My father was an Anglican priest. Look, it's not what you think. He wasn't a child molester. He never slipped into my room at night, or into my white bed beneath the wooden cross. He never asked me to whisper “Jesus loves me, this I know” as he pressed his cock against my thighs. He never so much as held me ten seconds too long on his lap.
He didn't beat me. I never knew a cane in a darkened study. He didn't make me kneel naked on grains of rice, reciting verses of Scripture. I have no thin silver scars on my back where Daddy would bind me in the chancel, stained-glass light sliding over adolescent breasts, and wield his whip again and again to the rhythm of my prayers.
Instead, I punished him for his dullness, his sameness, his neglect of me. I sat too close to him in the pew, my skirts too short, my eyes alight with his discomfort. Every week I crept into the confessional where Daddy waited in alb and purple stole, and I whispered things he'd never heard.
“Father,” I said. “I have sinned.” My imagination was limitless. I could hear his breathing change behind the screen. I could hear him shifting positions, could almost hear his blood pounding. I don't think he knew it was me.
I knew it was wicked to do it, to punish him that way. I prayed to stop.
“Our Daddy,” I said. “Who art in Heaven.”
No one ever answered.