I guess I can see how you would’ve been beautiful. I didn’t see it at first when I took you out of Esther’s arms. But I can, now. You’ve got your momma’s cheeks, and that’s my chin you’ve got there. I never would have thought those things would match so well.

I don’t blame you, Emmaline. If you were a murderer, so am I. But at least you were an innocent one. Your daddy is a weak man, child. I was afraid when I heard your momma screaming upstairs. Afraid of my own weakness, afraid to see what made your momma holler like that, and yes, Emmaline, I was afraid of you.

A lot of things I might have done different.

You’re in a better place now, little one. With your momma and where you’ve got Jesus to be your daddy now, and he’s a better papa than I ever could’ve been. He’s a strong man who never made mistakes and never backed down and never feared. And if Jesus had sinned, he wouldn’t be hiding what he’d done.

But I’m not like him. I’m weak and afraid. So we’ll go to the river, Emmaline, you and I.

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