"Whisper My Name"


Logline: The relationship between Nick and his daughter through the years; inspired from a song performed by Randy Travis

  Nick Barkley sat in the rocking chair in his bedroom holding his newborn daughter. The little one slept contented in the safety of her father’s arms. His large calloused hand gently caressed her soft skin. He had counted her toes and fingers, and traced every part of her, to make sure she was all right. A head full of raven hair was a large contrast to the white blanket that covered it. His wife was finally sleeping after a difficult birth that lasted nearly all night. Nick’s chest was beating with pride for his lovely bride. She was so strong as she brought their daughter into the world. The delivery had been difficult from the moment she woke him up. Midway through the night it was learned the baby was a breech. Dr. Merar and Victoria worked frantically to save both mother and child. He still winced at the thought of the excruciating pain his wife suffered when the baby was turned to the proper birthing position. His mother had wanted him to leave, stating it wasn’t appropriate for the husband to be present. But his wife wanted him to stay and he could never deny his wife anything. Besides, he wouldn’t have missed a second of his daughter’s birth.

He was so deep in thought that he didn’t realize his wife’s gaze was now upon him. The exhausted woman smiled at her husband. Throughout the time she was carrying their baby he kept telling her it was going to be a boy. But when he was told he had a daughter a look of surprise crossed his face. He smiled now because he never considered the possibility of his son being a daughter, but when the little girl was placed in his arms all reservations were immediately forgotten, and he became her protector for life.

“I believe our daughter is going to have a time of it,” she smiled at her husband. She thought about the suitors who would have to deal with the girl’s father.

Nick looked up from the rocker and gently chided his wife. “You should be asleep. This little one hasn’t cried in awhile, you should take advantage before it’s time to feed her.”

“I know, but I couldn’t help watching the two of you together,” his wife said, lovingly.

“Well I was thinking she might be the first woman rancher,” he looked at his wife in jest. Her laughter rang out and he joined her.

“Well she is her father’s daughter. Whatever she does, she’s going to have her Papa wrapped around her finger,” she paused, “and she will drive you mad the entire time.”

Nick looked down in pride at the little bundle in his arms and smiled. He let the one word roll off his tongue; the one word he couldn’t believe had finally come true.


I heard a freight train out across the way
I heard a woman sing Amazing Grace
I heard a night bird call to its mate
When I heard you whisper my name

It had been a long day for Nick Barkley. He and Heath had to bring the horses down from the mountains and work at breaking them. There was one particular horse that was most ornery. No matter what either brother did the horse simply wouldn’t cooperate. They were covered in dirt and bruised from head to toe when they walked into the house exhausted. Nick turned to the side table to remove his gun belt. He smiled when he heard two small feet running towards him.

“Papa!” The five-year old little girl with raven curls ran towards him. Nick turned around and scooped his little girl up in his muscular arms. “Papa’s smelly,” she winkled her nose causing her Papa to laugh before he nuzzled his nose into her neck. The laughter coming from father and daughter echoed throughout the house.

I heard freedom break its chain
I heard a heart beat where once no sound remained
I heard angels rise and praise
When I heard you whisper my name

Nick and Heath loaded the wagon with bags of grain under the scrutinizing blaze of the afternoon sun. By the time the wagon had been loaded it was time for school to let out. Nick’s long strides swallowed up the space between him and the schoolyard. He stopped in his tracks when he saw his daughter. The little girl of twelve was talking to a boy and they were laughing. The boy was nervous and he looked around to make sure nobody saw before he planted a small kiss on the girl’s cheek. Once he kissed her he ran off, leaving her to stand there in shock before she smiled. She let her finger trace her cheek where she had been kissed. Nick’s heart cracked when he realized he was losing his little girl.

The child was holding her books in her arms and the raven hair bounced behind her as she walked away. She stopped in her tracks when she heard his booming voice.

“How was my favorite girl’s day?” Nick’s smile filled his face as he hoped his broken heart wouldn’t be noticed. His daughter’s smile, matched his own, and filled his heart with joy. She ran towards him throwing her arms around his shoulders.


I heard music bring a heart of stone to tears
I heard peace ring like an anthem through the years
And I heard hatred fall from grace
When I heard you whisper my name

“I SAID NO AND I MEANT IT!” Nick’s voice thundered through the study. The rest of the family silently watched the intense fight between father and daughter.

“HOW CAN YOU BE SO UNFAIR?” It was no surprise that Nick’s teenage daughter of sixteen could match his voice in volume.


“You just don’t want me to go because you don’t like HIM!” The tears streamed down her face in hurt and anger. “I HATE YOU!”

She spat out the angry words before running up the stairs to her bedroom. Nick’s heart shattered into pieces as his daughter’s words echoed in his ears. He slumped into the chair, defeated and buried his face in his hands. His wife’s arm snaked his shoulder. His hazel eyes met hers. “Should I have let her go to the party?” Nick quietly questioned his wife.

“No. There will be no chaperones at the bonfire, just a group of teenagers. You are doing what’s best so she doesn’t get hurt. She’s too young to understand that, but she will in time.” His wife knelt down and, kissed him. She wrapped her arms around his defeated frame and felt his strong arms come around her waist. She knew how the words spoken in anger broke her husband’s heart. She softly whispered in his ear. “She didn’t mean it, honey, she adores you. No matter what, don’t you ever forget that, my love.”

Beating softly against the waves
Fell a sound of an early morning rain
And though the lightning and thunder came
I still heard you whisper my name

The church filled up with people from all around. Nick shook hands with guests before making his exit. He walked towards the small room in the back of the church and knocked. His sister-in-law let him into the room. He gasped when he saw his daughter dressed in white. The other women in the room left to give father and daughter time alone. Nick stood in front of his little girl all grown, a bride.

“You are so very beautiful,” Nick spoke as his roughen hand caressed her cheek. “I am so proud of you.”

“Oh, Papa…” The young woman of twenty started to cry. Nick wiped away the tears and drew her into a hug.

“Now, none of that!” Nick ordered as he choked back the lump in his throat. “There will be no crying on your wedding day!”

As father and daughter stood at the back of the church, they waited for the queue for them to begin the march down the aisle. The organ began to play, the preacher nodded his head, and those present stood from their seats. Everyone watched as Nick proudly escorted his daughter to the front of the church, and to the man who was about to become her husband. As they walked slowly together down the aisle, Nick was fighting back threatening tears. His smile grew wider when he heard the soft whisper of his daughter and he cleared his throat once more.

“I love you, Papa. I’ll always be your little girl, no matter what, Papa.”

I heard music bring a heart of stone to tears
I heard peace ring like an anthem through the years
And I heard hatred fall from grace
When I heard you whisper my name

A woman of forty-five was sitting in the car that drove through the valley of her family’s ranch and she sadly looked at all the changes that had taken place. Her husband continued to stare at her as he drove, he knew she wanted him to drive faster, but the roads were muddied over from rain and he feared they would get stuck.

He started to feel a pang of guilt in his chest. When they married he moved them away from her childhood home. But he knew that no matter where she went in her life she never felt the same as she did when she saw her family’s ranch. The ranch her father and uncle loved with all their being.

The car stopped in front of the large white pillared house and he took his wife’s hand. They walked to the big oak door and were greeted by her Uncle Heath.

“Uncle Heath,” she rushed into her uncle’s arms just as she had when she was a little girl. His arms wrapped around her and his soft voice soothed her just as it did when she was young. “How is he? I came as soon as I received your telegram.”

“He’s still holding on, he’s been waiting for you.” Heath quietly told her as his wrinkled hand pushed a raven curl from her face. “Go see your father, little one. The time has come and you must let him know that he can go.”

“I…I…don’t know if I can.” The grown woman felt like a little girl again as she stood in front of her beloved uncle and started to sob. She had always refused to entertain the thought she would lose her father and she wasn’t prepared for this moment. “I never should have left here. I should have stayed.”

“Shhh…none of that!” Heath’s voice was stern. “Your father only wanted you to be happy. Go to him, he’s waiting.”

Assisted with a cane, Heath slowly escorted his niece up the grand staircase. The staircase she had loved to play on as a little girl. She turned to her right and stood in front of her parent’s bedroom. She opened the door and was greeted by her siblings and cousins. Her Aunt gave her a fierce hug and then let her go to her father.

Nick Barkley was no longer the strong powerful man he once had been. The combination of age and a series of strokes had robbed his body of what it once was. He still had a head full of hair, but it was now snowy white instead of black. His breathing was raspy, as his wrinkled hand rose up, and beckoned her to his side. She knelt beside him with tears freely falling. His mind went back to the night she was born.

“The day you were born, I wanted a son. When I found out I had a daughter I didn’t know what I was going to do with you. Although I figured you could become the first woman rancher.” Nick started to laugh, but it turned into a cough. His daughter helped him take a drink. “I love you, my sweet one.”

“I love you, too, Papa. With all my heart, I love you,” she cried. ”I wish this day never came.”

”I know, my daughter, but it’s time now. I just wanted to see you once more before I go. Your Mama is waiting for me. I miss her.” Nick spoke sadly.

“And Uncle Jarrod, Aunt Audra and Grandmother, they’re waiting for you too, Papa,” she said choking back sobs.

Nick turned to stare at the family gathered around him. “I’ve been blessed with a good family. Heath?”

“I’m here for you, big brother, like always,” Heath’s voice choked as he stood on the other side of the bed and squeezed his brother’s hand. No words were necessary between these two men who grew old together. The time lost to them in childhood had been made up tenfold as adults.

Nick’s heart skipped and slowed down. He looked in front of the bed and saw his family that had gone before. They beckoned him. He knew it was time to go. Before he took his final breath he heard the word that brought him an overabundance of love…the word that could cause him to experience both pain and happiness…the word that he forever cherished…the word that carried him home.

“Papa? Papa, I love you.”

And I heard angels rise and praise
When I heard you whisper my name


Return to Homepage    Return to Barkley Diaries