A young woman, roughly seventeen years old, with auburn hair, caramel brown eyes, a round face, and a dusting of freckles found herself exhausted as she heaved her backpack onto the couch. A long day at school had successfully drained what little energy she had started out with. Sighing, she retreated to the piano that was positioned in her front room. Playing a few songs, the noise mixed chaotically with the sound of her siblings arguing, talking, and bustling around. Although she never mentioned it, this bugged her. She wished she had a room to herself where she could fill the space to the rim with music, but that’s not how families worked.
Her father was in his office, likely on a phone call with a student and her mother had yet to return from nursing school. This provided the alone time necessary for the young woman to play and just peruse her thoughts. As she played, the young woman thought about her best friend, who was quite nearly the opposite of her at first sight. His name was Trevan; taller than her with hazel eyes, silky brown hair, a round face, an explosion of freckles, and the funniest, most considerate personality she’d ever come across. While she was introverted, he was extroverted. While he was bad at planning and preferred to wing it, she enjoyed planning the details. They had been friends for nearly three years now and it was surprising that they were still best friends. Unfortunately, the relationship wasn’t approved by her parents and she found talking about it to them impossible.
It was mainly her mom who criticized her for the choices she was making, but the young women didn’t understand what it was that she was doing wrong. Echoes of their conversations swirled around the young women’s head,
“I feel lied to and manipulated.”
“I don’t like who you are when you’re around him.”
“You need to figure out how to just be friends with him.”
“You honestly couldn’t have picked a better guy to like, but I don’t like the choices you two make together.”
“Do you really want to prevent him from going on a mission?”
The young woman sighed as the words kept slamming against the forefront of her mind,
“If you want to be a whore, then that’s your choice. If you want to let guys within five feet of you, then go ahead.”
“You don’t actually like him, you’re not his friend. You just want attention.”
“I’m sorry I’m such a bad mom, I’m just trying to do what I think is fair and I haven’t been the same since nursing school started; I’ve been so stressed out and impatient.”
“How can you be so selfish and inconsiderate?”
The young woman cringed at this, remembering what she had said in response to this question. Not everyone’s like you Mom, not everyone thinks of every person’s feelin-
Her mom interrupted her with an acidulous response, “Well, you must be pretty unique then.”
She released another sigh as she continued playing the white keys. She already struggled with feeling like she was a horrible person and not good enough, the things her mother told her never helped with this. What hurt more were the times when her mother would ask her why she did something, how she felt about something, or what she thought about a situation. At first the young women would begin to reply honestly about her negative opinions and thoughts, but she would be cut off and accused of attacking her mother to make her look and feel bad.
Slowly, over time the young woman grew increasingly bitter around her mother. She found that she had shut her mother out because she never received affirmation about her relationship with her best friend, only disappointment, snide remarks, and criticism. Soon, her replies to these questions became “I don’t know”s accompanied by blank, emotionless expressions. If she was not to be heard, then she was going to remain silent.
The young woman stopped playing, her fingers resting on the keys as her thoughts swam. There were so many things she wished she could tell her parents, so many things they said that she wanted to correct, and so many things they claimed that she wanted to prove wrong. She felt as if she stood inside a box, trapped by the rules they placed on her. She wanted so badly to jump out, to have her own mind and feelings. She wanted the freedom to make her own decisions, to find out what she wanted or should do. She was growing restless in their grasp and the longer she stayed there the more she got hurt.
The young woman shook her head, No, it’s not their fault. They’re doing their best and I shouldn’t complain. If they say it’s my fault then it is. I’ve obviously done something to deserve this.
Sliding from the piano bench, the young woman sought out a mirror in front of which she planted herself. In it she saw her figure, head to toe. A piece of tape covered her mouth, bold letters sprawled across it. Silence.
The young woman saw her mother in the mirror just behind her, smiling and nodding at the message on her face. When the young woman looked behind her, her mother wasn’t standing there, but there she was in the mirror.
A tear slipped down the young woman’s cheek, Glad I’ve finally done something right, mom.