Aby had been an aspiring detective since she was eight. It was a dream fueled by the numerous episodes of crime dramas and book series that intrigued her.
As she grew older, she wanted to try to solve mysteries on the graffiti-soaked streets of the city where she lived. But the biggest mystery Aby had never been able to solve was about her father, who had abandoned her and her mother, and whose whereabouts she didn’t know.
The girl knew little about him except that his first name was “Randy.” Her mother, Vera, refused to reveal anything more. But Aby never tired of throwing questions at her.
“How did you two meet? Was he like this when you were dating? What exactly happened and why did he leave us?” she often asked.
The more she wanted to know about her father, the more Vera hid the truth. She still couldn’t get the memory of the day Randy disappeared without a trace out of her mind…
Years ago, Vera and her husband lived the life of their dreams in their little house on the hillside. Randy worked in a shoe factory, while Vera was a wonderful housewife. They had enough income to make their little dreams come true, and one of them was to have a child.
They had been married for five years, and although their small house had an abundance of everything a middle-class couple could ask for, it lacked only one thing: the high-pitched, shrill cries of a baby.
Like many women, Vera was diagnosed with problems conceiving. She had only a sliver of hope left: doctors had told her she still had a miniscule chance of getting pregnant.
Randy and Vera were not discouraged and kept trying. And one day, their prayers were answered.
“Oh my God, I can’t believe this!” said Randy in tears when Vera told him she was expecting a baby. It was like a dream come true.
This was the day they had prayed for constantly. The ultrasound Vera had a few weeks later revealed that a little girl was growing inside her. Randy’s joy dwindled to mild despair, and he was quite upset.
“I thought we were having a boy. But…,” he said with disappointment. Then he smiled.
“Honey, it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl, it’s our baby. It’s a blessing,” Vera told him.
She loved every day of her pregnancy. Her belly swelled, carrying all the happiness she had dreamed of, and soon it was time to give birth to her daughter.
After a grueling delivery, the maternity ward echoed with the loud cries of Vera’s newborn baby girl. “Abby was born!!!” the mother said with a sigh. Her joy eclipsed all the pain she had endured. Vera was very happy that day and thought Randy would feel the same.
A few days later, Vera was discharged and went home with her newborn baby. She was very happy when her little girl kicked and squirmed in her arms. Vera felt her life was complete. But one night, two weeks later, she felt a tingling in her fingers.
“What’s happening to me?” she wondered in fright. Then she saw Aby crying in her crib. It was time to feed the baby. Vera gently got out of bed, feeling unusually heavy, as if someone was pulling her from behind.
She managed to get up, but she couldn’t move anymore. She couldn’t walk or feel her legs. Vera shrieked, startling Randy, who was sound asleep next to her.
She was rushed to the hospital and 72 hours later, doctors revealed that she was paralyzed. Randy shuddered, thinking of the responsibilities ahead of him.
He had to care for his newborn and at the same time take care of his wife, who would use a wheelchair all her life. The thought frightened him.
A few weeks later, Vera returned home. She was devastated because she had initially thought she would be fine. But every doctor she had visited had revealed the same thing. It was difficult for Vera, but she decided to accept the truth and move on.
A few more months passed, and one morning, Vera found a note on the bed on the side where Randy slept. He wasn’t there. She noticed that his part of the closet was empty. All his clothes, his belongings, and even his shoes were gone.
She called him, but his number was out of service. Vera’s heart began to race with fear as she picked up the note and read it:
“I tried, but I can’t do it anymore. I’m tired. I don’t want to keep pushing your wheelchair all my life. Even I have dreams. I wanted a beautiful wife and a son. I thought I would have both, but I can’t take care of you and my daughter. I am sorry. Please take care of the baby. Goodbye.”
It took Vera a long time to process the painful blow that Randy had abandoned her and her baby because of her disability. He was gone in the blink of an eye, leaving her with a huge responsibility on her shoulders. She was devastated, but her baby’s loud cries reminded her to keep moving.
The road ahead seemed tumultuous and challenging, but she decided to press on for her daughter. She remembered a skill her late grandmother had taught her and knew that this was how she would raise her little girl.
Vera transformed the empty garage outside her house into a tailor shop and began sewing clothes for people in the neighborhood.
The early days were very hard for her. Most of her neighbors preferred the fancy, name-brand boutique clothes to the ones she made. But sewing was her main skill.
Since she had not completed her university studies, she could not easily find a better paying job. Besides, she wanted a job that would allow her to take care of her daughter all the time.
It was a difficult experience for Vera as the days went by. She could barely make ends meet with the little she earned, but her confidence level increased with each passing day. Several years passed and the mother had been able to support her daughter quite well.
Aby, then 15, had forgotten her passion for becoming a detective. Watching her mother struggle in this way tormented her. She wanted to help her take care of everything and, at her insistence, Vera taught her to sew.
Every day after school, the teenager spent long hours practicing sewing with scraps of fabric on an old treadle sewing machine.
Soon, the girl’s diligence helped her become one of the youngest outstanding seamstresses in the city. She introduced new designs and patterns that people loved, especially women and teenagers.
Vera and Aby began to earn more money and became increasingly close to each other. They were still middle class, but earned enough to celebrate special occasions and holidays together.
Although all was well, Vera’s years of hard work began to take their toll. She developed health problems and could no longer work the sewing machine as she used to.
She feared she would have to close her business, but Aby, then 17, talked her out of it.
“Mom, we can do this together. I will help you. You don’t have to worry about anything,” the young girl said to encourage her mother to keep the business going.
This was all Vera needed to hear when she was at her weakest. She trusted her daughter and so she decided to hand over the tailoring shop to her.
Aby was on summer vacation and devoted more time to her work. She spent days and nights trying out the new designs she had been working on. She changed the entire configuration of her tailor shop, transforming it into an attractive boutique.
Mannequins dressed in the young designer’s clothes enticed people to look at the store’s latest trends. Aby’s unwavering devotion to her business paid off, and she gradually began to earn more money. She was even paying for her mother’s treatment.
Vera eventually recovered and joined forces with her daughter to keep her business stable. Aby’s dedication to furthering what her mother had started paid off years later when she opened a boutique on the town square.
She was very happy and wished that her father, whom she had never heard from, would be there to celebrate her success.
On the opening day, local media came to the boutique to interview Vera and her daughter for their article about their hardships and their road to success.
Afterwards, Vera delivered a short speech, revealing why her husband had left her. At that moment Aby’s heart broke: the truth had finally been revealed.
“My daughter always asked me who her father was. I used to tell her half of it. But today, I think she is old enough to know the whole truth about him,” Vera began by telling the local press.
“My husband left me with my newborn because he thought I would be a burden to him being in a wheelchair. But I want to tell you one thing…. Randy, if you get to see this, look, this is my daughter.”
“I raised her on my own and gave her love from a father and a mother. She didn’t need her mother to have legs to raise her. She just needed love, and I will love her until my last breath. I am who I am today because of her.”
“My daughter inspired me to never give up – she never left me at my weakest moment!”.
Everyone’s heart melted at the young girl’s love for her mother. They were moved to tears. Then Vera and Aby walked into their new boutique as confetti rained down. Eventually, they launched two more branches, and their garments became the most sought-after in town.
Several years passed and Aby, then 23, stopped thinking about her father. She couldn’t find a soft spot in her heart to forgive him for abandoning her family. Then, one day, someone knocked on her door.
“Yes?” she replied. She looked into his eyes, unaware that it was Randy, the man who had abandoned her and her mother.
Besides his beard and wrinkles, she noticed that Randy looked terrible, weather-worn.
“Who is it, honey?” asked Vera as she wheeled her wheelchair into the living room. She was startled when she saw the man who had abandoned her in the doorway.
“Honey, how are you?” asked Randy after an awkward silence.
Aby couldn’t believe her eyes. She had never seen her father so close before. She had only seen him in her mother’s old wedding pictures. She had never called him “dad” in her entire life and couldn’t force herself to call him that.
“Why are you here?” asked Aby.
Randy looked uneasy as he waited for his wife and daughter to let him in.
“Stay right there,” Aby shouted as he stepped forward.
“Honey, I’m your daddy… I came here to see you,” the man said. “I’m sorry for what I did. Even though I wasn’t present, I’ve always loved you.”
“I know you’re my dad, the one who abandoned my mom and me. You abandoned us when we needed you the most…when mom needed you the most. AND YOU NEVER LOVED US. Why are you here now?”
Randy didn’t have the courage to answer her. How could he? How could he tell his daughter that he wanted to return to the family he had abandoned after learning of her success?
Vera and Aby’s success story had spread far and wide, even out of town, and Randy had heard all about it. He went to see them with the assumption of a possible reconciliation.
He wanted to get back together with his wife and daughter. He wanted them to be that happy family again.
“But you destroyed everything, didn’t you?” said Aby, breaking Randy’s silence.
“You left Mom because you thought she’d be a burden. You were afraid you’d have to keep pushing her around your whole life, weren’t you?”
“But let me tell you something. My mom pulled herself up by her bootstraps and pulled us through. She’s behind my success. We are where we are today because of her. We have each other. We don’t want anyone else between us.”
“Honey, please… I’m your daddy,” he pleaded with Aby and Vera as she turned and headed for her room. “Honey, I’m your father. Please forgive me. We all make mistakes.”
But the young girl didn’t give in to Randy’s pleas.
“Abandoning your loved ones isn’t a mistake…it’s a sin. You didn’t need us when our life was miserable. You left us when we needed you-we don’t need you now!”
Aby slammed the door in her father’s face as he wept, regretting that one reckless mistake he had made years before.