I valiantly fought tears, perfectly sure that he would be out any moment now. He had to be! I thought with a groan that Abby would have known what to do. Then I had a sudden vile taste in my mouth, and I knew it was because I’d thought about Abby again. She was perfect, apparently. Perfect enough for my dad to let her live with him while he visited me occasionally and was always angry when he compared the two of us. Well, he was always angry. The tears started to fall again like they always did when I realized how insignificant I must be next to Abby.
The truth had to come out sooner or later, and it hit me now like a lightning bolt. It wasn’t my dad that I hated. After all, he was still my dad. It wasn’t his girlfriend either, because I’d never dated him. It was their daughter.
Abby and I had always gotten along fairly well, although we’d really only seen each other four times in the past six or so years, but now the emotional breakdowns when I’d left made sense. I’d always thought that it was because my dad didn’t try to stop me when I left. Now I realized that I’d been so upset because I was desperately jealous of my half-sister. And I was really angry at my dad now.
After all, until I was eight he’d let me believe that I was something special, that I was his only daughter, his oldest daughter, and his youngest daughter. Then at eight came the shocking news that had ripped our model family to shreds, and the news involved a girlfriend, nine-year old daughter, and a lot of misused funds. I was too young to entirely understand, and no one ever explained it to me as I got older.
Suddenly it was all making sense, and making me sick. Tears were cascading down my cheeks and I was half gasping while I connected the dots hesitantly. I wasn’t his only daughter, and I wasn’t his oldest daughter. He and his girlfriend had two more kids, so I wasn’t his youngest daughter either. I was nothing to him.
Of course, after the divorce, my mom had been preoccupied and away a lot of the time including pretty much every time I was awake. Chad wasn’t there, although I tried to spare myself the pain of two massive realizations at once, and I had no one. It was no big deal. I’m a big girl, after all. I don’t need anyone. For some reason, though, this was much different. It was as if I needed someone to help me.
The only time I’d ever needed anyone was when that person happened to be Nathan, my older brother, but since he was in college now he couldn’t be there. I didn’t blame him, either. He’d promised me that when he graduated next year he would take me somewhere else and take care of me, which was a situation I wasn’t sure I had ever been in.
All of this was too much self-pity for one day. Replacement by my perfect half-sister, meaning nothing to my dad, being let down by my new friend, and realizing that I had never really been taken care of by themselves are giants. I took a deep breath and realized that I’d squeezed my eyes shut. Opening them slowly, I was startled to see someone sitting next to me silently.
I quickly reviewed my recent thoughts to make sure I hadn’t prayed for an angel to come help me, then my very ability to think disappeared when the person looked at me.
“Chad! You’re here! You actually came! I mean, you were serious! It wasn’t all a joke? You’re actually–” I stopped short, seeing the look on his face changing from helpful to extremely worried. I slowly started again. “You’re the only friend I’ve ever had that was still friends with me after meeting my dad.” When he nodded understandingly, a horrifying thought came to mind. “Wait. Did you meet my dad?”
When he nodded, I was sure that everything was over and he was just dragging it out. “He told me that you had just had a huge fight with him and were extremely disrespectful to him. Then he told me that he suspected that I’d told you to tell him off, and I said no, but next time I see you coming I will.”
I can promise that my smile at those words was brighter than the sun, and since it was noon now, that was sure saying a lot.
*NOTE: All characters and events portrayed in this story are purely fictitious. And resemblance to actual people or events is entirely coincidental.*
Next part next Friday! Title suggestions, names for various characters, or other questions, comments, or concerns can be left below, or you can e-mail me at the address on my contact page.
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