"He pulled a cigar from his mouth, said ‘I smell lawyers here … ‘ "

Too long since I’ve known anything. The older I get, the less I seem to know.

I do know that Kalista loves me. I’m beginning to think my mother loves me less the more I hurt her. Can’t seem to find a balance to keep her happy. But Kalista loves me, and I hope the two will have a healthy relationship.

That will make them both happy, I implore.

But there’s always more – and this is a feeling I have in more cases than this – that can be done … always another level, a new pedestal to reach. This sours what’s actually been accomplished.

There’s no professor who’s grading this paper. No way to tell if what I’m doing is right. Maybe it’s all that’s left. I yearn for a gauge of some kind.

This is why people retreat to the mountains and the Everglades and the bayou and lands of ice. We want to know if we’re doing well – if society, of all kinds, approves – and not finding it or estranging ourselves from it altogether can be frustrating. If only I had the faith to measure the happiness expressed in Kalista’s eyes with my heart.

I do not look to avoid sadness. I look to make sure my daughter is as happy as she possibly can be.

And that is how I fail, in my own eyes.

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