I Told My Fiancée That I Am the Reason Her Father Is Dead

When Cole and his fiancée, Linda, go to her hometown, he realizes he was present when Linda’s father died in a twist of fate. Now, he has to tell Linda and her mother the truth

I was never really the guy to believe in fate. I figured that if something was going to happen, it would happen. And that would be it — with no other grand plan in place. But then, I found out who Linda’s father was, and I was responsible for his death. Suddenly, it seemed that fate did have a play in it. Here’s what happened: I’m thirty years old, deeply in love with my fiancée, Linda, and we’re getting busy planning our wedding. We met two years ago in the enchanting chaos that is New York City and has never been apart since.

Linda and I decided to visit her parents’ house in Phoenix. I had met Linda’s Mom before because she came to New York to stay with Linda every so often. I knew that her father, Leonard, had passed away when she was just a child, but that was about it. Our visit was because Linda wanted to show me the home she grew up in,

And to show me where she grew up — where I could have met her if my family hadn’t moved away after my father got a job in New York. If fate had played her hand, then I would have met Linda before we moved. But more than that, Linda wanted to ask her mother, Veronica, if she could use her veil for our wedding. Dinner was a hearty affair — a lot of laughter and lots of delicious food. Veronica’s chili alone was well worth the trip. But then came the old photographs of Linda. “Cole,” Veronica said, handing me an album. “You’ve got to see Linda’s hair during her rebellious years.” It was all good fun and innocent.

Until I stumbled upon a photo of Linda and her father. It made my blood run cold. I held the old photograph briefly, the beer bottle in my hand shaking slightly. In the photograph was a face I had never expected to see, and certainly not in Linda’s family album. Without thinking, I blurted out a confession. “I’m so sorry to say this, but I’m the reason your father is dead. Linda, I killed him.” Linda’s joyous expression morphed into confusion and disbelief.

Her face contorted before my eyes. “What do you mean, Cole?” she asked. “My father died about twenty years ago. How could you be the reason for his death?” “Do you remember I told you that my family lived in Phoenix for about a year when I was ten?” Linda and her mother nodded. “We weren’t here long because my father was between jobs. But during that time, I loved to ride bicycles, and I would always ride a few blocks back before dinner. I rode into the wrong lane one day because the sun was distracting. There was another car on the road, and to protect me, the car swerved and crashed into a tree.” I paused but could not look at either Linda or her mother. “This photo,” I said, pointing to one next to Linda and her father.

“This one was in the newspaper. I remember seeing it the next day, and I knew the man had saved me. I don’t know who called for an ambulance, but I know that I sat on the curb until they left. Then I walked home.” “But you were only a child,” Linda’s mother said. “I didn’t know he was your Dad until now,” I told Linda. “It was only when I saw this photograph.” The silence hung in the room. “I understand if you want to cancel the wedding,” I said. “I’d do anything for you, Linda. Even if it means letting you walk away — this is unthinkable. And unforgivable. I know.”

Linda reached for my beer bottle and took a swig. “I think it’s fate that we met, Cole,” she said, taking my hand. “And I think that my Dad saved you for me. You were a child, and I cannot blame a child for being a child and riding a bicycle. And I cannot blame my father for wanting to save you, either. I forgive you.” Linda’s words hit me like a wave. She stood up, and at that moment, she hugged me. Then, I cried. And it was cathartic. Linda’s Mom then stepped forward and joined the embrace. I wasn’t sure if she would have forgiven me, but she seemed to have done so. I’m sitting here, a week before our wedding, writing my vows, and I couldn’t feel more fulfilled. I feel a sense of closure now that I got to know the family of the man who saved me — even if it was my fate or coincidence. But now, his family will also be mine.

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