All afternoon she’d been up in her room,
but no music.
The ceiling kept creaking as she stepped around,
I remember I paused for a moment in the kitchen,
to listen,
Straining my ears.
It was hours later when the creaking descended the stairs.

She stood there, staring below my eyes.
Too somber for 15, and cautious.
“Mom? Dad? Can I tell you something?”
She stuttered. She made me nervous.
I glanced at her father, 
Worried about her,
Hoping it didn’t show.
Rushing her words, she said in a breath,
as if it weren’t such a blow:
“I don’t believe in God. I never have. I just wanted you guys to know.”

He wasn’t even shocked.
I wasn’t crying.
My only daughter, my flesh and blood,
Damned in the eyes of my Savior. 

No longer a child of my Father.

My body crushed,
My empire crumbled,
A seat at my table, emptied.

“Well,” I mumbled, “If you change your mind,
you can always be forgiven...”
I couldn’t resist,
one hug and a kiss,
and I cried as she left the kitchen.

Sundays have never been joyful since.
The people, the sermon, the love--
The rumble of the organ 
grips my heart
and my lungs.
Believe what I know, and I’m forced to admit that I’ve lost her.
My life, my upbringing,
is nothing to her.
She doesn’t believe what we taught her.
Doesn’t care that it kills her mother.

How much do I really love her...
Could I drown myself in sin?
I’m lost, and torn between two worlds.
His, without her.
Or hers--
Without Him.

The End

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