Reza and I were standing in the kitchen yesterday when she came up to me, dipped her head, and gave me the longest hug she’s allowed since she was about eight years old.

We stood there and swayed for a while as she softly cried, trying not to sniffle and unable to keep the tears at bay. I rested my head on top of hers and closed my own eyes.

“I’m really going to miss you, Dad.”

“I know, baby,” I told her as I stroked her hair. I held her tight, but not tight enough that she’d suffocate.

“I know I don’t say it a lot, but I love you.”

Shh. You don’t have to. I know you do.

“I don’t want you to go, but I know it’s for the best.”

That doesn’t make it hurt any less.

___

She’s in her room now, sleeping, while I’m packing books and trying hard not to wake her. I have never loved that young woman more than I love her today.

 

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