I am a daddy's girl. I love my dad with every fibre of my being. Growing up if found him to be a rare cross between a best friend and a sage. His wisdom was always sound but he reasoned with me as an equal. Our bond grew when I was in high school. His office was very close to my school so we would commute together in the mornings and evenings. We never felt "stuck" in traffic because there was always so much to talk about, we would pick each other's brain about everything. I was up to date with current affairs and I was very much connected to the world around me because of our conversations in the car. When I did not understand something in the news, for instance, he would give me context, and we would engage it further. Often I felt that dad was far wiser than any news reporter and I was quite happy with us talking over the radio. I even recall a time when I asked him what it took to be the president. This was not a random question on my part. I genuinely felt that he had everything it took to run a country. He was kind, compassionate, caring, intelligent, honourable, hardworking, and the list goes on. I trusted him and I clung to his every word. I could not understand, however, how he came to marry my mother. I did not like her at all. I found her to be very harsh and mean, and generally unpleasant to be around. I recall a day when I had been so fed up with her that I blurted out "you know if dad were to ever cheat on you, I would not tell you". This obviously did not sit well with her. She confronted dad about it and accused him of cheating. When dad asked me why I said that to mom, I simply retorted that I wanted a new mom. At times I felt as though dad was overcompensating and that he had to be both parents to me. He was my shoulder to cry on when I was unhappy with mom, and he provided the love and support that I needed from her. I later learnt that he often reprimanded her for the way that she treated me. A big shift happened for me when I was 16 and dad was diagnosed with liver cancer. He had to get a transplant and he was not sure if he would make it. Just before the operation, he gave me his phone and the pin code, he told me who to call and what to say to them. He also gave me a list of all his bank accounts, assets, and his attorney. He told me how to take care of my little brother, who was only two years old at the time. I listened attentively. I stayed stayed composed and I took note of everything he had said. Somehow I knew that none of this information was necessary, I had faith that he would make it out alive and that things would go back to normal. He did, but nothing went back to normal. I realised then that mom was not dad's person. He could not count on her. He had trusted and valued me more his wife. I realised that I was his person. This was uncomfortable at first, but it quickly grew on me and never before had I been so sure of myself and my value. After high school I went to university in Cape Town. Hardly 3 months after my departure dad came to speak to me about "the situation at home". Things had gotten ugly between my parents and they were no longer sleeping in the same room. He asked me not to come home for the April holidays and promised to send money for me to explore the city. I obliged. When I did go home during the longer June holidays, things were tense and mom was even meaner than I remembered. I had failed all but one of my first semester modules and this gave her even more reason to treat me like Satan's spawn. The helper was my confidant at the time and she took it upon herself to update me on everything that had occured in my absence. Mom found out that dad had been living a double life and the he had another family down the road. She did not take it well. She suffered a mini stroke and then turned to church for solace. It was a mess. When I confronted dad, he denied it. He still thinks I do not know the truth, but he is doing a lousy job at hiding it and the helper has kept me up to date over the years. I moved back home after completing my degree and this is when I became my little brother's crutch. Between dad's affairs and mom's eminent preparations for doomsday, my brother was neglected. He began to suffer from anxiety and depression, and I was all he had. I could not move out until he was okay. COVID 19 forced my dad to stay at home. It was during this time that I came to learn how toxic he had become. It became clear that he only wanted me to become a property lawyer because he wanted free legal services, as he is a developer. I have been shocked a few times during lockdown but nothing tore my heart to pieces like the day I got accepted for an MSc in Ofxord University and dad completely divorced himself from paying tuition. My father and I are in a better place. One day we will have very honest conversations about his life. In the meantime, I have had to learn to love and respect him as his daughter.