Jessica sighed as she ran her fingers over her father’s initials on the yellowed sheets of paper in the drawer. “Daniel P.,” she read. Jessica had never seen Daniel as an adult. But her father’s letters made him sound like a close friend who adored her more than anyone else.
Every time she read those letters, a spark of hope ignited in her heart that she would find him. But she had lost hope deep down. After all, she had spent years looking for him and had made no progress.
Then, on her birthday, she received a message from a stranger wishing her all the happiness in the world. Tears welled up in Jessica’s eyes when she read the name at the bottom of the message. “Your father… Daniel,” it said.
Jessica was a little girl who loved pink dresses and pigtails when she was taken in by her adoptive parents. Lisa and Aaron gave her a loving home and never hid the truth about her adoption.
As a toddler, Jessica met her father once when he visited her. She had climbed on his shoulders and played with him, and that was one of the happiest days of her childhood. But after that, Jessica never saw him again.
As an adult, she didn’t remember his face, but she never forgot how happy she had been to know him. Then, one day, Lisa and Aaron showed her the letters he had written and Jessica cried as she read them.
“What happened to my mom, why doesn’t he ever write me about her?” asked Jessica to Lisa and Aaron, after reading the letters.
Lisa pursed her lips. “She passed away, honey,” she explained. “In one of his letters, I remember him mentioning that your mother was no longer living. He had written that he couldn’t afford to raise you and had placed you in a shelter.”
“He came to see us, though,” Jessica sighed. “He didn’t abandon me… It wasn’t his fault…”.
“No, it wasn’t,” agreed Aaron. “But he visited us only once when you were ten, and then he never showed up. We hoped he’d come back someday, but he didn’t….. And then the letters didn’t come anymore.”
That was the day Jessica decided to track Daniel down. She went to the address on the envelope, but the house was deserted and the last tenant had moved out years ago. Jessica was lost and had no idea where to find him because the agency where she was adopted had also long since closed.
Every night thereafter, Jessica sat with the letters and read them, hoping to find something that would help her in her search for Daniel. She was sitting with those letters again the night before her birthday, wondering if she would ever see him.
As the clock struck 12 and Jessica officially turned 23, a message appeared on her phone screen. She would have ignored the notification, but a stranger, a private number, wishing her happy birthday, made her curious and she opened the message to read it.
Tears rolled down Jessica’s cheeks when she realized that the sender was Daniel….
“Hi, sweetie… It’s daddy. Happy Birthday. I know we haven’t seen each other for years, but I couldn’t help but write to you today. Thank you for leaving your details on the Facebook post where you posted my letters…. Jessica, I have always been close to you. I knew better than to interfere in your life, so I stood back and watched you. I know we should have shared more, but I didn’t have the guts to face you. You can despise me for that… But, sweetheart, I will always love you. Happy birthday!
Your father… Daniel.”
Jessica texted Daniel, laughing through her tears, thanking him for his wishes and saying she wanted to meet him. She hoped they would go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant and make up for lost time together. So she asked him if they could meet at his favorite restaurant.
A shock ran through Jessica when Daniel responded and said he had been close to her all this time at the grocery store where she worked.
“Did you go to the grocery store?” replied Jessica. “What do you mean, did you follow me there every day?”.
“How about I’ll meet you there, honey,” Daniel replied. “Call me when you get there. I’ll be there when your shift starts. I’m always on time.”
“Okay, Dad, I’ll see you there. Please go there like you promised. If you leave me again, I will never speak to you again! Promise me,” she wrote, to which Daniel replied:
“I promise, honey. I am so excited to meet you after all these years…. I love you too.”
So, the next morning, Jessica arrived at the grocery store on time, expecting a handsome man in his 50s to approach her and introduce himself as her father. She couldn’t believe her eyes when the porter she saw every morning carrying the merchandise to the shelves approached her.
“Jessica? Hi, honey…,” he said as he took off his work gloves and hugged her.
“Sorry, the delivery truck came early today and I was busy, how have you been these past few years?”.
“Dad?” asked Jessica, surprised. “You…you work here?”.
“Yes, I do,” he replied. “Yes… This was the closest I could get to my daughter, so I quit my job and moved here. Believe me, seeing you every day is what keeps me going.”
Jessica’s eyes filled with tears.
“You could have told me the truth sooner, Dad. Do you have any idea how much I missed you, and I looked for you and…”.
Jessica burst into tears and shed her tears on Daniel’s shoulders.
“Hey, honey, I missed you too,” he said. “I’m sorry, but I saw how happy you were in your new home and I didn’t want to take that away from you. You had so much going on in your life….. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to be a source of stress in your life. So I kept my distance and watched. I knew that the foster family would provide you with more than I could give you. But it is true that I always loved you, my child.”
“I love you, Dad,” Jessica sobbed and Daniel smiled.
“Your eyes,” he said. “You have the same eyes as your mother, honey. I must say you’re prettier than her! She would be so happy to see how beautiful you are.”
Weeks after this, Jessica took Daniel home to her adoptive parents and they became a family living in separate homes. Daniel and Jessica continued to work together at the supermarket and are thrilled to be reunited after all these years.