Our widowed dad walked out on my elder sister and me, leaving us only a note. 14 years later, I discovered it was all a ruse to get rid of me.
I don’t remember much about those days, but I believe I was 7 when Dad told me Mom had died. People were dressed in black all around us, and my mother’s photo was placed next to a casket.
I was sitting with my older sister, Aurora, licking a candy, unbothered that the most special woman of my life was never coming back. I was a child then. Could you really blame me for being so relaxed?
Anyway, even without Mom, life wasn’t so bad. Dad was there, and so was Aurora. She was always cold to me, but she shared her pizza and ice cream with me, so I don’t think I could call her ‘bad.’
But I didn’t realize back then that people could be bad even when they shared their pizza and ice cream with you. They could be bad even though they said they loved you and would look after you…
“Pearl! Get up! He’s gone! Dad’s gone!” Aurora stormed into my room early morning with a note, and I frowned.
It was a Sunday, and I wanted to sleep more. I was eight then. It was a year after Mom’s death. Aurora and I had decided the night before that we would have pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast and pizza for Sunday dinner. But we had none of it.
“I’m sorry I’m doing this, girls. Please don’t hate me for this. I still love you both very much, but I don’t think I can carry on with things like this. I hope you forgive me and live good lives. I’m sorry I couldn’t look after you.
“Dad’s not coming back, Aurora?” My eyes were wet. “He left us too? Just like Mommy?”
Aurora wasn’t the best sister by all means, but she wasn’t the worst either. She gently wrapped her arms around me and said, “Look, Pearl, we need to move on with life. We’ll get through it, okay? There’s something else you should know…”
Aurora was 20 years old then. Yes, we had a significant age difference. She was older. She had seen the world more, so I trusted her blindly, which I shouldn’t have.
“Dad… he left because,” continued Aurora, “he was a coward.”
“I miss Mom…” I said quietly, sniffing. “Will you leave me too, Aurora?”
“NO!” Aurora had said confidently. “I would never leave you, Pearl. I don’t like you, well, because you’re annoying. That doesn’t mean I hate you!”
I remember that moment very clearly. I had felt such warmth in Aurora’s hug that morning. It was the first time I had felt safe in someone’s hug after Mom’s death.
But I was wrong. Very wrong. A few days later, I was placed in a shelter because our relatives didn’t want to be involved in my care, and Aurora had to leave the city to earn a living.
“I’m not sure when I’ll be back, Pearl, but hang in there… It gets better. I will try my best to get you out of here, ok?”
Two years passed. Aurora only came to see me occasionally, and whenever she did, she was very cold to me. It was as if she had become the old version of herself who hated me. Something inside her had changed.
“I found a good job, and I’m seeing someone,” she told me one day. “I want to move on… I don’t want you tagging along, so I’ll be very clear… I’m not getting you out of here, Pearl. But there’s a family… they want to take you in. I know they can give you a better life. I’ll still visit you, ok?”
And well, the Marrows were not bad. They adopted me, gave me a loving home, and when I was 21 and found a guy named Peter, they accepted him too.
An unloved heart receives an abundance of love one fine day.
When Peter and I got married, we invited Aurora to the wedding. She came to the ceremony, but her face was dripping with anger and a strange dislike for me.
“Congratulations, Pearl,” she said, shoving a gift box in my hand while Peter and others were busy with the guests. “You found yourself a rich man!”
“Um, well, I love Peter,” I said modestly. “I think that matters more….”
“Nonsense!” she said with a smirk. “You wanted to show off to Dad and me, didn’t you? You wanted to show us you could do better without us.”
“Aurora!” I cried in disbelief. “Are you mad? What Dad did… I will never forgive him for what he did! He left us!”
“Well, what was so wrong with that? He was better off without you, and he left. Good for him.”
This is the coldness I was talking about. This was the real Aurora. The one who had hugged me the morning Dad left us and was kind enough to say she’ll get me out of the shelter was all a facade to fool me.
One day, Aurora came to meet me. Peter was still at work, and I thought it would be pleasant company. Even though Aurora and I didn’t live together for a long time, we always met up occasionally.
It was a cold, wintry day, and we had coffee before she left. Accidentally, she left her phone on the table, and I noticed it ringing while I was in the kitchen.
I dried my hands with a towel and decided to answer it. But as soon as I saw the caller ID and the image that had popped up on the screen, I felt as if someone had drained all the blood from my body.
I grabbed the table’s corner, and my eyes were moist. “Dad,” it said on the caller ID. 14 years after leaving us, that was the first time I ever felt his presence in my life.
But it wasn’t the call that broke me on the inside. I checked Aurora’s phone. I checked her messages. Luckily, or maybe, unfortunately, her phone didn’t have a lock.
I was so hurt when I found out what Dad had done. He and my sister were very much in touch. They had talked to each other every day, every single day, for 14 years.
“Why?” I was crying as I scrolled through the messages. “Why did you guys do this to me?”
Right then, Aurora walked in.
“Hey Pearl, I think I left my phone—What are you doing?” She snatched the phone from my grasp.
“So, how’s Dad, Aurora?” I asked her bluntly. “Seems like he didn’t really leave us! He left me, didn’t he?”
Aurora looked really pale. “Well, I don’t want to say anything. How about you go ask him?” And she left.
Well, I would ask him. I would ask him why he did that the very next day. Aurora didn’t know I had texted him through her phone, asked him to come to a cafe, and deleted the message before she took away the phone. The next day, I met with him.
“Hi, Dad,” I said as I joined him at the cafe. “It’s been a long time…”
“You?” He looked shocked.
“You thought it would be Aurora, right?” I said. “Well, that’s a long story. I just want to know why you left me. I read Aurora’s messages last night. I know you two have been talking to each other all this while.”
“I don’t want to talk to you, Pearl. The very simple reason is, you’re not my child!” he said, unfazed. “Your mother cheated on me, and I was so angry that I didn’t want you in my life. That’s why I left you. Also, let me hurt you a bit more. Your mother hurt me, so you deserve it.”
“That note I left… I asked Aurora to write it. We both hated you after discovering the truth about you, so we left you. Your mother’s friend told me the truth when you were 8. I secretly took a DNA test with you, and it was confirmed. What a mess it would have been to kick out a little child… People would question us! So we chose to get rid of you in a way that nobody would know, and well, we did!”
I was devastated. At home, I cried in Peter’s arms and told him everything. We wanted to adopt children because we could not conceive, but after listening to what Dad said, I was scared. I was worried I would leave my adopted children because I might not love them.
At that point, Peter held my hands and said, “We’ll love them, Pearl. We will love our kids. Your Dad was a jerk! He was never a parent, and your sister, well, I am sorry you never felt loved. I will give you all that love and more. Let’s have children, Pearl. You deserve to be loved, and our children and I will love you….”
This was… I don’t know how many years ago. Hello, I am Pearl, and I’m 54 years old. My twin daughters, whom Peter and I adopted, are married and have their own families. I am swimming in babies as they’re both pregnant again. I became a mother. I will become a grandmother again soon, and I hope I become a great-grandmother too.
Every morning, my husband Peter kisses me on the cheek when I wake up, and he and my children make me feel loved. I have a lot of love around me. So much love that sometimes it makes my heart explode with happiness. I sometimes cry, thanking God for all that love.
Don’t worry if you are unloved. You’ll find the right person soon, just like I did.
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