Sam Jordan was still reeling from the loss of his lovely wife, Jenny, in a horrific car accident. Jenny had passed away three years before, leaving Sam to raise their little two-year-old daughter Mia alone.
Life had become a nightmare for Sam, dealing with his own grief and Mia’s. It took him over three years before he finally felt that he and Mia had achieved what could be loosely termed as a ‘normal’ life. And that was when he decided to take Mia on vacation.
Sam decided that a two-week getaway to sunny California would be a welcome break from their Colorado hometown. He found a nice B&B in Venice Beach, close to the ocean, and a lively colorful place Mia might enjoy.
Father and daughter quickly adapted to the leisurely rhythm of vacationland and settled into a daily routine of going to the beach in the morning, having lunch, then sightseeing in the afternoon.
Then, one afternoon, something extraordinary happened. Sam and Mia had stopped for ice cream when the now five-year-old cried, “Daddy, it’s MOMMY!” And in seconds Mia was gone, weaving through the crowd in the boardwalk.
Sam dropped the ice cream and started running after Mia, and caught up with her 100 meters away. “Mia!” he gasped, “You know you can’t run away from daddy!”
But daddy, it’s mommy!” Mia panted breathlessly, “She’s right there!” And Mia pointed at a couple standing a little further along looking at some handicrafts.
Sam dropped to his feet and took Mia’s little hands in his. “Honey, you know mommy’s gone to heaven…”
But Mia shook her head stubbornly. “No daddy, I recognized mommy from the picture on my wall. That’s mommy!” Sam was about to explain once again that Jenny was gone when the woman Mia had pointed out turned around.
The heart knows where it belongs.
Sam felt as if all the air in his body had been punched out of his body. It was Jenny! Or someone who was her twin! Sam was on his feet and moving towards the woman, taking Mia by the hand.
When they were just a few feet away, Mia broke free and threw her arms around the woman’s waist. “Mommy!” she cried. “Oh mommy! I knew it was you!”
The woman looked down at Mia and frowned, then she looked up at Sam and a bewildered expression flitted across her lovely face. Sam was about to apologize when the man standing next to her turned around.
It was Clive! His best friend Clive whom he hadn’t seen since Jenny’s funeral. “Clive,” he cried. “Man, you wouldn’t believe…” But something was very wrong because Clive looked terrified and grabbed the arm of the woman who looked like Jenny.
“We have to go!” he screamed.
The woman who looked like Jenny looked surprised. “Sam, what’s the matte?” she asked Clive. Sam? She thought Clive was SAM? Sam stepped forward and laid a heavy hand on Clive’s shoulder.
“What’s going on here, Clive? Who is this…lady?” he asked.
The woman who looked like Jenny smiled. “I’m Sam’s wife,” she said. “I’m Jenny.”
Mia, who still had her arms around the woman’s waist, cried triumphantly. “You see daddy, it IS mommy!”
“Mommy?” the woman said, touching Mia’s face gently. “I wish I were! I always wanted a little girl…I was going to call her…Mia.”
“I’m Mia!” the child said. “And you’re my mommy, and THAT is my daddy!”
Clive was pale as death and trying to squirm out of Sam’s iron grasp. “It’s not what you think!” he cried. “I didn’t plan it, it just happened…”
“What happened?” Sam asked.
After the accident…You know the car was so burned… We had the funeral…” Clive said. “Then one night I was watching a late-night missing persons show and they showed the photo of a woman who’d been found. It was Jenny! She’d had some kind of brain injury…She didn’t remember who she was, but doctors thought from the injuries and the burns she’d been in a bad crash. Then I remembered how Jenny was always picking up those young girls who hitchhiked… I guess that’s who died in the car, and Jenny was thrown clear.”
“Why didn’t you come to me?” cried Sam angrily, “Mia and I were mourning her, we were in such pain!”
Clive couldn’t look Sam in the eyes. “I loved Jenny. You knew it when you started dating her. You TOOK her from me, so I took her back…”
Jenny was listening to this in horrified silence. “You…You told me you were my husband,” she gasped. “You said my dreams about a baby girl were fantasy…YOU LIED TO ME!”
Clive was cringing from her anger, and Sam calmly dialed 911 and called the police. Later, he sat with Jenny and Mia and started sorting through the mess one man’s obsession had made of their lives.
Sam explained to Mia that mommy would probably take a long time to remember everything, and urged Jenny to be patient too. Jenny just smiled.
“These three years I always felt that something was WRONG. Sam — I mean Clive — told me I loved him, that he was my husband, but something wasn’t…right.” She reached for Sam and Mia’s hands. “Now it feels as if the world is finally coming right again!”
And bit by bit, it did.
What can we learn from this story?
The heart knows where it belongs. Even though Clive told Jenny that he was her husband, some instinct told her something wasn’t right.
Never give up hope, because happiness can walk back into your life. Sam had resigned himself to his loneliness when he found his wife again.