It was hard to believe that they were father and daughter. The rugged old man with a gray mane that gave him an almost bestial air, and the beautiful lady with wrists that could fit through the handle on a teacup, who looked like a romantic abstraction of the human anatomy. The father, Richard Burnt, kept rubbing his eyes and nose as if he desperately wanted to erase his own face. I saw no tears though.
"We didn't speak for... eight years" was the first thing he said to me, which led me to think that he probably didn't speak much with anyone else either. I was used to relatives of the patients getting emotional, but Richard seemed to flinch in surprise every time he opened his own mouth. As if he couldn't believe he was telling these things to a complete stranger.
"It's... I... Things had just started getting better. We talked again, got coffee, visited Edna's grave" he was rambling. "At Christmas, I got to hold my granddaughter for the first time" The first sob followed. I could tell he had been a scary-looking man. His back had become hunched, his hair had thinned, his skin was too pale and veined, but his frame and hands were still huge, and the scars on his chin and arms were old.
No matter how long you stayed in this line of work there were three things you never, ever got used to. The first is the miracle of birth, the second is men like Richard crying.
You can probably guess the third.