself. I wanted to kiss those tears away.
But I would wait for her to discover me.
Finally, she did. She adjusted herself in her seat andelbowed me. I’d never smiled so wide.
“Sorry,” she mumbled in her wonderful smokyvoice, still not turning around.
I licked my lips and breathed in deeply before Isaid, “I am sorry too.”
Her body stiffened. She slowly turned her head, andmy smile grew soft at the sight of her reddened eyes andthe tracks of tears beneath them. She looked impossiblystunned, like she’d seen a ghost. Only I was noapparition; I was real.
Instead of giving her the letter, I opened up and laidit all out there for her to see, no stone unturned. Thething I was most afraid of was having my heart, my loverejected, for her to turn her back. It was her right to doso, and yet I wished for nothing more than anotherchance.