Dorothy took the plate of food out of her hand and threw it across the room

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Staring back at her, the man’s lip trembled and he muttered, “How long will
you play that stupid girl for, anyway?”

As Dorothy stepped back, he flung the plate of food across the room, causing
the door to slam in his face. “Let’s get ready to leave now,” she said
hurriedly. She grabbed the baby from the crib and tried to pull her out the
door. But by the time she turned around to help Daniel, the door to the room
was closed, and the man had thrown the door open.

“Dorothy, get out of here, and take that child with you! You hear me? Take
her with you!”

He was screaming over and over at her, “Take her with you! Don’t you
understand? What is the world coming to? Take her, and leave me here!”

Dorothy tried to run toward the door, but as she reached it, it slammed
shut. He stood right in front of her, his arms up, eyes flaming with hate.
“Get out!” His eyes locked on her, and, for a few moments, the room grew
dark as only the eyes of a madman could see. The next thing Dorothy knew,
she was outside with the baby, crying as she struggled out of her father’s
arms.

“Go back in there and shut the door,” Daniel said. “We got to get out
of here. I thought, as soon as you had that baby, I lost you forever. I never
expected you to go and do it.”

His voice cracked with emotion, and he stood there, not looking at her, but
at the stormy sky.

“Dad, I don’t want to leave you. Please. I’ll come back for you
later. I promise.”

“I don’t care.” His voice was almost strangled, but a tear fell between his
eyes. “Just go! Get out of my sight, and don’t look back!”

“No dad! Please, I’m begging you!”

“I will come back on my own, but I’ll never forgive you just for
that!” He turned and paced away, leaving Dorothy to pick up the baby. He
breathed heavily as he walked away. “I’ll never forgive you for
that. Never.”

“No! Dad, don’t walk away from me. Please, please, don’t go!”

“Go where? I’m standing here with my ass out the door. You’re still here,
and now the baby? She’s crying, and we’re going to have to leave the house.
What kind of life would that be for her? And I’m not going anywhere.”

Dorothy started crying again as she held out the baby, who made no sound
at all as she stared up at her father with eyes filled with emotion.

“You don’t have to leave me,” she said. “You’ve been here all my
life.”

Daniel turned and looked down at her for a moment. “I don’t have all
the answers, you know,” he said softly, “but I know the one thing you need
is a good father.”

And he turned away. “Goodbye, Dorothy.”

“Please don’t walk away, dad! Don’t go!” she said, but he shook his head
continuing to walk away.

“You’ll always be my daughter!” he called to her, but she did not look at
him. She was not afraid, she was not afraid anymore. She ran down to the
door to find the baby, and when she looked at the door, it was standing open.
She ran back up to the top of the stairs, where Daniel’s hands were still
in the air, and she closed her eyes and stepped over his hands.

“You’ll be waiting for me,” she said as she stepped through the open door
and closed it behind her.

I don’t know how she survived, or what she was doing, but she came out of
it, and I know, because I witnessed it, that she survived, and she came out
of it with a new life, and a new life was all she knew, but she survived, and
she came out a better person than she had been before, with a new life and a
new family, and that is all that I know, but I know that she survived, and
that is all that I know.

From time to time when the kids are here, or when they’re at their grandma’s
and I have the day off, and I have that long-deserted Sunday-morning ritual,
the phone rings and my wife answers and my oldest son says, “Hey, Mom,
it’s Daniel O’Hara. Your father just called me.”

“What did he have to say?” I ask.

“He’s not coming back,” he says quietly. “He’s leaving the house…”

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