I am not proud of what I did next but once I recovered from my shock I walked up to him and slapped him.
“I suppose I deserved that,” he said. “Will you let me explain?”
I ignored him at first and pulled Lily off to a corner of the room.
“Is that who I think it is?” Lily asked. When she was younger she asked about her father and when she was old enough to understand I had told her everything.
“Yes, he is your biological father.”
“Are you going to tell him about me?”
“Do you want me to?”
“I don’t know. Can you hear what he has to say first? Then maybe decide.”
“Sure, do you want to hear it too? Do you want to be here when I tell him?”
“No I don’t think so. I am not sure I want to see his face when he finds out.”
I understood. She said she was going to go out and get some air. I told her to not go to far and to stay near the building so she could get inside quickly in case of a sandstorm.
“Tell my your excuse for leaving the next morning without saying anything at all. You flew out of there like you were on fire. Do you have any idea how that made me feel?”
“You are right. What I did that morning was terrible and I have regretted it ever since but will you please hear me out.”
“Fine, let’s hear it.”
“Let’s go upstairs where we can sit and be a little more comfortable.”
“Fine,” I said.
The upstairs had a room with bunk beds.
A small bathroom.
A kitchen/living room area.
“For you to fully understand, I need to go back to about a month and a half before that. At the beginning of November I turned 16 and my parents surprised me with tickets to see the Appaloosa Plains Llamas in their home stadium. The Llamas have always been my favorite team. So we made the trip from Riverview to Appaloosa Plains and the game was everything I thought it would be. The Llamas won and so I was trilled. My younger sister was a Gnomes fan and she was mad because her team lost. In the car on way home she kept saying that the Llamas only won because the refs were clearly biased towards the home team. We started fighting and my mom took her seat belt off so she could turn around and yell at us. That was the last thing I remembered.”
“Car accident?” I asked.
“Yeah, I don’t remember the accident at all. I had my seat belt on but something managed to hit me in the head resulting in a concussion. In addition to the concussion I had some cuts and scrapes as well as bruised ribs from the seat belt. But for the most part I was ok.”
“And the rest of your family?” I asked though I already had an idea of were this was going.
“My mother had taken off her seat belt and was thrown threw the windshield. I was told she died immediately. My father suffered the majority of the injuries as the car was hit on his side. He was taken into surgery but his injuries were too severe. He died on the operating room table.”
“Oh, Jonathan I am so sorry,” I said.
“My sister had been sitting behind my dad so she was also severely injured. She needed a specialized surgery that the hospital in Appaloosa Plains wasn’t equipped to preform. They said she needed to go to the hospital in Bridgeport but at that time she was too weak to travel. She was in a coma. For days I sat by her bedside. I read her stories and just talked to her. I slept every night in a chair next to her bed. One day a nurse came in and told me that I needed to get out of the hospital and get some fresh air. They let me use some staff showers and had chipped in to get me some clothes. So I went for a walk and heard some girl talking about a big party that night. I thought maybe that would help me get my mind off things. So I memorized the address and came to the party. The next morning when I woke up I wanted to tell you so many things. I wanted to tell you everything that I just told you know. I wanted to give you my number and call you sometime. That night has always been very special to me. But you might remember that morning my pager went off.”
“Yeah I thought it was weird that a boy your age had a pager.”
“The pager was from the hospital. It was alerting me that my sister had woken up. In that moment all other thoughts fled. I had to get to her so she would know she wasn’t alone. I had planned to come back but then everything happened so fast. I had just arrived and was informed they were transporting her by helicopter to Bridgeport. They agreed to let me go with them. Once we arrived in Bridgeport she was taken into surgery immediately. That surgery was one of dozens she had over the next 2 years. Both my parents were only childs and my grandparents had all passed away when I was younger. My grandma Coon had a sister who was still alive and we were sent to live with her. Her health wasn’t great but she was nice and it was better than foster care. I sold our home in Riverview to pay for my sister’s medical expenses and dropped out of school so I could take care of her. When I was 18 she passed away during yet another surgery. My great aunt died a few months later. I had managed to get my GED during those two years. After everything with my sister I decided I wanted to be a doctor and help people like her doctors did for her but there was no way I could pay for college. So I joined the military and got trained as a medic. I eventually joined the Doctors Without Borders program and here I am.”
I immediately hugged Jonathan.
“So does this mean I am forgiven?” he asked.
“Yeah, I am sorry you had to go through all of that and by yourself. Did you ever find out what caused the accident?”
“Yeah an officer came to see me in the hospital. He said that the man who hit us was fleeing the scene of a home invasion in a stolen car. I guess he had broken into some house but the owners arrived home unexpected and caught him in the act. The robber panicked and shot the home owners. He flew out of the house through the garage and sped off in the owner’s sports car. The house had a silent alarm which sent the police. I guess the house also belonged to a former police officer so the whole force came out. This resulted in a high speed chase. The guy flew through a red light and crashed into our car. Kaitlyn? What’s wrong?” he asked as I had gone extremely pale.
“I am going to be sick,” I said.
Before raising from the room
to throw up.
“Are you ok?” he asked when I came back into the room.
“The house that was burglarized that night was mine. The owners that were shot were my parents. I had been gone, studying abroad in China. When I came home my brother told me that my parents had been killed in a home invasion. I had the party that night for the same reason you came to it. To try to do something normal and to forget for just a little while.”
After that I broke down and cried. Jonathan held me and let me cry on his shoulder.
“I guess now it is my turn to talk,” I said.
“You don’t have to say anything,” Jonathan said.
“But I do. There is something you don’t know. A few weeks after the party I thought I had a case of the flu as I was throwing up and felt exhausted all the time. In February I realized that I was over a month late. I knew deep down what that meant but I was also in denial. I took a test and it was positive. I took another test and it was also positive. But still I was in denial. I didn’t want to admit that I could be pregnant at 15. But after my sister took me to the doctor I couldn’t deny it any longer.”
Now it was Jonathan’s turn to look shocked. “I got you pregnant?” he asked.
“Oh, wow how you must have hated me,” he said.
“I did at first. You left and here I was a pregnant 15 year old. But once Lily was born and I held her for the first time I realized no mater how angry I was with you I could never hate you because you had given me Lily.”
“A daughter, I have a daughter? Is that who . . .” he trailed off pointing to the door.
“Yes that is Lily my, I mean our daughter.”
“Will you tell me about her?” he asked.
“Sure,” I reached into my bag and pulled out my frame with all my pictures of Lily. I am not sure why I had packed it other than I had always taken it everywhere with me.
“Here, I was at 16 and as you can see very pregnant.”
“Then here was the day Lily was born.”
“Oh and this is one of my favorites of her sleeping in her swing while I did my homework.”
“Here she is at one also sleeping in the swing. She loved that swing.”
“Then this is her at the festival after she participated in the pie eating contest with her cousins. I have three brothers and two sisters so Lily has had lots of family around.”
“Here she is at 8 in her school uniform. She is very gifted and got excepted to the Brentwood academy. And here she is . . .” but I stopped mid sentence as I looked over at Jonathan to find tears streaming down his checks.
Now it was my turn to let Jonathan cry.
“Can I meet her?”
“Well seeing as we are both here with you at this camp for the next three months I figure that can not be avoided,” I teased trying to lighten the mood.
“Do you think after all this time she will want anything to do with me? I missed so much time with her.”
“Let me go talk to her and if you don’t mind explain some of what you just told me.”
He didn’t say anything, he just nodded.
I went out and told Lily everything Jonathan had told me. About the car accident killing his mother and father, about his sister being in a coma only waking up that morning, about her years of surgeries before she finally died as well.
“He wants to meet you and make up for lost times. He is truly sorry he missed so much of your life. When I showed him your baby pictures he cried.”
We walked back into the hospital and Lily ran right over to Jonathan and gave him a big hug. The two just held each other and cried.
Over the next three months we saw patients.
I delivered several babies
And we gave out vaccinations.
Lily was great at entertaining the children that came to the clinic.
She also did cleaning and organized supplies. She was a big help.
Jonathan had been in Egypt for several years so he took us around and showed us some of his favorite sites like the pyramids.
And an ancient temple.
One day we had a picnic.
And another time Jonathan took us to his favorite little hideaway.
And we went fishing.
Some evenings we just spent together at the camp. I would cook dinner while Lily and Jonathan sat at the table and talked. He loved hearing all about her life.
On our last night there Lily turned in early while Jonathan and I stayed up watching the stars.
“I wish you didn’t have to leave tomorrow,” he whispered in my ear.
“We have to. Lily starts her junior year next week and I need to get back to my practice. I am sure Lily will write you everyday and you can video chat. That’s how I get by when she is at school.”
“And you? Will you write? Can we video chat?”
“Sure if you want,” I said. I could tell Jonathan was going to kiss me but I stopped it. I think I have feelings for him but I am not sure if is because he is Lily’s father or if there is more. Besides his place is here and mine is back in Appaloosa Plains.
The next morning Lily and her father hugged each other goodbye. They promised to write daily and video chat once a week. I am happy she had this time to get to know him.