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Pen Your Pride

Bill Langford thought of nothing more rewarding than to watch his 12 year old daughter Selena play soccer on Saturdays. Swift footed and having a talent for deception was enough for Selena Langford to take on the opposition. Camera at the ready, Bill was always keen to capture the play, allowing Selena to go over the match afterwards. Of course, plenty of other parents with high aspirations spent similar energies to encourage hard work from their progeny, allowing dreams of success to flood the eyes of the young. Parents mostly thought of money, while children often desired fame the most.

"Kick it Selena, now!" Bill knew his vocalizing would come out extraordinarily loud on the video replay at home. A swift sidestep movement saw Selena get past the goalie as a sliding left boot projected the soccer ball headlong into the net of victory. Go home ball, go home. "Yeheheessss!" Bill was yet aware that his jumping on the spot was another filming error, but it didn't matter. The whistle was blown and Selena came running off the field to give her father a big hug.

"Hey, well done Selena, way to bend it."

Selena pulled in a second hug. "I wish mom could've been here to see this." Selena's bright blue eyes looked searchingly into her father's for reassurance.

"I know Sel, I miss her too." Bill managed to hold back any tears, feelings welling within him as he clearly remembered his wife Marie. After realising the awkward pause, Bill thought it best if he changed the subject. "Hey, what do you say we get your favorite treat?" Selena pumped two fists next to her shoulders and cried out, "Yesss!" Selena loved ice cream. They both opened the doors on Bill's company car, a shiny black hummer. Admittedly it wasn't the standard type of vehicle for the neighborhood, but Bill's profession gave extra allowance for vehicles. Closing the door as she sat in the front seat, Selena looked way too small proportionally to the car.

Selena looked out the window as rain started to fall upon it. She thought of her mother's face, seeing it as clear as the day she left them at the airport. It was three years ago and Selena missed how her mother made her feel secure and warm, protected against danger. There was a funeral of course, but it wasn't closure. Not being able to see her mother left Selena with feelings of emptiness and many unanswered questions. Selena was the type of girl who needed to see things, hold things to have evidence of their happening.

"Dad, what happened to Mom when she went in the water?"

Bill felt his heart tighten at the question. "Sel, we've talked about this many times, you know I don't have all the answers." Marie's passing, and the fact that they'd never found the body, left both Bill and Selena with repeating questions.

"Does anyone have the answers?" Selena turned sideways on the cream leather seat of the hummer to face her father as he drove along.

"I guess someone does Selena, surely someone does."

"Dad, do you think someone is looking after her?"

"Your Mother's at peace Selena, that's all we need to really know." Bill pulled the car into a parking space sufficient enough for the width of the Hummer, which was not always an easy task. Facing his daughter, Bill looked into those vibrant blue eyes, "now how about that ice cream?"

Selena smiled, and exited the Hummer, but a lot was going on in both her mind, and her body. Things a father rarely had an adequate understanding of to bring the answers or comfort that daughters needed. Selena saw a familiar face as she waved.

"Hi Silvia," shouted Selena as she dramatically ran over to her close friend. Close in most ways except for recreation. Selena loved soccer, music and movies. Silvia preferred books, nature and theater. 'Whatev!' would have been their standard reply. They were best friends, and none of their individual differences would separate that. As their daughters bear hugged, Bill Langford and Bryant Mathews shook hands, exchanging greetings.

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