From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

My Dad’s Story

My father and I were sitting next to the fire, drinking hot cocoa on a late night in December. I said, “Dad, tell me a story.”

Even though I’m forty years old with a family of my own, I become a six-year-old asking his dad for a bedtime story when we are alone. He says, “Well, let me think a moment.” My dad had the look of someone trying to recall the past, with his index finger pointing to his chin.

Finally, he started. “A long time ago, when I was in high school, there was a girl named Jennifer in my graduating class. She was one of three Asians in the entire school. She was tall, lean and had a smile that had a lasting impression. You know the feeling at the exact moment when your heart skips a beat?”

At that moment, I thought of when I met my wife for the first time. She smiled and my heart melted to the floor. And I knew that was the smile I wanted to see for the rest of my life when I asked her to marry me. So I gave my father a small nod with a smile.

He continued, “I had four classes with her my senior year. I fell in love with her smile but also with all of her being. The scent of her perfume, the way her hair moved when the wind blew and her heart of kindness. One day, Jennifer confessed her love for me in a letter. I was in shock and happy all at once. Unfortunately, my happiness did not last long. My friends got ahold of the letter. They said we could never be, for we were complete opposites. I felt that they had my best interest at heart so I covered my feelings for her. I got my schedule changed, and I made a new route to all of my classes. I didn’t give her an explanation, but I disappeared from her life.

“From graduation to my junior year in college, I thought of Jennifer—the scent of her perfume and the way her hair moved in the wind. I bumped into some of her friends at a local café. I think their names were Emily and Stephanie. Anyway, they told me how I had broken Jennifer’s heart without an explanation. She decided to go to college in Washington because of me. That’s when I realized how much of a jerk I was. I thought of my friends and how I hadn’t seen them since graduation. I knew what I had to do.”

My mom was leaning on the doorway when my dad finished the story. The beautiful Asian girl my dad had fallen in love with had changed with time, but she came into the living room, kissed my dad on the cheek and smiled her beautiful smile.

Chin Pak

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