After Dexter’s birthday party, Lou realized she needed to have a conversation with her father. Her relationship with her father had been a rocky one for as long as she could remember. He was always yelling at her or mocking her, and she was always being tough- most of the time she would stubbornly ignore his requests of her, which just caused more yelling. She had never understood why he loved Dexter so much and constantly treated her like she was nothing more than the dirt she often scrubbed off of every surface in the house in an attempt to erase her pain and please her father. Nothing was ever enough.
And somehow, despite all of this, she had always loved living here with her family. She had always forgiven him, and still found love for him deep in her heart. And so she had to let him know that she was thinking of leaving someday.
She sat down with him after the party guests had left and everyone else had gone to their rooms to get ready for bed. Her face was long and her eyes were tired. He looked at her with curiosity, for it was rare that she would sit down with him to talk about anything.
“Dad, I know that we’ve never been as close as you and Dexter are, but…” She started, forcing herself to sound as self-assured as she normally is, despite a tremble existing deep in her core.
Before she could finish what she had to say, Leland was already raising a hand and his voice. “Don’t you DARE try to tell me that I love your brother more than I love you!”
“Dad, no, it’s not that, I know you love us both the same, but,” She tried to explain that their relationship dynamic was different, despite the equal love, but Leland was already upset.
“I have more than shown you that I love you. I have put an incredible roof over your head, fed you, bought you anything you could have ever wanted, and I certainly allowed for you to have one of the best educations that money can buy. I work hard every day in the garden so that we don’t lose these privileges that our family before us has worked so hard to grant us. Everything we have, everything YOU have, is because of me. You wouldn’t have even been born had I not had the sense to marry your mother when we found out we were expecting Dexter, unlike the decision you have made not to marry Belinda’s father despite how incredible he is.”
Leland’s last sentence stung like a knife, pulling it’s way out of Lou’s heart.
This time she didn’t yell back at him. She didn’t storm off like a tornado about to hit ground.
“You also made sure that I felt like nothing compared to my brother, and like I would never be good enough for you.” She whispered calmly, tears welling up in her eyes.
Leland sat there in shock at his daughter’s raw emotions being exposed.
When Leland didn’t respond, Lou stood up quietly and sulked upstairs to crawl into bed with the person she loved most in the whole world: her daughter, Belinda.