"What do you want?" I asked my dad, rubbing my eyes. There was something disturbed in my heart, and it took me a moment to realize what it was. Ah, yes. The dream I'd had the night before.
"Listen, Nadia, I want to talk to you about something." I'd never seen my dad nervous before, and the sight of his apparent anxiety made me wonder what he was about to say. "It's about...I don't know..." he stopped, and I didn't wait for him to continue.
"No, Dad, there's something I have to say, too," I replied, my muscles tensing up like they always did when I got anxious. "Last night, I had a dream that God wanted me to forgive you. I went into your room last night with the motive of telling you I forgave you, but I couldn't follow through with it. I went back to bed instead of talking to you." I took a deep breath. "I know I should forgive you, Dad, but it's just so hard. Like when I think of all the times you've abandoned Dakota and me for the sake of your job. And when you left Mom, too, for that matter. I know she's not perfect, but neither are you. Why did you let our family fall apart like that?"
I saw my dad's walls fall down around him. "I didn't mean to let this happen," he said, and I knew he was referring to all the struggles we'd been through in the past few weeks. "I didn't mean to let Dakota end up in the hospital for attempted suicide."
I stood up. "Oh, my word! Dakota! I completely forgot about him! Someone needs to go see how he's doing!"
But to my chagrin, Dad caught my arm and sat me down. "Right now, we need to talk more than we need to see Dakota."
Despite my desire to protest, I kept my mouth shut and obeyed my dad. After all, he was right. Dakota was surrounded by doctors who knew what they were doing, but this moment might have been the only heart-to-heart talk we'd ever have. "Okay, then," I said, hesitant. "Talk."
"I didn't mean to let you and Dakota...and your mom...I didn't mean to hurt you. But sometimes, life falls apart. You don't mean it to, but it does."
"So you're blaming all your abandonment on the fact that sometimes, life just 'falls apart'?"
I couldn't blame my dad for being frustrated, but then again, he couldn't blame me for being frustrated, either. "Listen, Dad. I will hear whatever you want to say, but I can't promise you that I'll feel any less animosity than I do right now." The forgiveness I'd been willing to extend to my dad last night had completely melted away.
"I guess I just came here to say..." Dad swore and ran a hand through his hair. "I guess I just want to tell you..."