This is my entry for Flash Fiction. The prompt was Bad Parents. Let me know what you think! I need feedback.
From the start I knew I wasn’t wanted. Momma was fair with lips as red as apples and eyes as blue as the skies. “My fairest Claire,” as daddy would put it, he loved momma more than anything. Daddy was big and strong with a smile full of dazzling white teeth. My sisters had hair the color of silken honey and skin as smooth as milk. They looked like a family of beautiful, porcelain dolls.
I was different. I had short, black, frizzy hair and dark skin. I was pudgy and didn’t look as pretty in matching outfits with my sisters. Why do I look like this, I would ask momma. “I don’t know, dear, that’s just the way you were born.”
“Am I pretty, momma?” I would ask her, and then watched as downcast her eyes and turn her back towards me.
I knew she couldn’t love me like she loved my sisters, her “prized dolls” as she would call them. Daddy didn’t like me much either. He barely said anything to me at all. He never hugged me, kissed me, or even showed me his perfect smile. He didn’t even like me calling him daddy, he said he would much rather be called by his first name James. I always thought it was silly, why would I call my daddy by his name?
Every night I would lay down and pray to wake up and look like my sisters, all I wanted was to be loved. But every morning I woke up, still dark, and with a hair that sprung out in coils in all directions.
My sisters were my only solace. They treated me like family and always tried to help me fit in. They would slick back my hair as straight as it would go, and powder my face with momma’s make up so I would look lighter. And each time momma would come in and scream at me as she yanked me into the bathroom and shoved my face under the running sink.
“Why do you hate me momma?” I would cry as she harshly wiped my face clean with a rag. She threw the rag down and walked out, leaving me a crumpled on the floor, sobbing and dripping wet.
The days would go on the same until the summer finally came and it was time for our annual trip to Grandma and Paps near the beach. It was always so bittersweet to leave home because I wasn’t treated much better there either.
When we got there I watched as my sisters got hugs and kisses from my grandparents. I walked up the stairs and said hello which in turn got me some pats on the head. We unpacked and got ready for a day at the beach.
The beach was one of my favorite places to be. While everyone was having a grand time and enjoying each other’s company, I wandered by myself into the distance. I closed my eyes and breathed in the salty sea air and felt the mist hit my face. I imagined myself as a beautiful princess in a huge castle. Where I had servants to tend to my every need and a mother and father who loved me dearly. I was jolted back to reality by my sisters calling me back since we were leaving. It’s a good thing they were here because I wouldn’t put it past my parents to leave me “accidentally.”
After we had all cleaned up, my sisters and I were playing dolls in the playroom. We had tired of that and decided to run out back and play on the tire swing that Paps had built. My sisters ran ahead as I trudged along behind them. As I was passing Grandma’s room I heard faint voices talking. I stopped and listened, it was momma.
“I don’t know what to do anymore. He keeps calling as asking about her. He wants to see her,” she said. “I hate that I’m being put in this situation.”
Then another voice responded.
“Well you should have thought of that when you sinned outside of your marriage with that man. You should feel lucky that your husband didn’t leave you and that he provides for that girl of yours,” said grandma. “Take her to him, maybe that’ll help you get rid of her.”
My heart stopped. Were they talking about me?
“You didn’t really think you’d get away with this, did you, Claire?” grandma continued. “The girl looks nothing like the rest of you.”
I ran back to the playroom and threw myself onto the bed, sobbing.
I spent the rest of the vacation alone.
When we returned home all was normal for a few days. Then one day momma came and had a talk with me. She told me my daddy wasn’t really my daddy, that some man named Richard was. I looked at her with pain in my eyes and sobbed into my hands as she watched, not offering any comfort. She told me that she would be taking me to visit him in the morning.
“But momma I don’t wanna go, I don’t care if this Richard is my real dad, I wanna stay here,” I pleaded. But the next morning she packed a suitcase for me, she wanted to make sure I had clothes in case I got dirty, and ordered me to say goodbye to my sisters. They were as confused as I was, I would see them later when I got back anyway.
We drove up to a small, brown house. Reluctantly I got out of the car and momma had to pull me to the door. She dropped my suitcase down and knocked hard. We heard the door handle jangle and the door creaked open. Behind it was a large, dark man. He had no hair and several stains on his white shirt. He smiled when he saw me and invited us in.
Momma shook her head. She turned me towards her and bent down so she could be eye level with me.
“You’re going to stay here and get to know your dad for a few days. Make sure you mind him and be on your best behavior.” I started to whine as she gave me a quick hug. “You’ll take care of her?” she asked the man. He nodded in agreement and took hold of my hand. I tried to pull away as I watched momma walk quickly to the car. I yelled at her to let me go home with her as tears streamed down my face. The man pulled me into his dirty, smelly home. Sobbing I watched her drive off from the window and heard a click.
I turned to see the man opening my suitcase and taking out my clothes as if to go put them away. I saw all of my good Sunday dresses and my favorite toys. Why would she pack those if I would be going home in the next few days. Surely I wouldn’t need them here. I followed the man to a tiny room that smelled of dirt and had a small bed in it. He hung up my clothes and turned towards me, “Welcome home,” he said.
I never saw my family again.