Say… love

Jocelyn James

Very much liking Daddy’s smile wasn’t enough. The glow of it illuminating the screen. His deep brown skin, surrounding the whiteness of his teeth. The way his eyes balanced strength and subtlety. Hard features and bone structures. Big lips and bold nose. The weird juxtaposition of words, telling Daddy I very very much liked it when that wasn’t enough, when that wasn’t honest.

“Say love.”

  “I love it Daddy.”

“Me too Baby.”

This is the part where I love Daddy. Drift into him and return in too late in time for the traditional love story. I’ll die with cats and stories. Stories about Daddy and cats that meow when I try to create new ones. Cats that keep me lonely guarding doors, allowing no men friends but him. They’d remind me of my solitude in his absence. Empty arms as Daddy embraces his children, his woman, his life. Empty arms once Daddy has outgrown me, like a once new pair of jeans that just didn’t fit anymore. You like them, you even love them, but now you must pass then to someone else; typically someone younger, smaller, lesser than you.

“There has just been an idea of myself and I how I see my future Daddy.

As far as marriage and kids and family and so forth…”

“You just cancel all that out Daddy.”

“I’m just so focused on you that I can see myself not seeing

anyone else….”

“I realize one day you will need more. When that time comes, when you need a ‘normal’ relationship, I want you to tell Daddy. OK?”

“Even then, I won’t walk away. You’d still love.”

“*Leave. You’ll feel like you’re taking something from me, making me

unhappy and you’ll leave doing what’s ‘best’ for me.”

It took Daddy a few minutes to reply to the green chat bubble. I imagined him staring at the screen, searching for words.


“Pay attention…. I won’t walk away, unless this is no longer where you want to be. When you are ready for ‘normal’ a real bf, marriage, children, simply say so.”


Daddy suggest, that even then, even when he is not the only man in my life, when more than our three things (God, family, school) are distractions, that he will be there. He won’t walk away, he won’t leave. I won’t believe that so easily.

When I met Daddy, I promised a friend back at school I would give him a chance. Light skinned, 6’4, athletic build. Boyfriend was only 3 years older than me. He was focused. Paper perfect he had a 3.7 gpa, started on the football team, rented his own apartment and owned a silver Challenger. His apartment was clean and maintained, nicer than most student apartments I’d seen.

He spoiled me, sending random gifts and surprises. Black wedges that made me stand at least 5 inches higher, a pretty asymmetrical red dress with a deep v cut, 4 bundles of virgin Brazilian wavy. Boyfriend gave me nice things. And I gave him unreal promises. I told myself once we got closer, got back to school, things would be different. I’d start to care, I’d embrace him, be normal. Daddy had a main, she lived with him. She had history with him. Kids with Daddy. Years of Daddy. And I needed years of someone, someone to give me conventional love. So I shielded boyfriend from the dots existing between Daddy and me. I promised him dots. I thought dots and Daddy and boyfriend could all coexist.

But Daddy doesn’t share. With boyfriend, I was to tell Daddy everything and never mention boyfriend unless asked. When Daddy said,


“He is there and I am here…”


I offered to make arrangements with Daddy, he could regulate how often I see him, what he is able to get from me…

 But Daddy doesn’t share. Even though he said would, for me he would, he couldn’t. When I was three hours away from Daddy, I traveled to boyfriend’s house. I spent the night at boyfriend’s house. And Daddy couldn’t.


“One day when you are ready, you will meet a boy, a good boy, most likely a preacher, who will make you his wife.”

Daddy wouldn’t share his views on politics, race or religion. He’d say they were too extreme. He’d say I wouldn’t understand. He’d say he didn’t want to argue or debate. About a week ago, white words popped up on my iPhone screen.


“By midnight I want every password to every social media account you own. Are you ready for that?”

Following his demand, I offered up my privacy.

By the following morning Daddy had read every message sent to me through Facebook messenger.


“Has Pastor James Hurston in any way been too flirty, too touchy or just too much in any way?”
“Just answer yes or no Baby.”

“Yes Daddy.”

“You think he wants to fuck you?”

“If given the opportunity.”


Days later Daddy had posted a video about a Rockford pastor being in a young girl’s inbox. The pastor was thirsty, offering her money, more suggestive than a pastor should be. Daddy held the camera the same way he did when we video called. He shared the same background of his black suede car seats, lighting sneaking in through the windows.

 “Even if a man can preach his ass off, have the perfect sermon and make you feel good, that does not mean he is the man for you to follow. Be careful and use your own wisdom. Follow God and use your own wisdom.”

Daddy would tell me he was picking his girls up for church, reminding me of their arrival when they got home. But Daddy never went.


“My Baby is going to marry a short, chubby, jolly, high yellow preacher lol.”

“I don’t like short people, chubby people, jolly people or preacher

people lol.”

“I like Daddy.”

“We complete each other Baby. We wont leave. We………..each other.”


Daddy had given me the dots one evening before bed. It was after a video call. After we both had stared at each other’s images. Smiling silently like two school kids trying not to be caught. Everyone was asleep, his children, his woman, his world. We had to be silent.


“Goodnight… I………”


I asked Daddy what he meant and he said I knew. And I knew.


Months ago, before he shared those dots with me, I was given a command. The white letters in green background read:


“I am your Master, Daddy, Dom, not your boyfriend. DO NOT fall in love with me.”

“I like Daddy best.”


For a 19 year old pre-k, I liked Daddy better. Daddy was more innocent, less of a reminder of the world we prepared to indulge in. I always found something sexy in calling my man daddy. But Daddy wasn’t my “man.” He was a man, that ruled my universe but lived elsewhere. I was not allowed to fall in love. Weeks later Daddy told me:


“If I fuck you, make love to you — raw — you will fall in love.”


I could feel myself slowly drifting downward as he typed these words. I imagined this was how a crew on a sinking ship would feel. Grabbing for items, looking for lifeboats. A scene from The Titanic pops into my mind. “Women and children,” said the middle aged man gasping the strings connected to wooden lifeboat. People scurried around him, piling atop of each other. I was female and child and now I was falling.


“Shhh… You love me…”


It was after we first physically met and fucked. Just a month after he told me not to fall in love. When these words invaded my screen, I felt like I knew Daddy. As if the air he breathed was a calm and mellow breeze. Like Daddy had shaded my world a new hue, while letting his colors burst. Reds and yellows and blues all bleeding into white words, all lingering in summer’s cool air. I inhaled Daddy. Lived the words he said. I followed his rules, met his demands. Not because I was forced, not because I was scared but because the gentle, squally wind against my spine felt so sweet. Heavenly hurt, love taps that stung but didn’t bruise. Hurt for pleasure and hurt for discipline. I did love Daddy, but even weeks since he told me these words, neither of us could say it.


“Do you count the dots?”

“I count those dots every second I breathe.”


Every second, every minute, every hour, every day. Those little green flickering dots had complete dominion. Like a drug, I craved them, watched them, waiting for words to appear. Waiting for Daddy. His thoughts, his mind, his truths to be laid out in of front of me. To be an exhibit, allowing me to cautiously examine. “Do not touch the art work” “Do not fall in the love with the displayed piece.” Ignoring the warning signs, I surpassed the threshold and crossed the line.


“I love you Daddy.”

Hours had passed and he hadn’t replied. He hadn’t said anything back. I needed him to respond, I needed Daddy to speak. He was silent while I said words meaning worlds to me. He sat lifeless while I breathed my love into him. The love he denied and danced around. He brushed my words aside, probably in the arms of woman he truly loved.

I started to feel like the iceberg was crashing into me. My ship was sinking. “Women and children,” I heard a voice call. My color started to dull as I drowned and was pulled under. My face was covered with black and filth and loneliness. Daddy was silent when I confessed my love. He probably too busy distributing himself among his children and his woman. His love had to be spread and there wasn’t enough for me. This was end, this was it. Daddy was started to fade as I regretted replacing the dots.


“Sorry, I fell asleep.”