Gilded Flower Series
By Vivian Winslow
My Dearest Dahlia,
I hate that I’ve waited so long to tell you this. Hell, I hate myself for what I’ve done. This is the tenth letter I’ve written you. Each time I promise myself I’ll send it, but I don’t.
She’s still alive, Dahlia! Our daughter, Marissa, is alive. Remember when your mother arranged her transfer to the NICU in a nearby hospital and told you she died a few days later? It wasn’t true.
I visited her everyday that she was there. Then one day, she was gone. A nurse told me that she had been transferred to another hospital, but I couldn’t figure out where. I contacted your mother who came to see me with a lawyer. She offered me a lot of money if I’d give her up. At the time I refused. I couldn’t do that. But you ended things when I went to see you later that day to tell you what happened. You were done with me. Your mother was right. I was a complete fuck-up and loser. I felt like shit. It was my fault you were in such bad shape. I was never there for you. How could I be there for our baby? I couldn’t be the father I wanted to be. I was broke, and she told me she would revoke your trust fund and leave you penniless. I couldn’t do that to you.
You think your parents gave me money as some consolation prize if I dropped out of your life. They were also buying my silence. I signed my life away to them. If I ever told you about Marissa, your mother swore I’d pay and my family would suffer. Back then my mom couldn’t pay her rent and the government was giving her a hard time about survivor benefits. Somehow, your mother magically made the issues disappear. Her influence was that deep, but I don’t need to tell you that. I knew that she would make my life miserable if I ever told you the truth.
I hit bottom after you left. It took me a long time to clean up and figure out what I was going to do with my life. Once I did, I realized my goal was to make things right for you and our daughter. If only I had worked it out sooner, maybe it would’ve been different for us. I regret giving up the two of you. A better person would’ve refused your mother’s offer. But I wasn’t that man then. I don’t know if I can ever convince you of how much I love you and will always love you.
I’ve tried to find Marissa. I even hired an investigator, but came up with nothing. Your mother doesn’t want her found.
Maybe, if we find each other again, we’ll be able to search for her together.
All my Love,
If she’s not at home writing or running around the city with her kids, you’ll most likely find her indulging in pizza on the Lower East Side or having a cocktail at her favorite bar in Alphabet City. That said, she’s still a California girl at heart and would gladly trade in her heels for a pair of flip-flops to catch a sunset on the beach. .
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