The girl waits every day for her sailor father on the shore and is disappointed when his ship returns without him. She wonders why her father hasn’t returned and worries. Finally, she tells her grandmother about her fears, and together they learn something unexpected about this man’s life.
As on any other day, 12-year-old Lily Spencer sits on the shore, hoping to catch a glimpse of her father Carlo’s ship. After her mother Julia died during childbirth, Carlo raised Lily with the help of his mother, Mrs. Spencer.
Carlo was a sailor and was away from home for a few months, so Mrs. Spencer, Lily’s guardian, was in the house. She accompanied her to school, spent time with her and took care of her as her own daughter. Lily loved her grandmother very much, but there were times when she missed her dad terribly, then she went ashore and waited for his return.
One summer afternoon, Lily went to sit by the sea. The wind flew her golden hair as she gazed at the vast sea in front of her, her chin on her hands. Carlo was away for about six months and was due back any day, and Lily looked forward to his arrival.
“Is Daddy coming tonight, Grandma?” she asked her grandmother, looking up at the sky.
After a few minutes, Lily lost hope of seeing Carlo’s ship. After all, she waited there all day, and there was no sign of a boat or a yacht, let alone a ship.
Lily finally got up to leave. “I’ll come again tomorrow. I hope Daddy comes home soon,” she said to herself. But then she saw something… something that looks like a ship. Squinting her eyes, she realized that it was her father’s ship.
“Dad! He’s finally home!”, – Lily’s joy knew no bounds, she ran towards the harbor, trying to hug her father.
When the ship finally arrived at the port, she saw men disembarking and hugging their wives and children. Clasping her hands, she carefully watched the crowd disembarking from the ship in search of her father.
When a few minutes passed and almost everyone started to leave, Lily’s heartbeat quickened. “Why isn’t Dad here?”She looked around, but she didn’t see Carlo anywhere.
Her shoulders slumped when she finally realized that her father wasn’t on the ship. Her eyes filled with tears when she returned home to Mrs. Spencer.
The elderly woman’s face turned pale when she saw Lily enter the house, the girl’s eyes were red and swollen from tears. “Lily, honey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” “What is it?” she asked.
“Dad,” she moaned, “he’s not home, Grandma. Dad doesn’t love me. He didn’t come back to my house!”.
“Oh, that’s not true, dear,” Mrs. Spencer hugged her. “Daddy loves you! He would never break his princess’ heart!”.
Lily shook her head. “His ship has arrived, Grandma. I saw it, but he didn’t come home! Why did he do it? I miss him so much….”.
Mrs. Spencer was worried now, too. She decided to call Carlo’s headquarters to find out, and found out that Carlo had gone down to the penultimate port because he had some business. Fortunately, the telephone operator was a close friend of Carlo, so he knew that Carlo was staying at one of the hotels in the city.
Mrs. Spencer found out his hotel address and found a map. “Lily, I know where Dad is. Shall we go and surprise him?” She asked, hoping that would cheer Lily up.
The girl finally stopped crying and smiled. “Yes! I want to, Grandma!”
“Okay, then,” Lily excitedly told Mrs. Spencer. “Go and get ready. We’ll be leaving soon. It’s going to take us a while to get there!”.
“Yay!” – exclaimed Lily, running into her room and getting ready quickly.
Mrs Spencer and Lily boarded the bus, and when they finally arrived at the hotel, Lily could not contain her excitement. They approached the reception desk to find out where Carlo’s room was, but before they could do so, Lily spotted him. “Granny! Look, Daddy’s here!” – she said, rushing towards him.
Mrs. Spencer turned to look at Lily and saw that Carlo was not alone. There was a woman with him. “Who is this woman?” she asked herself.
Carlo panicked when he saw his daughter. “Lily, darling, what are you doing here alone?”
“Dad, I missed you!” She hugged him. “I saw your ship approaching, but you weren’t in it, so Grandma and I found out where you were!”.
“Oh, really….” Carlo blushed.
“Who is she, Dad?” Lily asked, looking at the woman standing next to her father. “Is she your friend?”
The woman and Carlo exchanged glances, and Carlo realized that he had to tell the truth. It’s time for Lily and her grandmother to find out about the new woman in his life.
“Mom, Lily,” he said. “This is Gracie. We’ve been dating for six months now, and we really like each other.”
Mrs. Spencer covered her mouth in shock. “Carlo, Lily is here,” she whispered, “We adults can talk about this later. You can’t…”
“I’m sorry, Mom. I can’t hide it forever! I want Lily to find out the truth about her father’s life… Darling,” he said, kneeling down in front of her. “Do you know when you’re lonely and need someone to talk to, there’s a teddy bear and grandma next to you?”
“Dad was also lonely after Mom died, so he found someone to spend time with when he was lonely and sad. You don’t mind Dad having a friend, do you? He doesn’t make you love her, but you can be friends with her too.”
Lily smiled at him. ” I’m not that stupid, Dad! I understand, and I know she’s your girlfriend! My friend’s father also has a girlfriend, and she treats her very well. I’m glad you have a girlfriend too. My friend said her dad was very sad when her mom died, but now he’s happy. If you’re happy, I’m happy too”.
Carlo’s eyes started to shine. “Oh, you’re so big and smart, my dear! Daddy’s little princess is not a little girl anymore!”.
Lily laughed. ” Hi, Gracie! My name is Lily. I love my dad, and I don’t mind being friends with you. Will you be my friend?”
Gracie smiled, “Who wouldn’t want a pretty girl like you to be their friend? Of course…” she replied, hugging Lily. Lily hugged her back, meanwhile Carlo and Mrs. Spencer’s eyes filled with tears. Carlo was incredibly proud that his daughter was so supportive of his decision.
From that day onwards, Carlo did not need to hide his relationship from his family. In fact, he and Gracie were married a few months later, and Lily accepted Gracie as her new mother. She was happy that she now had a complete family with a loving mum, dad and grandmother. She also had company when she was waiting for Carlo’s ship, as Gracie was joining her.