Rachel trails her feet over the surface of the lake. She had been sitting out on the dock for almost two hours. She had run out of the house saying that she needed to “clear her mind” after her mom had revealed that she was engaged. Her father had been dead for a year and her mother had already gotten engaged to another man. It was like her mom thought that she could just fill the hole that her father had left. She felt betrayed and alone, and sitting on the end of the dock where her and her father used to sit, she felt a surge of anger. Towards her mom, and that drunk driver that had killed her dad. Towards Ralph her dads “replacement”, and the world that that always seemed like it was fighting against her happiness, and finally towards herself for believing that maybe, just maybe she could let go of her dad and accept Ralph. It felt wrong thinking like that, almost like she was betraying her father by choosing someone else. But deep down she knew that her dad just wanted her to be happy. He always said that he would give her the world if it would bring her joy. He called her his little songbird because she used to sing everywhere she went. She hadn’t sang in months. She thought about her mom, and how much of a mess she’d been for the past year, until Ralph came along. He was the only one that had made her smile in eight months. Rachel knew that her mother needed him, and maybe she needed him too.
With a loud exhale the anger was gone, replaced with sorrow and a sort of hollowness that she couldn’t seem to shake. It clung to her like a gray cloud everywhere she went. Trailing her around town, the strangers eyeing her with a gaze of pity and curiosity. Ralph was an odd sort of light that helped guide her. For as long as she could remember he had owned the Village Store, and she had been buying dripping cones of ice cream from him every summer since she was four years old. After her father passed Ralph dropped off ice cream and brownies and such at the house every day so he could check in with them. Pretty soon Ralph and Rachel’s mom got pretty close and Rachel saw her mother laugh for the first time in a long time. And before she knew it, her mom and Ralph were going out to dinner every night. Her mother got some of her spark back, after it had been snuffed out by her father’s death.
Rachel wiped the tears off her face and stood up. She stared out at the sunset awhile with a sad little smile. She breathed in deep and decided that she would be happy for her mom, and maybe along the way find happiness for herself as well. Rachel turned to head back to the house. Before she did however, she could’ve sworn she saw a little songbird flapping about over the lake, headed towards the setting sun.