A teenage girl has her latest dreams dashed by her stepmother again…
“Of Ice and Men”
My heart was still fluttering as I placed the phone back on its cradle and I couldn’t stop smiling.
The boy I had a huge crush on had finally found the nerve to call and ask me to the dance. I couldn’t wait to tell my best friend as soon as I floated back down to earth.
I picked up my copy of “Of Mice and Men” that I had been reading for school and readied to leave the kitchen when, from out of nowhere, she appeared in the doorway with that look she only reserved for me. As usual, she had been eavesdropping and just waiting to pounce.
You see, I wasn’t allowed to have a cellphone like the others and since the corded telephone in the kitchen was mounted to the wall, there was no such thing as privacy in my world.
“What makes you think that I’m going to let you go to a dance Joy?”
My heart hit the floor.
Why was it that her list of rules for me were like moving targets?
“But…” I mentally debated how much I could say. Even the slightest question would be considered as defiance and result in days of angry consequences. “Amber is younger than me and she is allowed to go…”
Amber was far from being the quiet and behaved wallflower that I had been forced to become. But for whatever reason, Amber could do no wrong.
The slap across my face didn’t surprise me in the least. But the force of it made me fall to the ground.
“Get up! Now!”
I quickly scrambled to my feet, standing right back up and close enough for her to hit me again if she choose to do so.
“We’re talking about YOU, not Amber! You’re not going to that dance or any other dance while you are under my roof,” she spat at my face and eagerly waited for my tears. It always felt bizarre to know that the person who had helped raise me truly enjoyed making me suffer. “Call that poor boy back and tell him to ask someone better to that dance.”
When I didn’t reach for the receiver fast enough, she approached me and stuck her face just inches away from mine. She was so close that I could smell what she had had for lunch. She picked up the receiver and shoved the phone into my chest.
“The sooner you realize that no man will ever want you, the better off you’ll be. Call him!” she ordered and glanced down on my book that now lay on the floor. “The sooner you do, the sooner you can get back to reading “Of Ice and Men.”
Stupid uneducated bitch…
As I slowly dialed his number, I wondered how she could find such happiness in crushing whatever glimmer of joy that came into my lonely life. The hate in me for everything and everyone only grew greater with each passing day.
I hated my real mother for signing off her parental rights to my father before disappearing. I hated my father for dying and leaving me with this monster of a woman he had married seven years ago.
But most of all, I hated being called Joy when Lennie would have been a much better fit for me.
All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.