Laura said, ‘Hi,’ and followed with, ‘Bye.’ She breezed in the house, then out again.
‘How’s it going?’ I asked.
She was vague, not much to say. She used to tell me lots, included me in this and that.
‘Talk to me?’
She squirmed, hadn’t the time.
‘You’ve changed,’ I said. This argument had wings, and it flew. It seemed to her that I did not like her enjoying herself, did not like that she had a life.
Our volume of arguments increased. She was snappy, self obsessed, had acquired an arrogance I did not recognise.
Seeds crammed in Laura’s head had started to grow. Seeds sown by Mr 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, with a smile on her face.
It broke 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.