Page 38 of An Amazon Affair

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“I...I miss you, daddy. I miss you every day,” I begin, twisting the lid off the small urn and letting my tears fall freely. “I m-miss your laugh and your voice. I miss your bad jokes and the farts that you blamed on the dog.” Rio chuckles softly and I laugh with him for a second, more tears streaming down my cheeks. “I miss watching you head to the office every morning and walk through the apartment door for dinner every night. I miss your advice. I miss your belief in me. I m-miss how m-much you—you loved m-me... and m-mom.”

I can’t speak anymore, because my tears are falling, and my nose is running and the terrible sadness of losing my father is more real here and now than it’s ever been before. I should probably say something about how grateful I am that losing him meant finding Brazil, but deep inside of me, something tells me he already knows. Something tells me that was his goal all along.

Tipping the urn, I let the ashes spill into the Amazon River, briefly dotting the surface of the water before disappearing; one with the Amazon, one with the rainforest, his first home and final resting place.

When the urn is empty, I screw the lid back on and place it between my feet. I’m quiet for a moment, and surprised to feel that my grief isn’t as sharp as it was a few minutes ago. I brought my father home. And I feel his peace.

When I finally look back up, Rio reaches for my hands, rocking the canoe a little. He squeezes gently, then braids his fingers through mine.

“He would be pleased.”

“You think so?” I ask, sniffling softly, though my years have stopped.

“I’m the father of a smart, beautiful girl,” he says. “Iknowso.”

Another splash somewhere nearby seems to confirm Rio’s words in the simplest and most elemental of ways, and we laugh together as the soft sounds of dolphin chatter reach our ears.

“You see?” says Rio. “I’m right. They know it, too.”

I wipe the last of my tears away. “Thank you for this. It was the perfect time and place. And with the perfect person.”

“Perfect?” he asks, taking the oars in hand and turning us around. “No,querida. Only practice makes perfect.”

Is it my imagination or is he rowing faster?

“I think it’s almost midnight,” I say, grinning at him in the lantern-light.

“Sí, querida Yara,” he says, with a twinkle in his eye. “I think so too.”


6 weeks later


“I’ve finally got thepaperwork done. All the i’s dotted and t’s crossed,” says Don. “I’m having the limited liability contracts couriered to you via DHL. Should arrive in Manaus in two or three days.”

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