Match Eight: Bishop Wood:
Alfred enjoyed his little daughter. He vowed to be a good father. This worried Lydia. She would just have to suck it up and tell him. If they were going to be a family, the truth would have to come out. She watched him play with Baby Florence in the living room.
“Hey Alfred,” she said. The American man played with the baby’s toes.
“Uh-hm?” he asked. Lydia leaned forward on the couch.
“There’s something I have to tell you,” she said. “About Baby Florence.”
“What about her?” he asked. The young woman shifted into place. She tried to come up with the right way to say it. He still had to know the truth.
“You know that Florence was a tree spirit, right?” Lydia asked.
“Yeah,” Alfred said.
“Well… She’s a half-breed,” the girl said. “Little Florence is.”
Lydia frowned. “Do you understand what that means?”
“Yeah, yeah.” Alfred pretended to eat the baby’s toes. “I’m going to eat your toes. I’m going to eat your toes.” The girl sighed.
“Don’t you get it?” she asked. “She could die young!” Alfred froze.
“I know that,” he said in a low voice.
“What?” Lydia asked. The American man turned his head. He pulled Baby Florence to his chest.
“I heard you talking to the doctor that other time,” he said. A confused and stunned look came over her face.
“Then… why didn’t you-?” she asked.
“I say anything?” Alfred asked.
“Yes,” Lydia said, nodding. The American man shrugged.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“What?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he said again. “I just want to enjoy her while I still can.” Alfred bounced the little girl in his arms. Lydia dropped her shoulders.
“You really did love my sister, didn’t you?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Alfred said. He caressed his daughter on her cheek.
Her niece wasn’t her only worry.
Lydia couldn’t bring herself to tell anyone about her trip to find her birth mother. He got arrested in Colorado. But she didn’t want to deal with it. When she got home, Lydia just wanted to disappear into the floor. She didn’t want Florence to see her like that.
Lydia did her best to keep it together. But lately, that’s been crumbling around her.
Time for another therapy session.
Lydia slipped away at ten in the morning. Alfred and Baby Florence were going to be fine for thirty minutes. He has proved to be a capable dad. But she wasn’t ready to tell him everything. They were not that close. And besides…
Lydia looked out the bus window. She wasn’t ready to tell anyone else anyway. The young woman drew her knees to her chest. It already hurt to talk about it to a stranger. But this had to be done in order for her to be free.
Lydia lifted up her chin. She felt like she was about to cry again.
I want to go home.
Good thing there weren’t many people on the bus today. Only an old man and a middle-aged Hispanic woman who looked half-asleep this morning. (She was probably coming home from work.)
The bus pulled up into the city. Lydia kept her head down as she walked off the bus. She made her way to the psychiatrist’s office. Her hand touched the glass. There weren’t many people sitting in the waiting room. It could be so easy to turn around and go home.
Lydia slowly shook her head.
No. This had to end. If this was the way to do, so be it.
She pushed open the door and went inside. Lydia made her way to the receptionist’s desk. That woman looked up from her paperwork.
“Good morning,” she said. Lydia looked down at the paper on the desk.
“I’m here for my appointment,” she mumbled. The receptionist didn’t say a word. She shoved a clipboard towards her.
“Check to see if the information is correct,” she said. Lydia read over the paperwork.
“My sister is dead,” she said. “Do I put her boyfriend down at a contact?”
“Yes,” the receptionist said.
“Okay,” the young woman said. Lydia wrote down Alfred’s name and number for the emergency form. She didn’t know why she did that. They weren’t that close. But she didn’t have anyone else now. Once everything was done, she handed back the form.
“Please take a seat,” the receptionist said. Lydia walked over to the chairs near the wall and sat down. She pulled out her phone. Alfred would probably still in bed right now. Lydia looked up at the ceiling and sighed. She placed her hand to her stomach. The only other person in the waiting room was a woman in her fifties. She trembled as she tugged at her sleeves. She looked like she needed to sleep. They didn’t make eye contact.
“Lydia Foxwell,” a lady called out. The young woman lifted her head. A secretary stood in the doorway with her chart. Lydia stood up and walked over to her.
“Good morning,” the secretary said. The young woman bowed her head as she followed behind. The secretary closed the door behind her.
“How are you this morning, Lydia?”
“Tired. I just want to go home.”
“You can as soon as we finish this session.”
Lydia groaned. “Fine.” The therapist took more notes. Lydia shifted in her seat.
“I’m an aunt now.”
“My sister had a baby before she died. It’s a girl and her name is Florence.”
“After your sister?”
“He named her.”
“How does all of this make you feel?”
“Okay, I guess.”
“What do you mean?”
Lydia shook her head. “He really does care about Little Florence.”
She dropped her shoulders. “I still don’t trust him. Or rather I didn’t trust him.”
“And what changed?”
“He knows the risks and what Little Florence is. And he really does care about her.”
“Have you tell him yet?”
Lydia placed her hand on her stomach. “I can’t.”
“You have to make a decision.”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“What that man did to you is not your fault.”
“I know.” Lydia’s eyes welled up with tears. The therapist gave her a tissue. The young woman took it and wiped her eyes.
“You know what you can’t keep this a secret for long. Whatever you decide, you have to tell Alfred the truth. He has to know what happened to you in Colorado.”
The therapist reached out and took her by the hand. Lydia gave her a desperate look. For once, the older woman gave her a little smile.
“Listen to me. You are going to need all of the support you can get. If you can trust Alfred with your sister and your niece, why not trust him with you?”
“But I don’t know how to tell him.”
“Do you want me to come with you for support?”
Lydia didn’t answer. She knew that she was right. But still…