(C)Copyright 1996 by Ronald Rand

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He saw nothing of her car.

For a moment, his tension lifted; then it crashed back down upon him as he thought of the next obstacle on her route.

Train tracks crossed Sax road, and there were no flashing lights, road blocks, or any visual warnings of an approaching train. There was only a bell and the train's whistle. Supposing she were listening to her radio and didn't hear the bell?

Richard was not one to cry. He hadn't cried since his dog Harley passed on when Richard was just reaching puberty. There were times when everything seemed to come down around Richard all at once. He would sometimes try to make himself cry to relieve the tension, but he never could. But now, tears began to flow freely down his cheeks. He could taste the saltwater memories on his lips.

"Samantha!" he screamed out.

A patch of ice melted down his windshield, and a cold oncoming wind blew it off to the east. He wiped his eyes with his sleeves and punched the accelerator as he sped down Parkway.

A cool breeze ran across her sweaty cheeks and through her hair. Her eyes peered into his, her lips pursed, and she struggled not to cry anymore.

"My throat hurts," she said. "I hate crying."

Her painted eyes revealed so much about herself. Richard always knew if she were happy or sad by looking into them. If she were happy, they were a bright and cheery shade of green. When she got sad, they were a glossy, solemn, and deep green. Whenever she cried, they would turn aqua, as they were at this moment.

Richard wrapped his arms around her and kissed her full, wet lips.

"Everything will be okay, sweetie," he said. "I promise, I'll take care of everything."

"But he was my dad," she cried. "There are so many things I wanted to tell him, so many things we should have done."

She wiped her eyes with a ball of tissue from a roll of toilet paper.

"He never did anything with me," she said. "I always wanted him there and he never was. I can still remember lying in my crib as a baby, crying. I always cried for my Daddy, but he never came for me. I could hear him in the next room, but he just wouldn't come. I called him over and over, but he was never there, and I always had nightmares about being alone."

"Honey," Richard said, trying to comfort her.

"You loved your dad, and there are lots of things you could have told him, but he knew you loved him, and there'll be plenty of time for talking later when you meet him again in heaven."

She tucked her head into Richard's accepting chest, and cried. He lightly rubbed her back.

"I know your dad wasn't always there for you," Richard said. "I'm sure he wishes he was now. I asked you to marry me, and with that came the responsibility of taking care of you. And I promise, hon, I'll make sure from now on, you'll have everything you ever could want or need."

He kissed her neck and she continued sobbing in his embrace.

"Promises, promises," he thought! "Oh Gawd, please don't let her die like her father. Not by a train, not by anything!" he cried. "I have got to see her again. I have to give her one last kiss goodbye. She never got to say goodbye to her father, it was so horrible. Don't let that happen with Samantha and I, please!"

There was no broken glass around the train tracks. No firemen were cleaning up the aftermath of an accident. Policemen weren't writing down their reports. Her Corvette was nowhere to be found. He continued driving down Parkway.

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