A woman decides to find her biological father, but all she has is a vague memory of him and some old letters. What will happen when she finds out he’s been near her all these years, at the same grocery store where she works?
Jemma sighed as she ran her fingers over her father’s initials on the yellowing sheets of paper from her drawer. “Darren P.” read it
Jemma had never met Darren as an adult, but her father’s letters made him sound like a close friend who adored her more than anything.
Each time Jemma read those letters, a glimmer of hope lit in her heart that she would find him. But deep down, she had given up hope. After all, it had been years since she had looked for him and there had been no progress.
Then, on her birthday, she received a text from a stranger wishing her all the luck in the world. Tears welled up in Jemma’s eyes as she read the name at the end of the message. “Your father… Darren,” it said…
Jemma was a little girl who loved pink dresses and pigtails when she was adopted by her foster parents. Lisa and Aaron gave her a loving home and never hid the truth about their adoption.
As a young child, Jemma had met her father once when he was visiting. She had rolled onto his shoulders and played with him, and that was one of the happiest days of her childhood. But after that day, Jemma never saw him again.
Sunshine follows rain.
As an adult, she didn’t remember his face, but she never forgot how lucky she was to meet him. Then one day Lisa and Aaron showed her the letters he wrote them and Jemma cried as she read them.
“What about my mother? Why didn’t he write anything about her?” Jemma asked Lisa and Aaron when she finished reading the letters.
Lisa pressed her lips together. “She died honey,” she explained, “some of his letters were misplaced and I remember him mentioning that your mother wasn’t alive anymore. He had written that he couldn’t afford to raise you and put you in a children’s home.”
“Even so, he came to see us,” Jemma sighed, “he didn’t leave me… It wasn’t his fault…”
“No, it wasn’t,” Aaron agreed, “but he only came to see us once, when you were 10, and then he never showed up. We expected him to come back one day, but he didn’t… And then the letters stopped.”
That was the day Jemma decided to track down Darren. She went to the address on the envelope, but the house was deserted and the last tenant had moved out years ago. Jemma was lost and had no idea where to find him because the agency where she was adopted closed long ago.
From then on, every night Jemma would sit and guard the letters, hoping to discover something that would help her in Darren’s quest. The night before her birthday she sat with those letters again and wondered if she would ever see him.
When the clock struck 12 and Jemma officially turned 23, a message appeared on her phone screen. She would have ignored the notification, but a stranger, a home number, wishing her a happy birthday struck her as odd, and she opened the message to read it.
Tears ran down Jemma’s cheeks when she realized the sender was Darren…
“Hey darling… It’s dad. Happy birthday. I know we haven’t met in years but I couldn’t help but wish you something today. Thanks for leaving your details on the Facebook post where you posted my letters… Jemma I was always close to you I knew I shouldn’t have interfered in your life so I stood back and watched you I know we should have met but I did didn’t have the guts to confront you… you can despise me for it… but honey i will always love you happy birthday!
Your father… Darren.”
“Dad!” Jemma sobbed. “Why do you think I despise you? I can’t believe you’re so stupid! I found you… No, you found me!”
Jemma texted Darren back, laughing through tears, thanking him for his wishes and saying she wanted to meet him. She hoped they would go out to a fancy restaurant and make up for the lost time together. So Jemma asked him if they could meet at her favorite restaurant.
A shock went through Jemma when Darren replied, saying he had been near her the whole time at the grocery store where she worked.
“You know about the grocery store?” Jemma texted back. “How? Did you follow me there every day?”
“How about we meet there, darling?” Darren replied. “Call me when you arrive. I’ll be there when your shift starts. I’m always on time.”
“Okay dad see you there. Please be there as promised. If you leave me again I will never speak to you again! Promise me,” she wrote, to which Darren replied, “I promise honey. I so excited to meet you after all these years… love you too.”
So the next morning, Jemma arrived at the grocery store on time, expecting a handsome man in his late 50s to come up and introduce himself as her father. She couldn’t believe her eyes when the shipper, whom she saw loading the shelves every morning, approached her.
“Jemma? Hi honey…” he said as he removed his work gloves and hugged her, “sorry the van arrived this morning and I’ve been busy. How are you these years?”
“Dad?” Jemma asked shocked. “You… you work here?”
“Yeah right,” he replied, “I do that… It was the closest thing my daughter could get, so I quit my job and moved here. Believe me, seeing you every day is what drives me.”
Jemma’s eyes filled with tears. “You could have told me the truth earlier, dad… Do you have any idea how much I’ve missed you? And I’ve been looking for you and…” Jemma burst into tears and cried into Darren’s shoulders.
“Hey honey, I missed you too,” he said, “I’m sorry Jemma, but I saw how happy you are in your new home and I didn’t want to take that from you, okay? I don’t want any.” Be a source of stress in your life. So I just sat back and watched. I knew foster care would offer you more than I could. But it’s true, I’ve always loved you, my little girl.”
“I love you dad,” Jemma sniffed and Darren smiled. “Your eyes,” he said, “you get them from your mother, darling. I have to say, you’re prettier than her! She would be so happy to see how beautiful her daughter is…”
Weeks later, Jemma took Darren home to her adoptive parents, and they’ve become like a family living in separate houses. Darren and Jemma still worked together in the grocery store and were happy to be reunited after all these years.
What can we learn from this story?
Sunshine follows rain. Jemma wasn’t optimistic about finding Darren, but one day things changed and she discovered that Darren had been in her immediate vicinity all these years.
What should be will find its way. Darren and Jemma were destined to meet and it happened despite all the hurdles that came their way.
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