Bella said hi then bye. Breezed in the house, then out again.
‘How’s it going?’ I asked.
She was vague, not much to say: used to tell me all, included me in this and that.
‘Talk to me?’
She squirmed, hadn’t the time.
‘You’ve changed,’ I said. The argument had wings, and it flew. It seemed I didn’t like her enjoying herself, didn’t like it, that she had a life.’
Our volume of arguments increased, she was snappy, self obsessed, acquired an arrogance we did not recognise.
Seeds crammed in her head, started to grow. Seeds sown by The Big I Am: little shoots of discontent. Family life was to be laughed at, derided as pathetic.
She viewed her family ties, her bond with us, through his eyes, he demanded it so.
Problem: our unwillingness to let her go. To give our blessing to her moving in with him.
She resolved it: stoked and prodded an altercation, until it blew. We had an audience that day, my husband, her dad.
I hear her words today, the shock I felt back then, ‘You have no idea how vindictive she is, when you’re not here.’ Her cold blue eyes directed at Dad.
‘How dare you,’ I spat. Our argument grew out of control.
‘That’s it,’ Dad said, returning her stare, ‘pack your bags and go.’
She did, as was her intention.
It broke my husband’s heart to throw his daughter out. I was complicit: ‘six of one and half a dozen of another,’ he said.
How misguided he was.