A parting gift

I paced back and forth attracting some strange looks from people casually passing the girl’s room.

“Uh I’m waiting for someone.” I explained to a woman giving me a large glare. “You almost done in there Morgan?”  I called through the door to prove my point.  She firmly herded her own daughter to another toilet down the corridor.

I was doing the best I could to flush my nerves to the back of my mind, I couldn’t imagine how terrifying it must be for Morgan.

When Morgan finally came out she looked fantastic. People would have laughed if I had told them minutes before she had been covered in a thick layer of mud. I almost didn’t recognise her as she stepped through the doorway followed by the beamingly proud pair, Katha and Layla.  There was a determined look in her eyes which made me feel so proud. I doubted there were many parents out there who would ever feel this swollen with pride in their children.

“Well?” Morgan asked as I stared.

“Morgan you look...”

“Smart?” Katha suggested

“Stylish?” Layla joined in.

“Clean.” I smiled. “Really kid you look stunning.”

Katha and Layla Hi-fived behind Morgan as we made our way towards the elevator once more.  We all stopped before the doors.

“This is it.”  Morgan and I said in perfect chorus. “It’s where we must say Goodbye.” I continued.

“Goodbye?” Layla’s face dropped. “What do you mean Mike?”

I gently reached down and took one of her soft and slender hands, bringing it up to my chest. From my palm I pressed a small brown leather wrap into her hand, a parting gift and she knew it.  Still a set of big upset eyes looked up at me.

“Layla, I need you to realise when I said that this meeting was important I meant that from this point onwards, no matter what happens, we are heading straight to danger. I won’t put you at risk.” I turned to a whisper “If Morgan and I don’t come back, please don’t come looking for us, I want both of you to carry on like you never even met us. Will you promise me at least that?”

She broke eye contact and looked down to her right for a few moments before bringing her head back up and moving it closer into mine.  Planting a gentle kiss on my rough cheek she whispered “Never.”

As the word poured into my ear I could tell there would be no convincing her right now. I had to just hope she would remember and heed my advice if the time came.

Katha suddenly brought Morgan into a deep hug. “Look I don’t know exactly what you two are planning, but this is not where we part Morgan! I know it.”

“I hope your right.” Morgan smiled.

The elevator doors slowly slid open revealing the brightly lit interior glistening with mirrors and gold framing and trimming.  Morgan and Katha drew apart and Layla’s hand slowly slipped from mine, until it was just our fingertips touching, as I stepped into the elevator. The second her warmth left my hand I felt cold gush through me, I shuddered as I lost sight of her clutching the little package through the closing doors.

Morgan placed her hand in my still open grip and squeezed tight, partly because under the determined look I could tell she was still a bit nervous and taken aback by everything, partly because she still wasn’t used to the speed of the lift. I think she had noticed my other hand snake up to my cheek and to the point where Layla had kissed me, the only point at which I currently felt warmth remain.

She giggled a little. “You might want to remove the lipstick marks dad.”

My face flushed red as I wiped away the marks in the mirror. The elevator came to a steady stop and Morgan loosened her white knuckled grip on the rails. I noticed something defiantly seemed different about Morgan as she stepped out of the elevator.

The End

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