Another installation to my Slowly We Ever Grow series. Enjoy!

Slowly We Ever Grow


For as long as Sapphire could remember, it had always been just the two of them. She knew, of course, that there had been a time where it had been three of them, and time when everything was new and frightening, but also exciting, no matter how short-lived. And of course, there was a time before her, when everything was bliss, but that…that was a long time ago.

She hadn't seen her father smile in a long, long time.

"You look nice today," he commented at breakfast. Sapphire paused, waiting. He said nothing more.

"Thanks," she finally said. She paused, then continued, "I have an interview today." Silence. "With a college admissions person." Still silence. She took a deep breath. "Pa…I-I want to go out-of-state for college."

Her pa nodded slowly, "That's good. A young girl like you needs to get out and find opportunities for herself." And then he took his finished bowl to the sink. That was it. No curiosities about where she wanted to go, no warnings to be careful, just…a simple nod.

He never said it, but Sapphire knew that her father hadn't been ready to raise her, especially not on his own. He always expected to share the experience with her ma but then she got hit by a speeding car. Even now, her father was still unaccustomed to seeing Sapphire around the house instead of her mum. Sometimes he would enter a room and stop, surprised and even a little confused, when he looked around and saw Sapphire. Or he would hurry nervously past her as though afraid she might intercept him. Sometimes at meals, he would squint at her as though he were looking for something. Sapphire knew he was looking for traces of her mum even though she resembled him more. In the end, he would always turn away, disappointed. She tried not to let him see how much it still hurt her.

The well-meaning but busybody neighborhood grannies would sometimes murmur about how exceptionally well Sapphire had turned out despite being raised by a single father.

"Poor man," they would cluck, "lost his wife so young. And now he has to raise his daughter alone."

And Sapphire would want to tell them, I'm alone. But she never did, because no matter what, she still loved her pa.

Some fathers had natural paternal instincts while others grew into them. Sapphire's father, it seemed, fit neither category. He hadn't been ready to be a father when Sapphire was born. Nor was he ready when, at the tender age of seven, she had asked where babies came from. Or when she was got her first period or when she had her heart broken for the very first time.

When she left for college, half a country away, he pa had simply told her "Good luck," as though she were leaving for an interview instead of leaving to be on her own for the very first time. He hadn't even wished her good luck when she went for her interview, as she recalled.


"Pa, I'm getting married!" Sapphire gripped the phone in her hands as she eagerly awaited his answer. At 24, she seemed to have everything going for her, a steady job, a loving boyfriend-turned-fiancé, and…

"That's…great." Huh? She frowned at the receiver.

"Pa, is everything…okay?" Her pa sounded…unwell.

"Is this that Dill kid?"

"It's Dylan, Pa. And yes." Sapphire told him, feeling relief flood her. Was that it? "I know you don't like him, but give him a chance Pa. He's sweet and he treats me right. Besides, I can take care of myself you know Pa."


And as he hung up, Sapphire's pa wondered when his little girl had grown up. And where he had been all that time.


He wasn't sure what it was about Dylan but Sapphire's pa didn't like him, didn't trust him, no matter how much his Sapphy seemed to, no matter how gentlemanly he seemed. Father's intuition, he supposed, which was sort of a joke, considering how much of a father he wasn't to Sapphy. Still, he wasn't entirely surprised, though very concerned, on his daughter's wedding day, when she made her way down the aisle and very calmly announced that the wedding had been called off. He watched his only daughter come back down the aisle in her wedding gown, a tumultuous storm raging behind her calm eyes and still face, the very picture of a beautifully tragic bride. And not for the first time, he saw something of her mother in her.

As he stepped forward, uttering his daughter's name, she barely noticed and walked right past him into the arms of her waiting and sympathetic friends.

He later found out from those friends that Sapphire had caught Dylan cheating on her and as soon as she had left the church, had gotten on the plane, by herself, to what was supposed to be their honeymoon. It broke his heart to think that, once again, his daughter had to go through life alone.


Sapphire had decided a long time ago that there was nothing left for her back home, so when her "honeymoon" had ended, she decided to continue traveling the world. She wrote to her pa every once in a while, though not very often, never expecting a reply, until her phone rang one day.

"…Sapphy?" She hadn't heard that name in so long, it added to the surprise.

"Pa? Is something wrong? Pa?" She repeated, worried when there was still no answer.

"No, everything is fine…I just wanted to hear your voice again. It's been too long Sapphy. And well…I'm sorry." Sapphire blinked, surprised and confused. Sorry?

"I know I haven't always been there for you and I've never really been much of a father figure to you Sapphire." His voice faltered. "I'm sorry. So sorry. More than you'll ever know. But I hope you do know…I want you to know that," he cleared his throat as if uncomfortable, "I care Sapphy. I do care very much about you. You've grown, right before my eyes, and you remind me more and more of your ma every day. Your mannerisms, your strength, your kind heart…She…" he faltered again. "Your ma-your ma would've been proud of you. I'm proud of you." There was a long silence as though he were letting his words register in her mind, before he continued talking.

"I know you've been taking good care of yourself for a long time now, so you probably don't want me telling you what to do. But…I'm worried about you traveling all around by yourself. You've grown up well, but I still worry Sapph. And. And well, I think it's time you came home." His voice softened as he stumbled over his words, "But of course it's your choice. I mean if you still need time to yourself I would understand. But I would like you to come home…And Sapphy?"

She could barely speak for the sobs that were threatening to spill past her throat but she somehow managed a watery, "Yeah Pa?"

"I…love you. I love you. But come home. Please." And amidst all her tears, Sapphire knew her father was right. It was time to go back. I love you too Pa.


Sapphire stood nervously outside the house she had grown up in. But there was no use delaying it any longer and finally she went in. "Papa?" She called out nervously.

"Sapphy," and there he was. She gazed at her father wondering when he had gotten so old, but then it didn't matter and she threw her arms around her father the way she never did as a child.

And when he hugged her back murmuring, "You're back. Oh my sweet, sweet girl, how beautiful you've grown," Sapphire knew she was home.

This took a completely different direction from what I had originally intended and is also a lot longer than I intended. I'm not really sure how I feel about this one, especially in the portrayal of Sapphy's relationship with her father. As per Jasminehoran's suggestion, I decided to include more dialogue, which I think worked well with the story; thanks Jasminehoran! I did have some issues with the long "monologue" Sapphire's pa gives near the end and I'm still not completely pleased with it, but I hope it sounds natural enough. As always, thank you for reading and comments and reviews would be greatly appreciated!