Dad’s days had turned into marathon internet searches and desperate attempts to scroll through his wife’s social media, page after page, looking for clues. Hours of reading online blogs and lengthy research into the reasons why women run. His fingers ran through his unwashed hair and his three-day-old shirt creased like his forehead.
Meg perched on the edge of the sofa debating lunch, which was, as she stared at the clock, rapidly turning into dinner. She shook her head, even if she made food, he’d just refuse it. She glanced at Dad, her eyes roving across the room, taking in the photographs on the mantle, happy family pictures, smiling at the world. Her hands clenched in her lap, and she fought the tears that welled behind her eyes. Her heart thudded and her bottom lip wobbled.
“Am I like Mum?” Meg released her question.
Dad turned to her. “Why do you ask?”
“Because she’s broken, and I might be too…are we both no good?”
Dad slumped at his computer, and Meg spoke anxiously rising from the sofa, “Dad?” Her words no more than a whisper but filled with a hopeful plea of desperation. “Dad, if I ever run away, will you come and find me?”
Tears illuminated his red, swollen eyes and a quivering sigh escaped his lips as he swung his chair round and took Meg in his arms. He crushed his daughter to his broken heart. “Sweetheart, if you ever run away and you want me to find you, no matter how far or how long it takes I will find you, I’ll walk every road and sail every sea until you’re back in my arms, I will find you, I’ll always find you.”
She tightened her arms around him, there was no need to worry, no matter how much she wanted to run, to run until her feet were sore, until her legs could barely carry her, she would never hurt her father.
She was not her mother.