He is always forcing me to socialize with her. To see if she—and himself—can win over my approval. I do not mind it as much as I did before. She is an awfully nice girl. Maybe a little too nice, even for him. As far as “gaining my affections”, she is sadly far from it.
Hi, my name is Margot Monroe, and right now I’m trying to cope with the aftereffects of my parents' divorce. I never wanted this, but did anyone ever stop to ask me? My once free life is now restricted by the words on a crummy piece of paper that was signed by some old bald guy in a black robe with a hammer. Two weeks for the rest of my young life I will have to spend on and off between my mom and dad who, not to mention, live in different states! This just cannot get any worse! I want to have a regular thirteenth birthday this year without it having to be divided among the two sides of the family. Everyone acts as though this arrangement is perfectly normal and life goes on, but my entire world is crashing around me.
It’s the summer of 08’ and I am super excited to be finally recognized as a full-fledged teenager now. I eagerly wait for June 27th to arrive when I can finally call myself the big thirteen. Usually, my summers are spent with my dad in Arizona. I like it hot, so the blistering heatwaves don’t really bother me as much. I come from Washington where my mom lives, and the temperature is extremely different. My parents’ use to live there together, but I guess my dad cannot take the cold and rain anymore and decides to move somewhere warmer.
I lay on my bed and stare up at my ceiling, tossing Beasley’s stuffed cactus toy up in the air. My TV changes to an oncoming new episode, but I really didn’t pay attention. The static from the old box crackles in the air. I catch the squeaky toy and squeezed it. Instantly, my little Dachshund comes tamping in on his stubby feet. I dangle the toy above his nose and smile. “Do you want this, boy,” I teased. “Stand up for me.” Beasley lets out a yelp and rises on his hind legs. I toss him the toy, and he gladly scampers away.
“Margot, honey, can you come downstairs for me please?”
I sit up with a confused look on my face. Now, what can it be? I slip on my slippers and click off the TV before slowly make my way towards the living room. I didn’t know what to expect. With it being only a couple of weeks before my birthday, it most likely can be an early surprise gift! I try to contain my excitement and collect my expressions back to a calm demeanor. I stop just before the entrance, hidden in the corner pass the stairs. My fists are clenched and my heart speeds up. I am anxious as to what it is that my dad wants to show me. I draw in several deep breaths and walk inside to see two people standing in front of me. “Dad, what’s going on?”
My dad wraps his hand around the waist of the foreign woman. “Margo, I want you to meet—”
“Lisa Thomas,” the mystery woman finishes his sentence. She reaches out her hand to me and I coldly stare at it.
My dad cleared his throat, hinting for me to return the handshake. “No,” shoot out.
“No?” My dad’s startling reaction hits me like a bundle of daggers. “Don't be rude, Margot.” He squeezes his grip tighter around Lisa’s waist, comforting her.
I clench my fist. I can hear Beasley yipping in the background. I think he could sense my frustration. “How dare you!” I blurt out. “How dare you try to replace mom!” It didn’t sound so bad in my head.
The looks on their faces drop. Lisa, now in tears, excuses herself to go to their bathroom.
Dad glares at me with his huge eyes, “Margot,” he snaps, “that was extremely rude!”
“It’s not my fault,” I snap back, “I don’t want her here! I want mom back.” I let my head hang low.
My dad comes over and kneels beside me. He places his hand on my shoulder and sighs, “Oh, sweetie,” he starts, “look, I know how much you miss mom around and—”
“Why did she have to leave? I don’t understand!”
“Sweetie, your old enough now to hear the truth. We got a divorce because we saw that we get along better apart.”
“That doesn’t make sense.” I clench my fists again. I didn’t want this new woman to live with us. I want my mom to move back in.
“Sometimes in life, people grow away from each other and move on—”
“And you’re okay with that?” I interrupt.
He nods, “I am.”
“Everyone is acting like it’s okay and it’s not!”
He stands back up, “I wasn’t okay with it at first, in fact, it was really hard for me to understand it myself, but I learned to grow strong and keep my head up.”
I stand there silent. I didn’t know what else to say. Lisa come back into the room and wraps her arm around my dad. She tries to speak out, but nothing comes out. They exchange awkward glances right in front of me. Lisa moves over and we make eye contact. “Margot,” she starts. I glare at her. She clears her throat and continues. “What you and your mother have is special. I can never take that away nor do I ever want to replace it.”
“Then, why are you here?” I blurt out again. I notice my dad shooting me a look as to knock it off and I lower my tone. Lisa seems to brush it off.
“I know this can be difficult to deal with, but I promise you that I’ll do everything I can to make it easier for you.” She flashes me a smile which oddly puts me at ease. She extends her hand out to me. Her smile grows wider.
I didn’t know what to do. I stand there feeling struck. For years the hurt brews in my heart and now it feels like I am being given a second chance at trust again. Reluctantly, I grab her hand and smile back.
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Robyn, this feels like a very personal story and really does capture the angst and anger of a young girl struggling with her parent's divorce. It's very raw and real, I think that you did a great job of encapsulating her feelings toward the situation. The only suggestions that I would make would be to do a quick spell check as there were a few spots where that made me stop reading for a moment; also, there are several instances where the tense jumps from past to present which can be distracting. Overall, your story was a very good read.