When You Least Expect It!
By: Kathy email@example.com
Ho Chi Minh City
Looking down at her mother’s bed Lee knew that the end was coming soon. Her mother had been gravely ill for sometime now. Growing up it had always been just the two of them. They had no other family. Lee had never known her father. Her mother had spoken of him through the years. So she knew a little bit about him. She knew that he was an American Serviceman. He and her mother had fallen in love during the war. For a time they even talked about getting married. But decided that because of the wartime circumstances it would be best if they parted ways. Her mother found out she was pregnant after he had already left to return to the states. He never knew of her pregnancy.
When she had become ill Lee asked her mother to move in with her and her husband, Diem. Lee now spent most of her days at her mother’s bedside, caring for her.
“Lee, come here. I need to tell you something. I want to tell you about your father.”
“Please mother, just rest now. We can talk about this later.”
“No later maybe too late for me. Please listen to what I have to say.”
“OK, if it’s that important to you Mother.”
She told her all the information that she knew about her father. “After I’m gone I want you to try and find him. Tell him how sorry I am that I never told him about you. And tell him he always held a special place in my heart.” She died later that same day.
Lee spent the first few months after her mother’s death in a state of indecisiveness concerning her father. A part of her wanted to follow her mother’s last wishes and find her father. Yet she was scared. This man did not even know she existed. How would he react to finding out that he had a grown daughter? What if he didn’t want to have anything to do with her? Could she handle that kind of rejection?
After much soul searching Lee finally reached a decision. She and Diem were hoping to start a family of their own soon. So she decided that she did need some closure about her father, before she could move on and become a parent herself. She remembered all of those times growing up when she would look at her reflection in the mirror. The blue eyes that stared back at her were almost like a puzzle to her. No one else she knew had eyes like that. There were many times as a child and even occasionally now times when she felt self conscious of her Amer-Asian features. They were so different than the others around her. She realized that she needed to find her father, not only because it was her mother’s last wish. But also for herself. She needed to find the other half of who she was.
Once the decision was made the practicality of the situation set in. Would she even be able to find her father? After all the information that her mother had given her was decades old. She found though it was surprisingly easy. She contacted the US veteran’s administration. She gave them all of the information that she had on him. And they had a work address for him that was only a few years old. So chances were good that he still worked there.
Cordell Walker sat at his desk trying to go through the latest information on a new case he was working on. So far they had come up empty handed. He was sorting through his notes when his wife Alex came in the door.
"Hi Cowboy. How’s the new case coming along?"
"Nothing yet, but I’m still working on it"
"Did you need something Alex?"
"No, I just wanted to come and see you. I have a lot on my mind and I thought if you had a little time maybe we could talk"
"What’s on your mind?"
"Walker, you know."
"Alex, please, I told you to stop worrying about it. Everything will be fine Hon. You'll see."
"I can’t help it. I'm starting to get really worried."
Walker and Alex had been trying to conceive a child since they got married. But so far they had not had any success. They both wanted children so much. And Alex was having a hard time dealing with the thoughts that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Walker was, as always supportive of her. But he just didn’t understand how much pain and frustration this was causing her.
"Honey, I told you, all that matters is that we are together. And if we can’t have children of our own, then we'll adopt. You are going to make a wonderful mother some day. I know that. Besides you only need to think of one thing right now,” Walker said getting up from his chair. He made his way to his wife. He put his arms gently around her. He whispered in her ear “I love you. That’s all you need to know right now. Everything else will work out I promise you"
"Oh Walker you always know just what to say to make me feel better I love you so much. I have court soon. So I have to go. I'll see you later at home. Ok?"
“Ok, good luck in court"
Lee could not believe the massive size of this airport. Well I’ve always heard that everything in Texas is big. She thought. While she was standing in line waiting to go through customs the lady ahead of her struck up a conversation.
“So what are your plans in Dallas?”
“I’m here to see my father.” She answered.
“Oh that’s nice. So he lives here in the metroplex?”
“Well I’m sad to tell you that she passed away a few months ago. She asked me to go and find you.”
“I'm sorry to hear about that. She was a wonderful lady and very special to me a long time ago. But I don’t understand why she would ask you to find me.”
"I am not sure how to tell you this. But…ah… you are my father.”
Walker bolted upright in his chair. "What, are you sure?"
“Yes my mother spoke of you often. It was her last wish that I come and find you and tell you. She wanted me to tell you that she was sorry that she never tried to find you to tell you that she was pregnant. But at the time she thought it was the right thing to do.”
Walker was trying very hard to stay calm. This was the last thing he ever expected to be hearing. He got up and offered Lee a chair. They sat and talked for a little while. Lee knew that this must be a terrible shock for him. So she wanted to give him some time for the news to sink in. They made plans to get together tomorrow to get to know each other.
After she left Walker held his head in disbelief. He was trying to figure out what had just happened. He was utterly confused. And how was he ever going to be able to tell Alex? She was having a hard enough time with this baby thing. She certainly didn’t need the shock of hearing that Walker had a daughter. He would need to find just the right way to tell her. He didn’t want to upset her anymore than was absolutely necessary.
Alex decided that tonight was going to be a special night. She was worried that she might have been a little hard on Walker lately. Since she had been having a hard time dealing with the disappointment of not being able to get pregnant and give him a child, he might be feeling neglected. She planned a special dinner and some quality time just for the two of them.
Walker told Trivette that he needed to get home. He needed to talk to Alex. He wanted Jimmy to handle anything that might come up tonight. He didn’t want to be disturbed. Of course Trivette had no problem with that. Anything Walker needed was ok and he would handle things at work. Besides Walker had a look on his face that told him he was in deep thought and needed the time.
Alex had gone home early. She wanted to be ready when her husband got home. She prepared his favorite meal, lit the candles and got her shower so she looked her best when he got home. She needed to just be with him and get this other stuff off of her mind.
Walker came through the door to the wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen. He saw the candles and knew this was going to be even harder than he had thought. He wasn’t sure how he would manage it.
"Hi baby, what’s the occasion?"
“Oh nothing, I just wanted to make a special dinner for just the two of us. Are you complaining?"
"No way. Wow you look beautiful.” He said looking up and down at his wife. So beautiful in fact I might just want to skip dinner and head straight for dessert.”
"Walker, there is plenty of time for that later. She responded with a slight giggle. “Let’s just enjoy our dinner together.”
After dinner Walker and Alex cleared the table and did the dishes. Finally Walker knew he couldn’t wait any longer. “Honey, let’s go into the living room. There’s something I need to talk to you about.”
"Ok, sounds serious."
"Walker you’re scaring me."
"There’s nothing to be scared of honey. I just need to tell you some things about my life that I never told you before. But before I start I want you to know that I love you more than anything in this world. I love you more than I ever thought I could love anyone. You are my whole life Alex. You do know that?
"Walker, please you’re scaring me again."
"I'm sorry Hon. I want to talk to you about my life in Vietnam.”
“Vietnam, why is that so important that we need to talk about it tonight?”
Walker held up his hand, as a gesture that said wait and I’ll explain. “It was a very scary and lonely time for me. I was really just a kid when I went there. A lot of the servicemen found comfort with Vietnamese women. I was no different really.”
"Walker are you trying to tell me you had a Vietnamese girlfriend or had a relationship with a woman while you were in Vietnam?" She said looking confused.
“Yes, her name was Twe. Both of her parents had died when she was young like mine had. We had a lot in common. We became close. For a time she was very special to me.” Alex nodded her head wondering where he was going with the story. “Well I thought I knew all of it until today.”
"What do you mean, you thought you knew all of it?"
“Well I had a visitor today at headquarters. She is Twe’s daughter."
“Oh that’s nice. But why did she come to see you?"
“Ah… Alex.." Walker hesitated.
“Walker what are you trying to tell me?"
“Alex, her mother died recently. There is no easy way to say this sweetheart. So I’m just going to come out and say it."
“Alex, she was Twe’s daughter, but she is also my daughter."
Walker could see the confusion and shock in Alex’s eyes. He took her hand and held it tight. He waited for her to say something. However she just sat there. Alex tried to think. She tried to say something, but nothing came out. Finally she found her voice. “Walker I don’t know what to say.” She said shrugging her shoulders. “I’m happy for you.” That was all she could get out. She got up and left the room. Walker tried to follow her, but she told him she needed to be alone. Alex went upstairs to their bedroom. She closed the door and sat on the edge of the bed. Her tears were falling now.
This isn’t the way it was supposed to happen. I was supposed to have Walker’s child I can’t even do that right. I don’t know why he puts up with me. Obviously the problem is with me since he doesn’t seem to have any trouble fathering children. And why didn’t he tell me about this woman? If he had such strong feelings for her why didn’t he ever mention her? I wonder how many others there have been.
Walker stood outside the bedroom door, wondering if he should go in and comfort his wife. Or if he should just give her a little more time to herself. He knew that she must be hurting and that’s the last thing he ever wanted. He decided to go inside. Being apart never settled anything. They needed to talk about this together.
“Alex, are you ok?"
“Am I ok? How can you ask me that after what you just told me? No Walker, I'm not ok! Why didn’t you tell me about this woman before? You never mentioned anything about her to me. Ever! “
“Alex to be truthful it never occurred to me to tell you about her.”
“It never occurred to you?” Alex said in disbelief.
“No it didn’t. I haven’t thought about her in years.”
“You said she was special to you.”
“She was. But I really only knew her for a short time and it was over 30 years ago. I was very young. Looking back I guess at the time I thought I was in love with her. But I was little more than a kid. And I was a long way from home in the middle of a horrifying war. She was young and alone too. We gave each other the strength and comfort we both needed then. But it wasn’t meant to last forever. It was nothing like the love I have for you.”
“I just can’t believe it never occurred to you to tell me about her.”
“Well I guess I should have. But I just didn’t think it was that important until I found out about Lee.”
“Yeah I guess that does make it important to tell me now.” Alex replied with more than a hint of sarcasm.
“Alex the fact that Twe and I had a child together does make this different. But I just found out about that today. It’s not like I was keeping a secret or something from you. Have you told me about every single boyfriend you ever had in high school or college?”
“No” she had to answer honestly. “Most of them were pretty insignificant in the whole scheme of things. You know about the main ones.”
“Honey it really is the same thing. Yes, I had feelings for her at the time. But my life continued on.”
“I guess you’re right. I’ve just been so stressed out lately. And hearing you already have a child, when I haven’t been able to get pregnant. And well, Walker I’m sorry. I over reacted.”
“So will you please forgive me for not telling you about her?”
“Of course, she said reaching over for a hug. “So tell me what you know about your daughter.”
Walker arrived at CD's to find his daughter waiting for him just outside the entrance.
“Let’s go in and sit down please. Would you like breakfast?"
"No coffee is fine thank you"
“Lee, I must say that I was totally surprised yesterday when you showed up at Ranger Headquarters. After all of these years, the last thing I expected was to find out that I had a daughter. But now that I do, I will try to make up to you any way I can for missing all of these years. I'm sorry that I wasn’t there for you."
“That’s ok. I know that you didn’t know about me. And I can tell that if you had, we would have had a wonderful relationship. I can see already why my mother loved you so much.”
"Thanks you.” He was already starting to feel a lot of affection for this young woman. I want to have a relationship with you. I know I can’t go back and make up for everything. But if you will give me a chance, I would love for us to spend time together and get to know each other."
"I'd like that very much"
“I don’t mean to pry, but I noticed that you are wearing a wedding ring. Where is your wife?"
“She is at home.” I wanted her to come with me to meet you today. But she thought it would be better if the two of us had a little more time alone.”
“I would love to meet her.” Lee answered.
The father and daughter talked for several hours. They wanted to know as much as they could about each other. Walker asked Lee to come and stay at the ranch during her visit. She agreed. She told him that she had always wanted to learn to ride a horse. Walker eagerly offered to teach her.
Lee moved her things from her hotel to the ranch the next day. She and Alex hit it off right away. The three of them spent a lot of time together on the ranch. Walker also took her to visit the reservation to learn about that part of her heritage. They developed a close relationship over the next couple of months. She hated to leave him. But she also missed her husband who had stayed back in Vietnam. So she asked Diem to join her permanently in the United States. Alex helped them find an apartment and helped Lee decorate it.
About three months after they moved in to their apartment Lee and Diem came out for a visit to the ranch. Lee told Walker she had something that she need to tell him and Alex.
“What is it.” Walker asked. She really had his curiosity up.
“Well I know it hasn’t been that long since you found out you were a father. But how do you feel about becoming a grandfather.”
“What? Are you saying what I think you are saying?”
“Yes, I’m going to have a baby.”
Walker and Alex hugged Lee and Diem. Alex suggested that they go out for a celebratory dinner.
The next morning Walker awoke early to the sound of Alex coming out of the bathroom. “Honey are you all right? He inquired.
“Oh yes. In fact I’ve never been better.” She answered and handed him a stick with two blue lines.
“Does this mean what I think it means.” He asked with a huge grin.”
“That’s right Grandpa. You are going to be a daddy!”