I told my fiancée that I am the reason her father died.

When Cole and his fiancée, Linda, visit her hometown, he discovers that he was present when Linda’s father died in an unexpected twist of fate. Now he must tell Linda and her mother the truth.I was never one to believe in fate. I assumed that whatever was going to happen, it would happen. And that would be it—no other grand strategy in place. But then I discovered Linda’s father’s identity, and I accepted responsibility for his death. Suddenly, it appeared that fate was at play.

Here’s what occurred: I am thirty years old, completely in love with my fiancée, Linda, and we are busy preparing our wedding. We met two years ago in the fascinating chaos of New York City and haven’t been apart since. Linda and I agreed to go to her parents’ residence in Phoenix. I had previously met Linda’s mother, who visited New York on occasion to stay with Linda. I knew her father, Leonard, died when she was a child, but that was it.

Linda wanted to show me around her childhood home during our visit. And to show me where she grew up, where I may have met her if my family hadn’t relocated after my father acquired a job in New York. If fate had played her hand, I would have met Linda before we relocated. But more than that, Linda wanted to ask her mother, Veronica, if she might use her veil at our wedding.

Dinner was a hearty affair, with lots of laughs and plenty of wonderful food. Veronica’s chili alone was worth the trip. Then came Linda’s old images. “Cole,” Veronica explained, handing me a record. “You’ve got to see Linda’s hair during her rebellious years.” It was all good fun and harmless. Until I happened across a photograph of Linda and her father.
It made my blood turn cold. I held the old snapshot briefly, the beer bottle in my palm trembling slightly.

The snapshot had a face I had never expected to see, especially in Linda’s family album. Without thinking, I made a confession. “I’m sorry to say this, but I am the reason your father died. “Linda, I killed him.”Linda’s happy grin faded into confusion and disbelief. Her face distorted before my eyes.”What do you mean, Cole?” she inquired. “My father died almost twenty years ago. How could you be the cause of 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 for long because my father was between jobs. But, at the time, I like riding bicycles and would always ride a few blocks home before dinner. I drove into the wrong lane one day because the sun was distracting. There was another automobile on the road, and to protect me, it swerved and collided with a tree.

I halted, but couldn’t look at Linda or her mother. “This photo,” I remarked, pointing to the one next to Linda and her father. “This one appeared in the papers. I recall seeing it the next day and realizing the man had saved me. I’m not sure who called for an ambulance, but I know I sat on the curb until they went. “Then I walked home.””But you were only a child,” Linda’s mother replied.

“I didn’t realize he was your father until now,” I told Linda. “It was only when I saw this photograph.” The silence persisted throughout the room. “I understand if you want to cancel the wedding,” he replied. “Linda, I would do anything for you. Even if it means allowing you to walk away—this is unthinkable. And inexcusable. “I understand.” Linda went for my beer bottle and took a sip.

“I think it’s fate that we met, Cole,” she replied, grasping my hand. “And I suppose my father preserved you for me. You were a youngster, and I don’t blame you for riding a bicycle. I can’t blame my father for trying to save you, either. “I forgive you.”Linda’s remarks struck me like a wave. She stepped up and hugged me.Then I cried. And it was cathartic.Linda’s mother then went forward to join the embrace. I was unsure if she would have forgiven me, but she appeared to have done so.

I’m sitting here, one week before our wedding, writing my vows, and I couldn’t be happier. I feel a feeling of closure now that I’ve met the family of the man who saved me, whether by providence or happenstance. However, now his family will also be mine.

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