“You’re a constant disappointment.” His voice boomed. “Now, she has the right attitude. Everything is done to perfection with her.”
“Casey didn’t get full marks!” Jenna retorted, defensively.
“She came first in virtually everything.”
“I came first in two subjects, dad.” Jenna interjected. “In Spanish and in Art.”
“Concentrate on the serious subjects. Those two are trivial.” His voice grew louder with frustration. “I just don’t know why you bother with them!”
Jenna hung her head, dejected. He carried on, his voice becoming quieter, slower and more deliberate. “Tell me, Jenna, does Casey take these two subjects you profess to love so much?”
She hesitated, before reluctantly giving her response. “No.” Shame enshrouded her.
“No,” he echoed. “And it’s a good thing too! She would probably have beaten you comfortably in your best subjects!” His laugh left a bitter taste in her mouth. “She knows better than to waste her time on airy-fairy subjects. She’s a good daughter. She obviously listens to her parents. It’s a shame you don’t.”
You haven’t listened to me in months. Not really.
“Casey only has eyes for what will get her far. She’ll be taking all the three sciences, maths and business studies. Good for her!”
Your dream subjects for your dream career.
“Now, she has great prospects. The world is her oyster. And she’s beautiful too!”
Jenna resisted the urge to look in the mirror opposite her and resumed fidgeting.
“Double whammy, don’t you agree?”
She nodded, never taking her eyes off of the floor. Her hair flopped in front of her face.
“Brains and beauty!” he remarked.
Why are you doing this?
He cupped her chin in his fingers and lifted her face to his, closely inspecting every detail. “You know,” he continued, brushing a wisp of hair behind her ear. “You can always get tips from her on how to look your best. She puts herself together very well and you could learn a lot from her.”
The words lanced through her like a knife. “Yes dad.”
“It’s out of my expertise, of course!” he laughed. He dropped his hand, releasing Jenna’s face from its grip. “Your face is plainer than I would have expected from our family, but there’s no denying you do have potential.”
Is that your idea of a compliment? “Thanks.”
“Now,” he shrugged back into the sofa, resuming his favourite position. “It’s late, and you haven’t even started to make anything for dinner.”
You’ve been home all day. Why can’t you do it? “I’ve got a lot of homework. Can you -”
“Shepherd’s pie would be great. Help me get over the shock.”
Jenna shuffled to the kitchen.
It was past one ‘o’ clock in the morning when Jenna finally completed her homework and retired to bed. Her dad had drifted off two hours ago, and she could hear faint snoring emanating from the room next door. She could not sleep. Her mind raced, replaying everything that he had said to her earlier. Why was he being like this? She wasn’t Casey and she would never be. But nothing Jenna did was good enough for him, not for the past few torturous months. Casey was one of her only treasured friends. Should she plead with her not to do as well, in an attempt to win her dad’s approval, or should she wilfully distract her from her studies, sabotaging her chances of constantly coming in first place?
You prefer her over me.
Jenna had made up her mind. She loathed Casey.
MEANWHILE…JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION (comments section below)…
- Is Jenna’s dad’s behaviour towards his daughter abuse?
- How is Jenna’s dad belittling her?
- Can parents who demand the best from you shatter your confidence?
- How do you cope, when your best just isn’t good enough for others?
- Is it good to compare people to others?
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