Annie by JohnandVan
"For thy loving kindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth." Psalm 26:3
John recovered from his fall rather quickly and went back to work after he was released from the hospital, with instructions to take it easy. Of course easy was something John never did. Evangeline insisted that he stay at her place so she could watch over him. He slept in the guest room but for all intents and purposes they were one happy family. They were happy to have survived Gabe and to move on. One thing still had to be done - telling Annie that her mother wasnít coming home. Evangeline wanted to be the one to tell her but John convinced her to let him.
Not that Evangeline and Annie hadnít bonded, but he felt because of his own loss he would be the best one to explain it. He and Evangeline agreed and he decided today was the day. As much as it pained him, he had to be honest with this angel, so he asked a higher power to give him the strength and the right words to tell her the sad news.
Annie and John were on the floor watching her favorite movie "Sinbad" for the hundredth time. When it was over, John asked Annie if she wanted to go to the park.
"Just you and me? And I get to swing as much as I want?" Annie asked with the biggest smile on her beautiful face.
"Yes, but first I want to have a little talk - you and me. Is thatís okay?"
"íBout what, Uncle John?"
"About your momma, angel." John said, trying not to convey his own turmoil in having to impart this news to Annie.
"Okay. You know where she is?"
"Yes, but Iíll tell you after we go out, I need some air. You with me or what?"
Annie jumped up and ran to the closet. She pulled her sweater off the hook that John had installed for her that was within her arm reach. John had put a name plaque above the hook just for her, so Annie kept her coat or sweater on it. Annie pulled on her sweater and opened the door, waiting impatiently for John. John smiled and put on his old manís sweater and went to the door. He took her hand in his and they headed for the park.
After they got to the park, John and Annie sat on the bench. As they held hands, Annie could sense that Uncle John was sad, but she waited for him to open up and talk.
"Annie, you know Iíve been trying to find your mom every since we knew she was missing?"
"Yes, you promised, I Ďmember."
"Well, do you remember me telling you that when I was just a little older than you, I lost my father?"
Annie shook her head and tightened her grip on Johnís hand, before saying, "Yes."
"Annie, I donít know how to tell you this, except you and I have always been able to tell each other the truth, and somehow understand with out talking what the other is feeling."
Annie whispered, "Mommy isnít coming back."
"No Angel Face, sheís not." John sad with sadness running through his voice.
Annie moved and wrapped her little arms around Johnís waist and cried. He felt her body shudder and shake and tears streamed down his cheeks as he felt her pain. They held each other, not caring if anyone thought it strange that a little girl and a grown man were both crying.
"Did she hurt, Uncle John?"
"Annie, I hope not. Iím thinking she knew you were safe and she found some peace in that. I believe you were her heart."
"How did you feel when your daddy left?"
"Like you, sad, but I was mad too. I didnít want him to leave."
"I want her back, I want my mommy," Annie cried.
"I know you do. This hurt feeling will go away slowly, but you wonít ever forget her; she loved you and that will always be a part of you. Sometimes when I sleep, my father feels so close in my dreams and I know he is looking out for me, making sure I do the right things for the people I love."
"Mommy always said she loved me. So, sheíll always be with me?"
"Yes, she is with you every time you smile or remember something you two did that was special for the two of you."
"Yep, she would read to me at night and tuck me in and wait till I fell asleep. Or she would take the food, when we didnít have much and let me eat first." Tears of remembrance fell as she recalls those moments.
"Donít forget the laughter and remember you were loved. She made sure you had a home, with your Aunt Evangeline and I."
"You two getting married right?"
"Well, if your Aunti doesnít get cold feet."
"She wonít, she has to let us marry you. We love you."
"Oh, you do."
"Uncle John you know we do. Stop playing," Annie said with a frown.
"Iím not. I love you, too."
"And Aunti Van?"
"Yep, you two are my life."
"Uncle John, will you be with me when I say good-bye to mommy?"
"No, you wonít be saying good bye. You will be celebrating her going home, to a place of such peace and joy. We will celebrate her life and her gift to us - you, the most beautiful and loving child that lights up our life."
"I do?" she asked in awe.
"Yes, love, you do." John picked her up and took her to the swings. He started pushing her toward the sky and thanked Annieís mother, Evangelineís heart and Annieís sweet soul, for his entire blessing. He was a man who would have been in a tunnel, with no light, but a womanís heart opened his soul and a little girl showed him that he too could go on. John could now forgive his father, for leaving. His loss enabled him to see Annieís heart and help her to deal with the loss of her mother.
Life was a circle of love and it had led him to be a future husband to Evangeline and Annieís father. Now, he was ready for that, his heart had healed. John continued to push his Annie and later they got ice cream and watched the sunset, holding hands and chattering. He thought he caught his father smiling to his left and Annieís mother Samantha smiling and nodding, allowing him to briefly think he had done good, really good.
John took Annieís hand and headed home. Evangeline would fuss. She had told them not to ruin dinner, but he knew it didnít matter. Evangeline would make them eat their veggies either way. He smiled and picked up the pace. Home was wherever Evangeline and Annie were.