They day after my 8th birthday my father told me that I was his favorite and I believed him. He was in his office at his desk grading papers when I walked in and told him I didn't want to be his Princess.
"Why not?" he asked as he took the glasses off his face and set them down and looked at me perplexed.
"Because princesses don't play sports and I want to play basketball!" I said definitively.
He laughed. His laugh was deep and billowy. It always seemed that it came from deep within. He got up from his desk and walked over to me and kneeled so he would be at eyelevel.
"Soph, you can still play basketball and be my little princess. That's what makes you a special princess. You're not all prissy like the others."
"You mean like Kamryn. She's prissy."
"You're sister isn’t prissy. She's just not into the same things you are."
"She's spoiled. I know she's you and mommy's favorite. Cause she likes to read and does all good in school and stuff."
He got up took my hand and walked me over to the leather sofa in his office, sat down and put me on his lap.
"Both of my daughters are very special and I love you both very much. But you want to know a secret?"
"You're my favorite Sophia."
"Nuh uh. You're lying! You're a teacher and all smart and stuff and Kamryn looks just like you!"
"And you remind me of the first woman I ever loved, your mother. A sassy, wiley spitfire."
I smiled. "So really daddy, I'm your favorite?" I asked again.
"My favorite Sophia in the whole world," he said as he kissed me on the forehead.
It wasn't until when he died that I realized that he played on his words. I was his favorite Sophia, but then again I am pretty sure I was the only Sophia that he knew. Its funny how this story came to me as I made Kam's coffee this morning. The morning after Ethan broke her heart, though she didn't know Ethan and I broke her heart a long time ago. I wonder if I would still be Daddy's princess if he knew that I broke his favorite Kamryn's heart.
I loved my sister. We typically got along pretty well and when we were angry or upset with each other we knew each other well enough on how to deal with it. We were so different, her and I. She was easy to talk to. Dainty. Classy. She expressed herself openly and sometimes dramatically. I was abrasive. Rough. A guy's girl. I held everything within.
"Coffee ready?" Kamryn asked interrupting my thoughts.
"Almost. Want to go shopping today? A new pair a shoes is the best cure for a broken heart!" I said with a smile.
"Shouldn't you be studying or something?" she asked with her ever so obvious judgmental eyes.
"It's a special occasion," I said rolling my eyes. Here I was trying to be nice and her asking me about studying was her way of pointing out my failures. I hated school mostly because I didn't see the point. I guess I can understand her frustrations. I mean I am a 6th year undergrad at the University of MD. I've changed my major 3 times. I just didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I don't think I can pinpoint a career out of all the things that I love.
"Seriously Soph? You've got to decide on something." she said filling the awkward silence; reading my thoughts.
"I know Kam. But we aren't talking about me. We're talking about you. So what are we going to do today to cheer you up?"
"We aren't doing anything. You are going to do homework or study or write a paper one of those things I'm sure you should be doing. And I am going to work on my piece for Essence. I have a deadline." she grabbed her cup of coffee and started to walk away.
"You can't run from this, Kam and hide in your work. You have to deal with it."
"And you can't run from growing up. You have to deal with it," she said as she left the room.
What was the point? Why did it all matter? Especially when you couldn't be with the one you loved. I got out my phone and texted Ethan, playing dumb.
"She told you how she felt didn't she?" I texted him.
Twenty minutes later he responded, "Yeah."
I laughed. Only because he knew I wanted more than just a yes or no, but he wasn't going to give it to me. He liked it when you worked for it; whatever "it" may be.
"Did you tell her about us?" I texted back, pretty confident of the answer, but just asking to make him think about the us we used to be.
"I told you I wouldn't," he responded.
"Thank you." I responded. Then his next text stabbed me. "How is she doing?" he asked. When I wanted him to think of me he was thinking of her.
"How do you think?" I replied.
And as if he knew he messed up, he replied, "How are you doing?"
"How do you think?" I replied again. Part of my response was out of spite, the other part out of truth.
Guilt was like gangrene. It spread and infected you quickly. But how can you amputate your heart?