“How is school?” she asked, pouring tea into a cup.
“Fine,” I replied.
She sent me to boarding school three years before that afternoon talk. When I was thirteen, my father died. My mother told the neighbors he was killed while in battle in a middle eastern country. The truth was he slowly withered away from a disease from the many women he took to cheap hourly hotels while my mother would stew in her chair, quietly knitting, feigning ignorance. She was denying her marriage was rotting from the inside. She built up this idea of perfection.
There was this photo of Mother, Father, and I standing happily in front of a woody scene in autumn in one of those posed pictures were the family dresses up and heads to the mall to smile hanging in the Guest Room.
That was how she wanted out family to be perceived by the neighbors. Rich enough to have professional family portraits and expensive formal attire. A wealthy army doctor, devoted housewife, and a well-behaved daughter. Perfect.
It was all a facade. Father was a prostitute loving drunk. Mother was nothing but a mindless, chattering socialite. Daughter was a lonely hermit.
Even though Father might have been considered a bad man, I loved him. I was lonely because he wasn't around as much as I would have liked, but when he was with me, I felt warm and loved. He called me Candy Cane.
It was my fifth Christmas. Grandma handed me a strange white and red cane shaped treat. I engulfed the treat, licking and chewing my way through. Since then, m...
... middle of paper ...
... probably horrid to see, but I just didn't want to hurt more than I already did.
“Good, you're on your way. Hand me the scissors.”
I held out the scissors as I heard the metal clank because my hand shook so much.
O'Maley smacked my hand and the scissors fell to the desk.
“You do not hand scissors blade side to me. You will hand them to me with the handle toward me. Pick them up and do it again.”
I did as she told me.
“Now, take your uniform, and go to the nurse down the hall. You're bleeding.”
I reached my hand around to my back and felt under my shirt. Then I moved my hand in front of my face. Thick, red blood flowed down my arm. As I took my new clothes and headed toward the nurse, I thought:
Mother, I have never asked for anything from you. I have hardly even spoken to you. Do you hate me so much that you would voluntarily send me to Hell?
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