In her room that night, Cynthia’s mind was spinning thousands of thoughts. Possibly millions. It had been that way since her parents separated. Everything she did tugged at her heart. Knowing her parents were at odd, she had no choice but to behave with an indifference attitude. Treating her father like someone down the street – or worse. Ignoring him was just her first step in assuring her mother that she did not care for the other side. She needed to attack the queen bee – her sister. Starting senseless wars and keeping it that way over the years. The unbreakable wall, the untouchable line. A boundary no one could erase. She never looked back and never cared what others say or think of her. It was not a matter of jealousy. It was her best effort in adopting a mechanical personality, following her mother’s wish. She did not regret of her actions because she knew how much her mother cared for her. But tonight, she felt more than tormented. She did not want to remind herself what her goal was anymore. She did not want to think up of a new plan to sabotage her sister anymore. She only wanted to sit there and go over the memories of the day with the pictures they’d taken.
An hour inside her room was more than suffocating. It used to her refugee, her own place to think. Tonight, she wanted to get it out of her mind. She headed into the kitchen to find her mother sitting outside in the den. She joined her mother there. Her mother was looking up at the night sky, thinking about something.
“You want something to eat?” Her mother spoke up at last.
Cynthia shook her head. “I told you I ate already.”
“Not even a midnight snack?”
Cynthia shook her head again. “Actually…I want to ask you something.”
Her mother turned to her with traces of surprise on her face. “It has been awhile since I see your hesitation.”
Cynthia stopped hesitating – regardless of situation – since she turned 12.
“It’s something serious this time,” Cynthia justified.
“Go ahead, I’m listening.” Her mother had directed her eyes back to the sky again.
Cynthia had no problem with that. She did not want to be confronted so soon. “What if one day I end up getting along with her?”
Her mother gave her the deserved attention again. “What’s happening?”
“Answer me first.”
Her mother took a sip of water from her glass. Then looked away again. “I wouldn’t have any problems with that. I meant she’s your sister after all. I thought you were jealous with her for snatching your father’s attention in the first place. As long as you don’t talk to him, I don’t mind.”
That was it? Why was she so dumb to conjure up that plan since she turned 12? And she was never jealous. Like Cyndi did not lose their mother. They were not any better off – either way. Cynthia turned to her mother once again. “What if it’s a beginning for me to patch things up with him as well?”
Her mother’s head snapped toward her once more. “Then I could only wish that you won’t forget me. That you still stay with me.” Her mother got up at that time, stepping into the kitchen.
Cynthia followed her. “I’m just saying.” Her mask was back on. “Who would want to mingle with their type of people?” She had detected the loneliness in her mother’s eyes. She knew her mother was not ready for that big leap.
That night, Cyndi was going through exactly the same thing as Cynthia. Not exactly, but closed enough. She was also mulling things over in her mind. She knew her sister hated her since they were young. She thought it was because of their father’s attention that had triggered Cynthia. She did not want to fight Cynthia but Cynthia had gone over the line too many times for her to forgive. She had to fight back. She had to protect herself – even if that was her sister all these years. She hated bullies and being her sister did not guarantee a bulletproof vest. But today showed that Cynthia did not hate her as she had let on all these years. They actually had fun. They actually shared many similarities. It was not just Cynthia’s way of going against her, challenging her by wearing the same types of clothes or having the same preferences in many other things. It was a genuine likeness. She knew that through today’s shopping trip. Cynthia was really knowledgeable and did not show any fake signs for her passion. Was what Cynthia had done all these years all a masquerade? An attempt to trick all of them to protect herself from getting hurt?
Cyndi left her room after ten more minutes of lying on her bed and staring into space. She found her father in the kitchen, eating. He was busy at the office today and had late dinner – again. She knew he cared for her and her future so he had to work harder than anyone. She knew all that. She was not some spoiled girl who wanted his attention 24/7.
“Ba,” Cyndi called out.
“Hey, Princess,” Her father greeted her cheerfully. “Have you eaten yet?”
Cyndi nodded. “I ate with my friends earlier.” She saw his disappointed look. It was the only time they could share stories. She got up, grabbed a bowl and some chopsticks, and returned to the table. “But I could always have a midnight snack with you.”
Her father’s face lightened up again.
They continued to eat and shared stories of the day – like they always would at dinner. It was until he was almost done eating that she found the courage to ask.
“Ba…” She began.
He looked up, stopped eating altogether, knowing from her tone. She was serious.
“If…I’m just saying ‘if’, okay?”
“Go ahead,” He urged. He was impatient, he just wanted to know. She reminded him of her mother when she hesitate like that. It drove him insane trying to figure out what was really wrong but it ended up being some small matter. He had tried hard to control his tone of voice so the irritation did not go through along with his words.
“If I get along with Cynthia again, would you be mad?” She finished, her expression timid.
Her father had resumed eating again after knowing it was her dramatic episodes but he stopped and looked up at her like before. “What brought this on?”
Cyndi shrugged. “I just want to know.”
He knew his precious daughter was lying. Another trait she carried of her mother. She did not know how to lie. He let that drop anyway. “I have no problem with you getting along with Cynthia. But don’t go near that woman. She’s not your mother, get it? She’s not.” He had pointed at her to emphasize his position.
Cyndi nodded. “I’m just giving an example.”
He resumed eating though he knew it was a sign. A sign that his daughter was growing up. She was hiding things from him yet he only knew to respect her the best he could – however much space a parent could give his children.
Cyndi stared at her father. For some reason, she knew he had detected something. They had lived with one another for too long. She could not lie to him. But she knew deep down, it was not time to tell him. Not now. She needed to sort out her thoughts first.
© Sunday, December 12th, 2010
Posted: Monday, January 24th, 2011