A conversation

Father: Hey, kiddo, I heard the news. And I know that look on your face. C’mere. Wanna talk about it?
Child: (hesitating a moment before sitting gingerly on the bench, a safe distance away) I don’t want to complain or seem ungrateful. I was…I am happy with my life, at least when I view it in isolation.
Father: But? You’re not smiling like you were earlier today.
Child: It’s just…hard, when others have what I want.
Father: Hard to be happy for them?
Child: No, not that. Hard…not to wonder.
Father: (after a not unkind silence) Wonder what?
Child: (after an inner struggle) Wonder if maybe I missed my chance, or screwed it up for good.
Father: Hey now, you know we don’t use that kind of language in this house.
Child: (the dam breaks) But why is it so hard? Am I so demanding, did I ask for so much? But I was born this way and I don’t think I can make myself smaller to fit…I don’t know what. Fit in, I guess. Fit someone’s expectations of what is acceptable and attractive.
Father: No one said anything about being small. I gave you a broad heart, a deep soul, and a great spirit.
Child: Why, so everyone can take a piece of me?
Father: Not exactly. So everyone can catch a glimpse of me.
Child: Oh. Well, I gotta be honest, that’s not particularly comforting.
Father: I understand, and I’m sorry it hurts. That’s not the way I meant it to be, I promise.
Child: (after a moment’s hesitation, scoots closer and leans her head on his shoulder) Do you promise to fix it?
Father: I’m helping you fix it. Promise.
Child: Again, not that comforting right now. Sorry.
Father: You don’t need to be. C’mere.

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