Part XV: Father and Daughter
The duo of Father and Daughter were seated across from one-another, quite quietly, in the expanse of the living-room – one reading the newspaper and the other holding a novel to her face, but not both able to read even a word of their material.
They did not say it out loud, but were in fact secretly waiting for the other to start the inevitable conversation.
Finally, Laura could not hold it in any longer and she cried out, “Papa, do I say ‘Yes’? I so want to!”
Her father looked up from his paper, an expression of nonchalance plastered onto it. “That’s your decision to make, sweetie,” he told her.
She shook her head. “But, you didn’t like him!”
At this, he put down his paper at the table in front of him and sighed. “Love, I’m okay with any decision you make. You’re an adult now, so you mustn’t be caring about what others think of you.”
Laura shook her head again, this time, a little disappointment showing. “Papa, you know I love you and Mama more than anybody else and I want both of you to be as happy as me with any decision I make. I can’t be if you aren’t!”
Gale Watson regarded his daughter for a moment, taking in her pained expression and the fact that her heart must be tearing up inside, unable to come to what she called “an apt decision”. He and Annalise loved her just as well, but how could they tell her about the pain they were experiencing at the thought of her marriage!?
“Grace, let me tell you something,” he began. His daughter at once perked up and nodded her head. “We both love you just as much as you love us – not just because we finally had a child like we wanted, but because you’d been such an adorable and obedient child…very sweet and loveable. You allowed us to treat you like our own. We consider ourselves very lucky.
“Now, after sixteen years of having you here and loving and caring for you, how do you think I can simply tell you to accept Michael’s hand? For that matter, how do you expect your mother to simply give you away!? She’s the one that’s been around you the most – even more than me – despite her work! How do you expect us to give you away to somebody else, whether we like the groom or not!?”
At this sudden outburst, both of them fell silent. Both regretted getting agitated and wished they had not.
Tears began welling up in Laura’s eyes as she realised how painful a toll her marriage must be for parents – especially the girl’s. After all, she would go to her husband’s home, as per tradition, and she would just meet her parents once in a while, just like she had been doing ever since she began college.
Just at that moment, her mother chose to enter the room; upon seeing her cry, Annalise Watson ran up to her and pulled her into a tight embrace.
“What happened, child!? Did Papa say something again?!” Here, she mock-glared at her husband, who only gave her a rueful smile.
Laura shook her head, her chin resting on her mother’s shoulder. “No… it wasn’t him…” And, in between sniffs, she proceeded to explain the conversation.
Annalise then breaking the embrace cupped Laura’s face. “What he says is true, child, but you cannot let go of the love of your life simply because it could hurt someone. Remember, Laura Grace, you’re required to make decisions that will suit your needs, if not others’, if you think they’ll make you happy. After all, responsibilities of making decisions rests upon you, for only you can lead your life – neither can you lead anybody else’s nor can you let anybody else lead yours for you. That’s not how the universe works. The universe is a big, bad place, where mean things happen. It’s your responsibility to make sure you always remain happy.
“Having said that, you can always make the wrong decisions, but that’s all part and parcel of life. You can’t give up because of one lousy decision you’d made once upon a time. Child, if Gale and I had decided not to adopt you the day we met you, imagine where you’d have been! And, although we weren’t really thinking at the time, but later on, when we thought about it, we realised we made the best decision ever!”
Gale approached the two. “Your mother’s right, Grace,” he told his daughter, stroking her hair affectionately. “Imagine what your life these three years would have been like if we decided not to send you to the college so far away from home! As it is we miss you… when you’re married and gone?
“Therefore, by agreeing to marry and go away, you’re not abandoning us – certainly not! In fact, you’re making us happier! Granted you’ll be away…but, sacrifices are always part of life, sweetie. By marrying Micky, you’re only making us – and not to mention yourself – happier than we’d all had ever been before!”
By this time, Laura was crying uncontrollably. Annalise and Gale comforted her, till she was convinced that she was not causing harm to anybody by making up her mind. That evening, when Michael had proposed her to marry him, a wide grin had settled on her face… that is, until she remembered her parents. So, she had told him, rather nervously, that she would say ‘Yes’, but wanted to discuss it with her parents first.
And, to her utter relief, he had told her he understood and that she could take as much as she wanted.
And now, after a long chat with her parents, she was ready with an answer…