It’s Sunday, so I saw C. I was hoping to bring her down to see Maths Ma’am, because I want to leave money for C with her and C will need to feel comfortable to take it. On Saturday, she sent a note down (despite our exchange of texts these days) and said she had too much work.

As is par for the course.

The thing is that I don’t know if C is anxious about this meeting and then catastrophizing about her workload or if she is expressing a real need. She has expressed legitimate fears in the past that dismissed as paranoia. And she has also been simply paranoid.

So I said I’ll come up and if you have too much work, it’s okay. I will give you hugs and kisses and come down again. But please think about it. This is important to me. That was the gist of it. That was Friday night, I guess, when the part emerged.

Saturday, I happened to meet her friend as I walked home. C had impositions for getting a low mark on a test (as did the friend). So that was the work. Later, I sent C a text encouraging her: You’ll finish them. Don’t worry.

“About to finish,” she answered.

That was a lie, it turned out, but okay.

I went up. I had been texting her throughout the morning. Things like everything is okay. I am not mad at you. You are okay.

Close to the time to meet her, she stopped reading. Maybe she went to lunch. More likely she felt really scared. I didn’t know if she would be able to come down or not, but I thought she might, so I took a taxi. In the taxi, I wrote that I was coming up and everything was okay and I wasn’t mad.

I got to school and was looking around for her. Some boys called to me and said C was in the canteen, so I went there. One thing I noticed was that I felt a lot less scared than the last time this happened. I walked into the canteen and it was full of girls, none of whom I recognized or greeted me. I probably looked less worried than the last time I did this, and it also felt different. I didn’t have that eerie paranoid feeling like I have just walked into a haunted house by mistake, which frequently happens to me when I go to meet C and anything unexpected happens.

I didn’t at first see her but I saw a familiar National Dress top and a posture that seemed potentially like Punishing Parent mode. It wasn’t. It was C’s cousin, and as I approached her, I saw C sitting there. Her eyes lit up. I am sure mine did too.

I sat there for a few minutes, and then said something about coming down. Oh, but she hadn’t finished her impositions. She had 10,000 left to write. I laughed a little and said no, you really can’t come down then. Next time…

I felt happy. It was this great big wash of pleasure all through me. This has happened to me at other times, but it felt less dissociated and more a part of me today—ironically, more real and less consuming. I sat there just savouring it. After a while, I realized C was feeling the same way. She was talking about something with her friends.

After a while, I thought of the taxi driver whom I had told to wait. I didn’t actually have money to pay him—the ATM was broken when I went right before coming up. I needed to go down with him. I told C I had better go. I got up to hug her, and she reached for me and put her head on my chest, the way she often does. Only this was in front of 20 or 30 girls, most of whom I did not know.

It felt wonderful. It was this wonderful moment of connection somehow. This is my daughter, and I love her. If you don’t like it, fuck off. I have really never felt something like that before, like a sense of belonging to someone and having that person belong to me. I have never had that feeling that I belong to this person, so your opinion of me is less important. I have never had that feeling of pride because I belonged to someone and they belonged to me. I didn’t know what belonging really felt like, or what it was. There were flickers, of course, but nothing like this.

So I am just savouring it now.