Showing You Love

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Forgiveness In Love (Part 2)

The food looked delicious. And I might have even enjoyed it if I wanted to eat.

Alas, I didn’t.

I kept twirling my spoon, feeling no urge to taste it. Around me, everyone else ate with surprising enthusiasm, like this was just a normal family dinner.

“Ivy, how is the dinner?” asked Amelia, sounding hopeful.

I shrugged, not saying anything.

I saw no reason to act like I was fine with everything right now. I wasn’t fine at all. I hated this thick tension-filled air and the fact that I had to endure it. And I saw no reason to hide my displeasure.

Amelia frowned. “But you loved this dish when you were young.”

That did it.

She was acting as if she knew me. Like she had an idea of how I grew up and what kind of person I was. All the while, pretending like the past never happened. Like everything was fine.

She was acting like her leaving didn’t affect anything. Like it didn’t change my whole world. And, I hated it.

I hated that she had the nerve.

“Stop acting as if you know me. You don’t know me. So, quit acting like you do” I shrieked, throwing down my spoon.

Amelia gasped, hurt flashing across her face. This caused her oh-so-lovely wife to react.

She placed her spoon down and looked at me. Her anxious eyes turned almost as cold as mine as they glared at me. “That’s it, Ivy. This is our home and I will not allow you to talk to Amelia that way in here. She has been nothing but patient and kind while you keep insulting her with every word you say.”

I laughed harshly. “Kind, huh?” I tilted my head, “You really need to learn the meaning of that word. Leaving a child mother-less at the tender age of seven is kind, you say?”

She leaned forward. “Nineteen years have passed since then, Ivy. It’s in the past.”

I clicked my tongue. “That’s exactly my point. It had been nineteen years and she finally thought of contacting me.”

Her glare hardened and mine grew colder. “She tried to contact you before. She has been calling you nonstop since last year only to get insulted or hung-up on every time.”

I smirked bitterly. “You are just making her sound more pitiful, you know? So, what? She realized that she should talk to me after 18 years of dwelling. Is she that slow?”

“One more word against her and I will-”

“You will what?”I challenged, my eyebrows raised.

“Calm down, Kate. Please” begged Amelia and Katelyn’s eyes snapped towards her. They softened instantly.

“But Lia-”

“I want to talk to my daughter alone. I don’t want you fighting my battles” she stated, straight to the point. I felt my jaw clench at the use of the word ‘daughter.’

She lost the right to call me that a long time ago.

The blond-haired woman sighed but nodded. She looked at Pierce and motioned towards a door on the far right corner.

Pierce got up. Before leaving, he gave my hand a light squeeze. “Tell her what your heart tells you to say, not what your temper compels you to” he murmured low enough for only me to hear.

I nodded in acknowledgment.

He then left, following Katelyn to another room. At the sound of the door shutting close, my gaze went back to the woman staring at me.

She didn’t look nervous or anxious anymore. Sadness and wistfulness took its place and there was no smile lightening her face. And somehow, that felt more calming to me.

“What do want to talk about?” I asked, feigning indifference.

She bit her lips and looked away. The silence was back and I had no plans of changing it. Instead, I just kept staring at her.

Her hair was shorter and she was plumper than I remembered. There were laugh lines around her eyes and her black hair had streaks of white running through it.

A lot has changed. She did too.

“When I first realized my feelings for Kate, you were only five years old, Ivy. But, it took me another year to learn that the feeling was being reciprocated. But, at that time my resolve was strong and I was sure that I couldn’t leave you.”

I scoffed. “You do have a strong resolve. Lasted for another whole year. Damn, you deserve an award” I gushed, my face molding into a scowl.

She let out a breath. “Please let me finish,” she looked at me, “I was sure I would get over those feelings. I had no other choice. But, your heart doesn’t work the way you want it to, Ivy. I think you understand that now.”

Her eyes turned to the door Pierce and Katelyn disappeared into. For some reason, I had a feeling she was referring to Pierce but I didn’t comment that she was wrong.

“It was hurting me too much and it was also hurting your dad. Our relationship was faltering and it didn’t help that I was getting closer to Kate, more than just as a friend. After a while, I realized that somethings won’t stay, no matter how strong you hold on to it. I realized that if I stayed I would destroy myself and take down your dad, too. So, I decided that it was better to leave.”

She made it sound so simple. Like destroying my childhood was as simple as dropping candy and it shattering to pieces.

“And what about me? Did you think about me? About what it would do to me?” I muttered, finally asking the question I yearned an answer to for so long.

Her hand moved forward to touch mine but I moved away.

“I did Ivy. You might think I don’t care but I do. I wanted to bring you with me. I would have but the world still isn’t fully accepting of a relationship like mine and Kate’s. I didn’t want you to be a victim of the backlash our relationship would have brought.”

I smiled. “You didn’t want me to get laughed at? Then, what about the times when the children laughed at me because I made a mother’s day card even though I had no one to give it to?”

Her hand reached out again and this time I didn’t move away. “You had your father, Ivy. He loves you more than anything.”

This time I laughed out, my pain vibrating through each wave. “More than anything? He was never there. He was always at work. He thought affection was clothes or toys. He offered me everything except a simple movie night or a walk to the ice cream parlor. He gave me everything other than the affection of a father.”

I closed my eyes, trying to not let the emotions take control. “And you know what? I still tried to not let it hurt me because I thought it was his way of showing love. And he proved me wrong. A few years later, whatever little time he had for me, he started spending it with another woman and her daughter. He took her to the park every Friday. He even walked her to school, something he never did with me.”

I closed my eyes, trying to block out the memories that were still so vivid in my mind.

“And I still didn’t let it push me away from whatever little family I had. But, when I asked him to choose, you know what he did? He chose them before me. He did not hesitate. No, he didn’t even flinch when I walked out of my childhood home. He didn’t ask me to stop even once. And you’re telling me he loves me more than anything?” I sounded broken.

I looked at her, tears streaming down my cheeks, only to see that she was crying too.

But, that wasn’t it. I still had questions. I still needed answers.

“You never called. Never visited. You didn’t even wish me a ‘Happy Birthday’ or a ‘Merry Christmas’. How can you even say that you cared?” I whimpered, searching for an honest answer.

She gave a small nod, wiped her cheek and stood up without a word. I stared at her retreating back as she walked into another room.

I wiped my tears, taking in a shaky breath. I didn’t want to tear myself open like this but I couldn’t help it. I needed answers and I needed this endless abyss of questions to end. I didn’t want to hurt because of this anymore.

And maybe, I won’t.

Then, she reappeared with a box in her hand. She sat down beside me and opened the box, handing it to me. I took it from her and looked inside. There were a bunch of cards inside.

Slowly, I took them out. There were greeting cards on almost every occasion. Some handmade and some store-bought. There were scrapbooks and letters too.

“I couldn’t meet you because I knew that if I did, I would have to bring you back with me. So, I made cards and wrote letters on every occasion, penning down every word I wanted to say to you, wishing that this time I would be strong enough to send it. But, I never could. I have no other reason except that I was too weak.”

I picked up the cards and put them back in the box. I looked up at her. She looked as vulnerable as I felt.

“I am sorry, Ivy. I really am” she sobbed and something broke inside me.

I pushed out of my chair and fell into her arms. She held me tight and we both broke into sobs.

We cried for a long time. We cried tears that had been gathering inside us for nineteen years. We cried out all the pain we’ve been through.

When our sobs finally died down, we wiped away each other’s tears.

“You don’t know how many times I’ve cried, wishing I could tell all this to you, Ivy. And it feels so good to be finally able to do so. And now, there is nothing I wish for more than your forgiveness” she said, her hands on mine.

I tried to smile but my lips didn’t move upward. “I forgive you, Amelia. And I understand you now. But, that doesn’t mean I can forget everything and act like I still identify you as my mother. We barely know each other. I cannot see you as one”

She nodded, a sad smile on her face. “I understand. But, we will get there one day. We can get to know each other. We can build back our relationship.”

She sounded hopeful but I wanted to be honest. So, I shook my head.

“Some things are irreversible. You can’t fix some things no matter how much you want to. I don’t think we can ever build back our relationship.”

Her eyes dimmed but she nodded. “I-I understand.”

I gripped her hand. She looked at me curiously.

I smiled a tight smile. “But, we can build something new. Maybe not something like what we could have had. But, something different.”

She smiled. “Of course. Anything is better than nothing. I just want my daughter back in my life.”

I felt uncomfortable at that word but I didn’t flinch this time.

I knew it would take time. I knew that sometimes, I would feel as bitter as before. And I knew it wouldn’t be easy.

But, I still said, “I want you back in my life, too.”

And, I truly did.

Maybe not as a mother. Maybe not in the way the twelve-year-old me would have wanted too.

But, I did want her to be a part of my life.

And Pierce was right.

Sometimes, holding on is harder than letting go. And sometimes letting go makes you happier than holding on.

For the first time in years, I smiled at the woman who gave birth to me. And the smile was genuine. The smile came from my heart.

My heart felt lighter. I felt lighter.

Like I had finally found one piece of the puzzle that was my happiness.

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