Catching a glimpse of her reflection in the mirrored panel, she wondered if he’d be disappointed. She was still not sure she could go through with this. Taking a deep breath, she willed her hand toward the button marked “12” and pushed.
The elevator began its slow climb upward. She watched the red numbers light up, each a passing opportunity to turn back. A bell sounded the arrival of the twelfth floor. She steeled herself for what was ahead.
The elevator opened onto the vacant hallway. Bits of unseen lives whispered to her from beneath closed doors as she made her way down the worn, stained carpeting to his room. Pulling the crumpled scrap of paper with his room number on it from her pocket, she looked at it one more time. From inside, came the low drone of a television. She knocked…
He looked older than she’d expected, frail, and in need of a shave. “Yes?” he said.
She stood there frozen for a moment, all traces of the speech she’d so carefully practiced gone.
“Do you want something?” he asked.
And then she was six years old again, watching him stand in the middle of the street looking after them, his image getting smaller and smaller as her mother drove her away to a new life where he would never be allowed.
Hot tears spilled down over her cheeks. “Hi, Daddy... ”