Elsie looked down at the unconscious young woman lying in the hospital bed.
She’s Jeff daughter. If I ignore the skin color and different hair texture, I can see the resemblance. It isn’t a strong “Oh, look! They’re twins!” sort of resemblance. It’s something more subtle than that. I can’t even put my finger on the how and where.
When Hildreth and I have our first child, what will she be like? Will her hair be wild and frizzy like mine? Or will it be nice and tame like his? Maybe it will be some sort of in between texture. If that’s even possible.
Will someone be able to look at her and see the family resemblance? Will she look like she’s my daughter or more like she’s my younger sister?
Will she favor Hildreth over me? I imagine she would. Why wouldn’t she? He’s the kind of man any daughter would be proud of.
Elsie felt a slight pang as she thought about her own father.
What am I supposed to think about him now? How am I supposed to feel? He surrendered me. But he didn’t have a real choice in the matter. He abandoned me. Because he was afraid I would reject him.
Of all the idiot things!
I rejected him anyway. I thought he didn’t love me. I thought he’d forgotten all about me.
He died on his way to me.
He died wanting to see me again.
But he isn’t the only one to blame. All I had to do was call him. Yes, there would have been anger in between us. Yelling, no doubt. I’m sure I would have given him the silent treatment and hung up on him.
But if I had called him, we could have tried. He could have said something, anything to make me understand, to show me that he loved me, that I still mattered to him.
I could have called him, but I was too afraid to even try.
So, he tried to come to me.
He died trying to come to me.
So, how am I supposed to feel about him?
Hildreth burst into the room and rushed over to her. “Elsie.”
Elsie raised her head. Before she could say anything, he spread his hands on the sides of her face and kissed her.
She melted into the heat of his touch and returned every kiss. Her hands seemed to move on their own, grabbing his hair, scrunching and unscrunching it.
He laughed. “I love you, Els.”
Elsie looked into his eyes and thought about Ambrose, about the heated non-moment they had in the hallway.
A whole lifetime ago, that scenario would have turned out so differently. We were alone. Hildreth wasn’t there and neither was Barbara.
A whole lifetime ago, I would have taken advantage of a situation like that. I would have lost my head. I would have kissed him and he would have kissed me.
But that was a whole lifetime ago.
Now, we both let that moment pass us by.
Now, all I want to do is kiss this fool standing here in front of me.
Now, Hildreth is all I want. He will always be the man I want and desire.
“I love you too, Hildreth.” She dug her fingers through his hair and pressed her hands against his head. “You’re so warm.”
“Mmm. There’s a good and pervy joke in there somewhere, but I’ll let it go this time.”
“Good.” She kissed him again.