He was planning on bringing home ice cream, but he wasn’t sure that any of them could stand the stuff. He was driving through the downtown, he saw something better. He stopped and he purchased it.
When he got home he sat down in the living room with his wife and their two children. “I have always tried to be a good dad to you, and I’m so sorry my last present turned out to be so awful. I was thinking, if there is any way I could make it up to you guys. But I can’t. But maybe I can make you feel a little safer.”
Carefully he let the girls tear open the little cardboard box. Out stepped a ferocious looking little black puppy. “Here’s Tank, he’s our new guard dog. He will help keep us safe.”
Coralina squealed with excitement, and immediately start tackling the puppy, wrestling it, petting it. Kelly rolled her eyes. But before she could say anything, Beth finally spoke.
“The witch was bad. You, you are a good dad. Anything else is a lie.” Said the little girl standing up with her fists clenched. Her lips started to tremble as she said, “and I am a good girl, even though I killed her.” Tears started to trickle down her cheeks.
Kelly looked nervously at Mark, tears welling up in her own eyes. They had come out alive, but damaged. “You are a good girl.”
Mark picked up his little, nearly mute child and held her tightly. He realized, they had more in common than he had ever recognized before. She was just as terrified that he would not love her, just as much as he was terrified to be a bad dad. In the realization, that Beth could never do anything to make him love her less, he realized that he was a good dad. “Beth, I love you. You are so special. I’m sorry we had to fight her, but I’m glad she lost, and we won.”
She relaxed in his arms and whispered, “Okay.”
Kelly smiled for the first time in ages. Mark realized that maybe they’d never have a picket fence, and maybe they’d just be a regular, damaged family. But they could still be a good family. And that was enough.