An eight-year-old girl looks inside her dollhouse and smiles. She puts on her firefighter uniform and plays with the truck in front of the dollhouse. She looks up at the clock. It’s almost 7 p.m. She runs into the family room and watches as her dad open the door. Her dad gives her hug while her mother stands by the kitchen door, smiling.
A message reads on the screen reads 10 Years Later. As an eighteen-year-old, she strikes a match and lights the candle in the family room. She sits on the couch with her mom. Noticing it’s almost 7:00 p.m., she stands by the door and waits for her dad.
At the fire station, her dad slides down the pole and talks with the captain. He and his colleagues get into the fire truck. Back at home, her mom gasps as she watches a live news report. There has been a local house fire. She calls her daughter and she sits next to her, holding her hand.
Her father cowers from the fire and falls on the porch. He and his friend find another way into the burning house. They form a line as they walk through the house. He sees he’s alone and calls out for his friend. His colleagues wave for him to return to the truck. He sees his friend faint and runs after her.
His daughter cries as she listens to the news.
She and her mom, both wearing black outfits, walk towards to the seats in the front row. She smiles as her father is awarded a medal for his bravery. His friend salutes him and gives him a hug. She waves to her dad. He gives her a hug.
The phone rang at 8:30 p.m. The young woman’s heart pounds as she answers. Her father hadn’t called her on the way home from work. Her mother hadn’t heard from him, either. He had been coughing a lot lately. Her mother had been urging him to go the doctor. He had told her he was sinuses and he would be okay.
Her mother tells her his colleagues rushed him to the emergency room after his shift. He couldn’t breathe and collapsed. She puts on her jacket and says she’ll be there in five minutes. Through the revolving doors, she pushes past some doctors as she searches for her mother in the waiting room. In the waiting room, she gives her mom a hug and asks her if she’s heard anything. She says they are running test right now.
An hour later, the doctor tells them he has mesothelioma and it’s stage three. He adds they are taking him into surgery. She asks if she can see him as her mother cries on her shoulder. The doctor nods and takes them to his room.
Her dad grins at her from his hospital bed. She puts her arms around him and tells him he’s going to be okay. He says he has been praying. Her mother says they’ll be waiting for him and love him. The young woman whispers to her dad that he’s always been her hero. The nurse tells him they need to take him now. She waves to her dad and walks with her mom back to the waiting room.
She flips through the magazines and folds her arms. She watches the clock and walks up the station. She asks if there’s any new information. The surgery was supposed to over an hour ago. The nurse says there is no new information. Her mother pats her knee and tells her he’s a brave man. She puts her head on her shoulder and says he has to pull through.
Every day, she misses her dad. Although he survived the surgery, his body couldn’t handle the chemotherapy. He passed two months after his diagnosis. During his wake, she had families talk to her about how he saved their cat or baby in the fires. His friends told him he wouldn’t leave anyone behind. The eulogies filled her heart. Her father had been loved. Somewhere in heaven, she knows he’s continuing to watch each person and animal he saved.
Director: N/A Year: 2019