I was 8 and I was a spitting image of you. 
I had your jet black hair, & your just a little bit to big nose.
& I undoubtedly looked like the only female version that could only be you.

“I was truly a daddy’s little girl, because you were the single most important person that I loved with all of my world, I talked about you endlessly, & told anyone that would listen how my dad owned the worlds greatest restaurant.”

You didn’t have a lot of money, but you would never tell me that.

You made sure to instill humbleness into me by your “Talks of rice” when me and my brother would play rock, paper, scissors over who would ask if we could get Chinese. 
You would always say, “We got sandwich meat at home, kids in China would steal for a grain of rice!”

To me, you were rich in not only money but your love and laughter that you always showed me.

I lived with my mother, but that never stopped you from driving the endless distance it took for you to get to me.

You had a dream of a restaurant where you were the cook, & I was the server. At only 8 years old people thought I was the cutest thing ever.

Leann Rimes was coming here, and all I wanted was to go.

You & me, taking on the world to get to the concert that my 8 year old self thought was the best day of my entire life.

I got the picture with her autograph, and sat there mesmerized, as I was in the same room as my favorite artist ever.

“That night, you were the best dad, any little girl could ever have, and I was going to tell the world about it.”

One day, Depression over took your little girl, and you did not know how to cope, and I did not know how to tell you that I did not want to live anymore.

You spent the money you had on the doctors, begging them to just “make me normal” but normal, was not a word, that my vocabulary knew.

So, I learned how to hide the depression of the daughter you did not know.

It would start there.

The day you stopped being the best dad any daughter could ever have.

I don’t believe you ever truly stopped being that dad, I simply believe that you didn’t understood how to grieve the daughter you once had.

The day you bought a black corvette, would become our silent relationship.
It would become the single thing we loved to do together.

You would drive, and I would listen. 
I can still tell the stories to this day.

Those days grew my love for music. We connected over the albums of Alan Jackson, Journey, & Sara McLachlan.

“The top was down, the music was loud, and we never spoke, we just drove. 
The music was our secret conversation, and the song was the mood of me, and it’s how you knew if it was good or bad, and if you needed to worry or not.”

We never spoke of my thoughts, we never spoke of your thoughts.

One day, you stopped driving, and I stopped listening & our relationship suffered once again.

At 16 I became the helper to the servers at your dream restaurant.

I was now becoming the daughter of the best dad again.

Our relationship was blooming, and I was happy once again.
You were no longer grieving, & I was no longer depressed.

Then came the night when would I decide I didn’t want to be a girl, but now, a woman.

I changed my mind a minute too soon, and it was too late.

I drove home that morning scared, afraid, not knowing what to do.
I talked to the brother that would help end the relationship of the best dad a daughter could ever have.

You were mad, you were livid, you said things you did not mean, and I found the bottom of a bottle of pills to cope.

I took way to many, because dulling the pain for forever was what I needed to do.

“Your grief came back, and I hid my secret!”

I became the daughter that no dad would ever want, & you became the dad that no daughter could ever need.

I tried my best to promote the daughter you needed me to be;
but I needed to find worth inside the pants of another man to prove to you that I controlled my own body.

“ I said no! I clearly said no, but I laid there, Never fighting not even for a second.”

At 16 I had no idea that your body has it’s own reaction to fear.

My body’s reaction; Freeze.
It’s what I did; it’s all I knew.

“I released my secret one time only to hear, “ You put yourself there, and you didn’t fight so shut up you were not raped””

I never spoke of it again, and I never gave you the benefit of the doubt to know the truth.

I needed to let you think that I was irresponsible, and had sex with men whose first name is all I knew.

I never told you, when I would go to my little job as a cashier, he would come in and go through my line, buying nothing but orange juice.

My heart would drop into my stomach, and I felt like I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, it was my secret to bear, and I had to keep it!

Every time, he would say, “I just want to make sure we’re still okay?”

My fear of him, was so much bigger then my desire for you to ever know the truth. 
At 16 years old, I did not think you would protect me, I thought you would judge me.

I turned to sex, to help myself understand that I was the one in control of my own body, and I had the power to say yes or no.

“That would be the day our relationship died, once and for all.”

You are the master at saying you love me, at saying you are proud of me, but you are not.

I used to think, that you didn’t believe in me, that I was not good enough for you, me, or anyone for that matter.
But what I know now, is that you did not understand.

& For that I will always be eternally sorry.

Because, I took away your right to be my dad.

As our relationship ended you became colder and colder into the father you are today.

Sometimes I watch, as you laugh with the servers of your restaurant knowing that you wish they were truly the daughter you wish you had.

I have spent so much time, wanting to be accepted & loved by you! From the way I styled my hair, to the clothing I wore, I needed for it to make me the daughter you wanted.

Last year, you closed the doors to your dream restaurant.

I was working there every day; our relationship finally becoming again, what it was when I was your happy 8 year old little girl.

“For the first time in what seemed like my whole life, I was the daughter you wanted, and I knew you finally loved me!”

The day you closed those doors, was the day I lost my father.

I have held on to the anger of you closing the doors of not only that restaurant, but to the relationship we finally had for far too long now.

I don’t know if I can ever be the daughter you want.
& I don’t know if you can ever be the dad that wants his daughter.

Just know, that through all of the hurt & pain of the lies & truth, the unanswered texts, & the missed calls,

“I will always hope that I can one day be the daughter you want & need.”

Love you always.

Your Daughter.

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