Have you ever been madly in love with a girl who couldn’t do anything properly? Someone so ‘incomplete’, so ‘incompetent’?

Because she couldn’t walk without staggering or falling down. She is missing several teeth. She wouldn’t clean her mouth. She utters gibberish no matter how many million times you repeat a word for her. She knows no manners; doesn’t reply to your questions, ignores and embarrasses you in public when you spread your arms towards her. She is ‘ungrateful’, doesn’t understand your craving. Sometimes she cries when you touch her, for reasons you don’t understand. She kicks you and pulls your hair. Scratches your face for no fault of yours. She runs away to the mother when all you want is press her to your chest.

But then what’s wrong with you?

Because to you, her milky mouth smells the best as far as you remember. The pinch of her nails is your acupuncture. It takes the stale day away. You can’t get enough of her unintelligible, pretentious language. You secretly wish that she keeps talking like this forever. You rue that she doesn’t kick you enough, no matter how many times you have taken that pink feet in your palms with little curling toes, cold from her walking on the floor, and licked them clean. And never have you enjoyed your public embarrassment so much. What’s wrong with you?

She is difficult to wait for. In the evening, you snatch that lump of butter from the mother and rain kisses on her. Press her soft palm to your lips and smell her fragrant mouth. Make her little hands drum your cheeks. Take her tiny fingers and dig the uneven nails (you are too terrified to clip them properly) into your skin. Park your face in the folds of her neck. Press the little body against you as if she would somehow melt into you. Feel her softness consume you. When she laughs, you go mad. You lift her like a doll and keep turning her in your arms, flipping her, swinging her, tossing her, until someone snatches her away.You want to play with her, cuddle her, smell her, kiss her, until you want to do more of the same.

Because you really don’t know why and when you can let her go.

They say love has many names. That it comes in all shapes and sizes. All colours, packages, permutations and combinations. But they don’t know something that you know: that no one else will ever know what a daughter means to a father!

Unless they are father to a daughter. Like you!

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