when i was a little girl -
i believed my daddy was the smartest man in the world.
he knew everything. everything.
if i had a question, daddy had an answer, and a good one.
his degree was in biology,
but he preached from a pulpit every sunday.
his friends, colleagues, congregation, all knew him as Pastor Brett.
to me he was just daddy -
and he was the smartest man in the world.
on days when i couldn't understand my own head,
(which were, and still are, very often)
and got frustrated with myself to the point of tears,
he would kiss my cheeks and promise me i wasn't stupid.
and coming from him, the smartest man i knew, that meant the world.
as years passed and i grew, my naivety remained with me,
and so i thought i was too smart to fall into life's traps.
i fell. i fell fast. i fell hard. i fell often. and i shattered.
each time, the smartest man in the world picked up my pieces
and reassured me i was still welcome in his home.
he never loved me any less, much to my bewilderment.
however, as my faults increased in frequency and severity,
he picked up my pieces now with weathered hands and weary eyes.
his smile was weaker, and a deep pain stirred in the chocolate irises behind his wire-rimmed glasses.
my deception morphed into vines that constricted and twisted and choked out the truth.
he poured out his love onto an underserving me, and said that God would still forgive.
but i, daughter of the smartest man in the world, am a fool.
and by my own two hands, i continued to sink.
he leaves me to pick up my own pieces now, not loving me any less,
but too weak, too exasperated, too heartbroken to do it himself as he always had.
he is done. he loves me and i know it. he shows it. but he is done.
my tears bore him. my half-true stories and pitiful excuses move in one ear and out the other.
he is stone-faced, no longer shocked by my confessions so i leave them unspoken.
his kisses, sear my flesh. his love burns because i know i don't deserve a single shred of it.
i wish he hated me. i wish we could fight. that would make things easier, right?
but he won't. he just won't. he loves me so much and i can't stand it.
but he is done. i broke my father, and his heart, for nothing.
he asked me why i do the things i do,
why i don't just stop it. why i keep on hurting him and my mother.
i didn't have an answer. all i had to offer the smartest man in the world,
was a dry mouth and empty hands.