Sophie Evans seemed like a typical girl, who supposedly lived with her mother happily only the fact that she desperately wanted to meet her father. Her only father who had abandoned Sophie and her mother years ago. Every time she demanded the questions about her long-lost father, she received empty threats from her mother. Sophie was on the trail of finding her father, to meet him once and for all, but she couldn't share this with her mother. Why did Ms. Evans hesitate each time Sophie asked about her father? Was she protecting her own daughter or simply hiding the truth? How far is Sophie willing to go against her mother finding the secret about her father. Would she open her past wounds or reconcile the old relationship?
Waking up can be really harsh if your reality seemed like a nightmare than your dreams. Everything around you looks surreal, you get disconnected with the disturbing fact surrounding you. Sophie, a rigid teen, woke at the sound of the buzzing alarm. She closed her eyes, heaved a sigh, and glanced around her. Slowly and reluctantly, she stood up and gave a big yawn, stretching her body with laziness.
Suddenly, she felt an alien presence on the other side. The door unlocked, and Ms. Evans entered inside. Her porcelain doll face stretched as she smiled, her blue eyes flashed looking at her own daughter who had just woke up.
“Darling! Awake already?” Her mother smiled.
Sophie rubbed her eyes and gave another yawn with saying “yes” which was so difficult to understand for anyone standing there. She then walked outside, followed by her mother. Few minutes after, she sat at the table arranged by her mother for breakfast.
Ms. Evans was busy at the moment, serving dishes for her daughter and as she did she kept saying excited, “Today’s your favorite. Bacon and eggs. Oh, and your favorite - buttered pancake dipped in honey....”
“Mom!” Sophie snapped, cutting her mom in the middle, who drew a confused stare at Sophie. She then responded calmly, “Umm... I mean you are looking excited today? What’s the occasion?” She blurted out and then paused looking for her mother’s response.
Ms. Evans paused and then calmly answered back. “Oh yes! Don’t you remember? We are supposed to meet Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez. They are already excited to meet you, and it’s also good for our NGO.”
Not again, not this time. Sophie rolled out her eyes in exasperation.
She looked at her mother, her shoulders stooped down. "Mom! I am not going!" She winced, as she uttered those words.
Her mother kept glaring at Sophie, giving away the look of betrayal and her hopes getting lost. "What's the matter, darling?"
Damn! This is gonna be difficult
"Mom! I..." She paused, then continued herself, "Mom, I can't go today. I don't like them, they are boring anyway. And I do have some other work, it's important. Don't drag me into your things."
Her mother looked away, her eyes disheartened and gloomy. Sophie couldn't say anything more, after all, it was the first time she was able to reject her mother's plan. Things were different then, her today's excuse was necessary.
Something had happened. Sophie had discovered something which could change everything in her life, her mother's life.
"I am going to meet my father. I know where he lives, Tiana found out. We did some digging, and.... *sigh* here I am. I am going to meet him at last." Sophie gave in, and breathed out in relief, releasing the tension which had been on her mind for so long.
Ms. Evans was, however, not happy receiving the news. She felt distressed and disappointed at the same time. Feeling betrayed by her own daughter, she cried out loud, "How dare you, Sophie? That man! You know he left us a long time ago. I mean how could you. How could you meet that man who abandoned us, his family!"
"Because I need to know. I deserve to know who my father was. You never told me, mom! Never. Who is he, what's his name? Why he left us!" She screamed at the last statement.
There was an eerie silence in the room, the plates were left as it is, the tension was up there building.
"I guess I am not hungry anymore." Ms. Evans stood up looking at her daughter's plate and then left the room, feeling dejected. Sophie left the room too, getting herself into the guilt.
After few minutes, she met her friend Tianna who was waiting for her. Both of them exchanged a smile, followed by a friendly hug. Tianna smiled back and looked at her friend who was clearly looking devastated but decided not to ask her about it.
"Yeah! Feeling better now. Let's go." Sophie mellowed.
"Are you going to be okay?" Tianna couldn't help but asked, biting her lower lip.
"Yes! I need to see him. I don't know what would happen after that."
"Trust me, Sophie. It's going to be fine. You just want some questions. Truth can indeed hurt us, but in the end, it's all well." Tianna answered back.
"I hope Mom is wrong about him. I so.. want her to be wrong about this. About everything she said." Sophie replied back with a stressed tone. She relaxed as she heard the engines rumbled, waving a bye to her friend, she stepped inside the train.
Sophie was in her seat, her insides shivering with fear as the train started for the journey. Tiana, who was just a great friend and who could always give her smile, no matter the situation, even had failed to relax her this time. The thoughts kept coming in her mind, making her doubt herself.
He was a vile man, he was a selfish man. He didn't love any of you. He could never be a good father.
Her mother kept on ranting whenever Sophie asked about him. She knew something was wrong, but she desperately hoped everything she said about him could have been wrong.
She arrived at the station, got out and started walking. The road had an alien atmosphere towards it, surrounded by fewer people. She kept walking looking at the lost buildings, street signs until she stumbled upon a building.
'New Avenue AA/112'
She read her note and saw the same imprint in front of her. She shooked off her head and strolled inside. The building was looking old, the outsides had a washed grey color. The floor, ceiling, and roof made of concrete but looked shady and colorless. She climbed the stair carefully because of the uneven surface which bound to make her slippery. She stumbled upon the door as she read 00112.
She tapped the door three times.
She tapped the door again, this time heavily and waited for a response.
"Coming!" The voice shouted.
The door opened. Infront of her was an old man, probably in the late 40s, had a fringe of greyish white hair around his balding scalp, his face sunken surprisingly due to age, his skin uneven with freckles.
"Yes, how may I help you?" The voice was hoarse, but a bit unsteady and groggy for the ears.
"Hello! My name is Sophie. Sophie Evans." She replied calmly.
The old man's face changed from a strange stare to a surprise. He kept looking at his own form present in front of him, observing her face with great depth looking for his lost youth.
"Come inside." He said coming back to his senses.
The room almost disclosed the bachelorhood of the owner.The floor was white as marble, the walls looked like a cream, however, the cracks and dents were visible. There was a clean wooden table kept on her front, where she could see piles of newspapers shackled up there. The wardrobe towards her right was nothing but ordinary filled with various booklets while the whole furniture was covered with cables and wires. Oh, and yes there were many gadgets lying around. It looked like a home for a geek!
"So how did you find me?" He broke the silence
Sophie looked at him, he adjusted his glasses and stared at her, probably he was observing her whole time when Sophie was pondering the room.
"Uhm! Yeah. Through my friend, Tianna. She works as an investigative journalist and.. nevermind I just want to ask some questions and then I am gone." Sophie babbled with nervousness
The old man laughed, sat his legs crossed and said, "You are more than welcome to stay for long. But, what concerns me is if your mother knows about this."
"Yes, she knows. I told her that I am meeting you and that I want to know the truth." Sophie replied.
"She must not have taken it lightly." He made it as a statement.
"Yeah, she was upset. But I intend to know.."
"Why I left you... Why? Why would you come all the way just to reveal some past ghosts." He said, "I believe you should not have come here. Sometimes leaving the truth is the best we can do.
Sophie gave a confused stare, she didn't expect her father to welcome her back into his life but at least she expected some hospitality from him. His words stung her heart.
"I think you deserve to know what happened. It all started with a project, a decision which only I made. I was married to Vittoria, your mother, my childhood sweetheart, and love of my life. No, our marriage was working perfectly fine, she was the best I could ask for."
"Then, what changed?" Sophie asked curiously, her eyes fixated on him.
"I believe it was me. My foolishness, my arrogance, and my naivety. Everything went bonkers after I took on that project, the client was giving money, and I was the best at what I did. I was expected to work on Jetwalk Industries, produce a high-end software for them. It was huge, there was a dedicated team assigned alongside me. I was introduced to a new team-mate, Ruth Gray. She worked as a junior programmer, a good one. I was excited to start, and as I did I was more in my workplace than at home. I started spending more time with Ruth than Vittoria. I was blinded by her intelligence, juvenile attitude and her dedication towards work. Vittoria somehow knew, and that's where the arguments started. I left her anyway, and stayed with Ruth."
Sophie was dumbstruck as she heard him saying. She had not expected in her dreams that her father could have committed adultery, not adultery but rather a betrayal.
The old man continued, "I left her without saying anything. I couldn't say out loud and for a fact, I didn't want to face her. I was happy with Ruth and Vittoria was a problem I intended to solve. I left, I left her, unknown to the fact that she was expecting a child." His eyes gave away the inevitable stress as he looked at Sophie, "Yes, it was you!"
Sophie's heart skipped a beat, again, hearing the news. Learning a shocking fact about her father. She wondered if she wants to know more.
"I spent happy times with Ruth, for the time she was with me." He concluded with a sigh.
"Why? What happened to Ruth?"
"She left. I don't blame her now, I couldn't blame her then. She was young and I was turning old. She bravely confessed me, that, she found some young love for herself. And she went."
Sophie had no idea how she was supposed to feel. Hate for the man who left her mother or pity for his loss! Even though he deserved it.
"I was devastated. I couldn't think properly, I couldn't handle the loneliness. Ruth was gone, the passion was gone from my life. I tried to convince her like a fool, but she was adamant. She wanted no more of me, she was done. Days passed, I wanted someone holding my emotions. I was desperate, I went back to the woman whom I loved. To the woman who loved me back equally. She was furious and firm in her voice. She didn't want me back, she even revealed that I had abandoned not herself, but her own daughter. That's when I knew, she couldn't forgive me. I went back. Alone, dampened and miserable. I am living alone till now, for I had promised I wouldn't contact her, I wouldn't contact you as well."
Sophie couldn't say anything, the silence was all over the room. She was experiencing varied emotions at that moment. Hate, rage, pity, sadness, melancholy. Her mind kept asking the same question even at that moment, "Would he come back?"
"So, what now? I mean, you won't come back and stay with us?" She asked naively.
"No! I would never do that to your mother. I am the nightmare you still shouldn't have in your life. Your mother needs you more. You are a strong girl and I believe you can take good care of her. As for me, I believe solitude is my penance, I deserve this. Not you."
Sophie chuckled, "How ironic it is that I was intending to bring you home all this time. Now I understand, why you never can be a part of us. You could never un-change this."
Her father beamed back, "I know you are a strong girl, just like your mother. She would be proud of you someday. Let's just pretend we never had this conversation, so that we would never have to meet again. It's a necessity to keep you both safe emotionally."
Sophie gave a slight, unable to leave the room. Time was coming to an end, there was no more conversation more to happen. She hesitated to take the further step, leaving the room gave away such sadness but at the same time hope for the future. She was not liking the way she was feeling, leaving the memories back to its place. She reached the door and looked back at her father,
"Goodbye... It was nice meeting you." She waved back and left the room.
She was climbing down the steps, and as she left the building, her heart was blooming with hope. She could only think of her mother, the only person who had been through her. She was excited to go home, tell her what happened, how it happened. She wanted to show her mother how she felt at last.
Everything turns out right in the end. Tianna's words rang back.
Few hours after, the doorbell rang. Ms. Evans had canceled her plans, and she was anxiously waiting for her daughter. She was panicked by the fact that Sophie would eventually leave her too. After her failed marriage, Sophie was her inspiration to live. She did everything she could, to stop the past coming back in her life. For that purpose, she controlled her daughter, she was strict, mean and unwantedly rigid, she hid back the secret of her father only for the fear that the man will steal away her daughter. But, the doorbell rang.
The door was opened, and Vittoria was happy to see her daughter standing. Sophie smiled back, knowing the fact that she was truly home. It was strange how she felt about the place, it was going to be a new home again. A home filled with happiness devoid of doubts and insecurities. As she entered in, she hugged her mother back, cursing herself why it took much time to realize this.
"I am not meeting him again, Mom." She spoke after a long hug.
"Why? Did something happen? Did he hurt you?"
"No! He told me everything. And he also told me why I couldn't be with him. But, I already knew that, mom!" She smiled as she looked at her mother.
Ms. Evans was surprised and happy knowing the fact that she had her daughter back, this time completely. Vittoria who had learned nothing but betrayal from this world had touched a moment where the happy ending was near. She never wrote her own, she once thought she never could fighting the shattered hopes she received every time. Today, when she saw the new Sophie standing in front of her she knew she had received her perfect ending, her happiness and she had to keep her safe until she reaches the last page of her life.