"Please don’t go."
Spencer almost cried. His daughter held onto his legs, and he willed himself not to look down.
Merrill saw him struggling, and stepped in to help.
"Anastasia, Daddy needs to go now. Come here sweetheart."
Reluctantly, the little girl pulled away, running into her mother’s outstretched arms.
Spencer pressed his lips to Anastasia’s forehead, and after a long kiss and a hug for Merril, he began to walk towards his gate.
Spencer turned back. The small girl stood back by her mother, too far away for him to speak to them privately.
"What’s up Stasia?" he yelled, not caring who heard.
"I love you Daddy!" the little girl exclaimed across the crowd. "Come home safe, okay?"
Spencer lost it. Tears streamed down his face, and as he yelled back “I love you too! I will, promise!”, he prayed that they were too far away to see.
Soon, he was out of sight.
Though she would never tell, Merril did see her husband cry, and she swore she saw several strangers watching with teary eyes as well.