He watches her and beams with pride. His little girl, eleven next month, dancing her first solo recital. Hannah has been dancing since the age of four, and now she is the focus of every eye as she dances alone onstage, each move perfectly timed to match the music.
After the recital there are milkshakes with parents and other dancers. The parents cannot stop talking about the recital; the children talk about everything but.
He sits and sips his shake, rolls a French fry in ketchup and wonders about the future. In ten years, she will be long gone; in college, perhaps graduated and on to her first job. How he wants to hold onto these moments, but they will fade just as surely as the season yet passed. Poor Hannah, what will become of her? And what a miracle she is already, he recalls, casting his mind back to the day she was born…
The doctor’s face is what let him know something was wrong. He remembers the doctor saying his wife ruptured her appendix in delivery and was being rushed into surgery to repair it. She would be fine, the doctor told him. He exhaled, felt his heart begin to beat once more. And then he felt that same heart caught in the back of his throat when the doctor half-whispered, It’s about the baby.
Hours of nothing but blurring emotions and questions that seemed to ebb and flow, as if feeding off one another in some kind of odd parasitical relationship. The more he paced, the more helpless he felt. Five hours in, he was told Hannah only had a one in ten chance of living. He could not bring himself to tell his wife at that moment, instead letting her sleep under the fog of drugs they were giving her.
Another four hours passed and finally the doctor came to update him. Hannah would live, but she might never walk. They would know more in a few days. After hearing that, he went to the hospital chapel and began to pray. He hadn’t’ prayed in years and doubted God would hear him or grant his request, but it seemed the thing to do as he waited to hear.
Now, eleven years later, he watches as she stands from the booth and begins to dance a mock minuet with a friend of hers. They laugh at the end of their dance, collapse back into the booth, and finish their snacks.
He stands and feels a tear welling in the corner of his right eye. He is unsure who to thank for all the good he has been granted.
Copyright 2016 by David Alexoff. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.