Some Parents Just Hate Each Other More Than They Love Their Kids and You Can't Do Anything About It

Submitted into Contest #58 in response to: Write a story about someone feeling powerless.... view prompt


Drama Kids Funny

The Spring Concert.

What happens is once a year my mean music teacher, Mr. Bradford, buys himself a new suit and tie for it. It’s some weird way to convince himself he’s not a loser when his job’s end goal is making children sing slightly less off key for their parents. Spoiler alert, Mr. Bradford, if the highlight of your day is making my friends cry because they can’t hit the high notes (since they’re twelve and just trying to survive the second period) you’re already a loser. With a capital L. No suit bought on clearance at Macy’s can convince anyone otherwise.

What isn’t supposed to happen at the Spring Concert is this…

My parents had reserved seats at the center of the front row, right next to each other. I was in the back row of the chorus, so I wanted to get them as close as possible to see me. I had to trade Kylie my lunch’s dessert for a week to convince her to switch her parents’ reservation seats with mine. Second spoiler alert, it wasn’t worth it.

If I had known I was giving up five of my desserts for my parents to bicker loud enough to get forcefully removed by the gym teacher and placed on opposite sides of the audience in the far back, I wouldn’t have done it.

My cheeks felt hot as a few of friends noticed and started whispering while the band played. Both Mr. Bradford and the orchestra teacher glared at them. Like being quiet for the off-pitched violins was actually important.

My seventeen-year-old sister might be the only smart one in the family. She snagged a ride in her friend’s car home. Meanwhile, I was stuck with…

“That was all your fault, Richard,” Mom snapped at Dad.

“Me? You’re the one who brought up the debt payment again. Which, by the way, won’t have been a problem if you stopped going out to eat so often.”

“Sue me for having a social life other than spending ‘quality time’ on a ‘business trip’ with your assistant.”

“I told you, me and Samantha have been completely professional.”

Mom huffed at that.

When I first asked if I could also catch a ride with my friends—or at the very least, Kylie, even after that cookie scam—they told me they wanted to ‘spend this time with me to celebrate’. 

But they haven’t at all. Ever since they announced their divorce two weeks ago, they seemed to have forgotten their quiet voices. Everything’s just out there. Including their finances and the fact that they can’t move out since our town’s too expensive to move out into until they sell the house.

I leaned my forehead on the window, plugged in my cruddy earbuds—that don’t cancel out any noise—and tried to ignore them. Whatever. I’m used to it.


The one guaranteed burst of happiness I can get  in this house is Mr. Sugar’s Funtime Cookies. The company was once sued for being ‘too unhealthy’ and for being something called a carcinogen, but then they won the lawsuit so here I am. Waiting alone on the couch by the door for Mom to come home with the groceries and my latest batch of the should-be-illegal-but-they-hired-expensive-lawyers cookies.

Mom and Dad go out a lot—never together—and my sister disappears a lot so I get to crawl out of my cave-of-a-bedroom pretty often to sprawl-out all over the downstairs’ couch. I once asked my sister where she goes, and she shrugged and said “It doesn’t matter. It’s not like Mom and Dad would care anyway.” And she was right.

Ope, Mom’s car just pulled into the driveway. She’s getting out with a bunch of bags. I smooshed my face against the window. Key in the lock. Twist it. Come on, twist it already. She’s in!

I bolted from the couch to her bags in an instant. I frowned when I couldn’t find the one from Shoprite—it’s the only store that carries  Mr. Sugar’s Funtime Cookies. “Where are the Mr. Sugar’s Funtime Cookies?” I asked.

“Oh sorry, sweetheart, I didn’t want to go to Shoprite just for them. I’ll get them next time.”

I dropped the bag I was holding. Seriously?

Just as I was about to retreat to my room to watch my favorite TV for the hundredth time, my ears perked up at the sound of my dad pulling up in the driveway. I jumped to the couch and watched him walk up to the house with another load of groceries.

Does life give second chances?

Probably not since I was still stuck here, but I’ll forgive life if it just gives me my dang cookies.

He came in the door with!!!! Shoprite bags. Jackpot. “Did you get my Mr. Sugar’s Funtime Cookies?” I asked.

“Ah… no? I didn’t know we were out.” He gave my mom a look. “No one told me. You know, kiddo, this could be a perfect opportunity to try something healthier.”

Don’t try to turn this into a  ‘eat healthier’ lesson to cover your mistakes. I’m not an idiot.

Mom piped up. “I was gonna get them—” But you didn’t. “So you didn’t need to know.” Seems like it would have been helpful if he did.

“Whatever.” I stomped back up to my room, cookie-less.

I flopped onto my bed and pulled out my laptop when a new idea hit me in the face. I pulled out my phone and made a group chat with both my parents labelled ‘Grocery Shopping’. As a first text, I told them that the group chat was strictly to be used for talking about what groceries we had and who was going to what store when. If there are rules about fighting it in, it should work. Sometimes, they like to pretend they’re doing a good job at hiding their fights from me. I guess so they don’t have to feel bad about it.

Whatever. Satisfied with my work, I turned on my favorite show and patted myself on my back. Look at  me, Kathy Duncan: problem solver.


Except it never freakin’ worked! I sent out all the grocery texts about what I needed. I needed my cereal, frozen peas, bread for school lunches, and the freakin’ cookies. The best I got back—the best—was one freakin’ text from Dad that he got the cereal and nothing else. Nothing from Mom. She just flat out refused to be a part of anything involving Dad. Guess that includes parts of my life too.

Can’t drive myself home. Can’t go get my own food. Can’t get a job to buy my own food. And still cookie-less!!!! I'm gonna scream.

In fact, I did. Into my pillow that night. I know the pillow barely muffles anything, but they couldn’t hear me over the sound of their latest fight. I don’t even care about their dumb marriage falling around, I just want some dang food. This shouldn’t be impossible!

My sister, Anna, did hear me. My door was partly open, she dipped in, saw me, shrugged, said “Mood”, then kept walking. I screamed for any extra three minutes before my voice gave out. At least I had an excuse to not sing during Mr. Bradford’s next music class.

I huffed. Who was I kidding that he would even listen. No one does. It’s always like this. I’m so sick of it.


Fun facts. I live in Maine. In May, the temperature in Maine can range from thirty-seven to sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit. And I have been standing outside my school for the past twenty minutes waiting for one of my parents to pick me up. I live too far for the bus, and since my parents don’t trust a taxi driver to take me to school and it’s in their direction to work, they agreed to drive me.

And that’s everything that landed me in this situation.

I tried texting and calling them. All I got was ‘I thought your father was picking up today’ from Mom. A ‘your mother was supposed to pick you up’ from Dad. And a ‘I’m too far away to pick up, ask your father/mother’ from both.

I squatted on the curb, scheming up ways to get an Uber without money when my sister and  her friends came outside the school, laughing. Then, Anna spotted me, said,  “I gotta take care of this, don’t I?” and walked over to me like I didn’t hear her talking about me like I was a burden.

“What’s up, Kat? Where’s Mom and Dad?” She asked.

“Anywhere but here,” I said,  flinging my arms open to dramatically gesture to the empty pick-up lane.

Anna put her hands on her hips. “Yeah, I can see that.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I was helping some of my friends on stage crew make props for the play.”

“Is that what you’ve been disappearing off to do?”

“Among… other things.” She jammed her hands in her pockets. “Listen, my friend, Luciana, has her own car and stuff. It’s a beater, but she gives out rides all the time. She was gonna give me a ride home today. You wanna come with, or just stay here and wait for our parents to never show?”

I stood. “Come with.”

She smirked. “Cool, but we’re out of seats, so you’re gonna have to go in the trunk.”


Anna laughed. “Kidding! I’m kidding. We’re just gonna stack people. It’s much more humane.”


The house looked like a hollow shell of a home when Anna’s friends dropped us off. No lights on. No cars in the driveway. Random spiderwebs that weren’t there this morning (seriously where did they come from?).

Anna took one look at it, noticed me already heading up to it unfazed, sighed, and said, “Do you wanna go out biking for ice cream or something?”

That sounded better than doing homework or zoning out while watching my favorite show, so I agreed.


We went to Benny’s Blizin’ Ice Cream on 3rd Street. It was right next to Shoprite, where Anna get me some Mr. Sugar’s Funtime Cookies with her employee discount after some serious begging. Turns out ‘Among… other things’ included an after school job. I crushed a few cookies up and sprinkled them on my ice cream. Sugar coma, here I come.

We sat on a bench together and watched the cars go by.

“That one,” Anna pointed at a red car by the spotlight. “I’m gonna get a car like that one with my job’s money and drive the fuc—er, frick, away from Mom and Dad the first chance I get.”

“You are?”

I must have sounded shocked, because Anna said, “How could I not? Aren’t you sick of them fighting all the time? They’ve been doing it since you’ve been diapers, but staying ‘for the kids’. We all knew where they were headed to. Never shoulda been married in the first place, if you ask me.”

“Everything about this sucks ass. I feel like I can’t do anything about anything.”

“Watch your language.”

I glared at her. “Ass ass ass. Ass.”

She shrugged. “Touche.”

We sat in silence for a little bit longer, not used to these kinds of things. “You know, this is gonna suck until you can leave. Life’s a bitch like that.”

“Hey, language.”

“If you’re gonna curse anyway, I’m not gonna bother to censor myself anymore.”

“That’s fair.”

“Where was I? Oh yeah, it’s gonna suck. But maybe…” Anna ran her fingers through her hair. “Maybe I can make it suck a little less for you, alright? How about after every shift, I bring you some of those weird cookies you like?”

I shot up. “Really?!”



In the end, Anna kept her word. Plus, every now and then, when the fighting got too loud (since they’ve been having trouble selling the house), she would take me out for ice cream. And we would just watch the cars go bye until the day her car went by. And never came back.

I couldn’t expect her to stay. But she left me a lifetime supply of Mr. Sugar’s Funtime Cookies with a personal note from her taped to every box. So maybe, it didn’t suck as much as it could have.

I'll take it.

September 09, 2020 00:29

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Pragya Rathore
09:44 Sep 09, 2020

Wow, this story was amazing! It was funny in the beginning, but the subtle change in tone was done well. I can totally relate to the cookie part, because my parents sometimes used to forget to bring me what I asked for! My family situation isn't that severe, though. Great job with this one!


Lily Kingston
14:25 Sep 09, 2020

Thank you :)


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Sia S
02:51 Sep 09, 2020

Wow! I absolutely loved this ❤ 💖!!! Anna is such a good big sister. Though I'm kinda sad that Anna's sis has to stay with her parents all the time. 😔. Can I too have a lifetime supply of Mr. Sugar's Funtime Cookies ?


Lily Kingston
02:56 Sep 09, 2020

I'm happy you enjoyed it :)


Sia S
04:34 Sep 09, 2020



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00:35 Sep 09, 2020

Aw, I loved this story!! Anna seems like such a nice big sis. And now I want cookies 🍪😛


Lily Kingston
01:04 Sep 09, 2020

Thank you :)


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