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Peering Through a Store Front Window
“You guys sure you don’t want anything? I mean, if I have to go in and wait in that line anyway…,” Anya quietly asked as she exited the car.
“Na, we’re good. But thanks, girlie,” Michelle answered for both Mitch and herself.
“Ok, then.” Anya popped the door shut and made her way into the busy Starbucks. It was amazing to her friends that everything could be chaotic around her but she never did part with the languid air she had about her.
Neither Mitch nor Michelle said anything for a moment. Both were gazing out of the windshield of Mitch’s car after their Anya. It was midday and there were tons of people milling about the shopping center. There were so many sounds that it could give someone a headache if they focused for too long. However, Michelle pondered how Anya kept her cool when so much went wrong while Mitch was only concerned with how to protect her from everything that did go wrong. It seemed as though the two were immune to all the commotion around them.
“She got accepted into all those art schools. Did she tell you?” Michelle asked casually.
“I knew she would,” Mitch’s voice was almost a whisper.
“She’s terrified to tell her father though. She keeps lying and saying she’s waiting to hear from the law schools she never applied to.”
“You act like this fiasco is something new,” Mitch’s voice raised just slightly. It was only if you knew that voice well that you could hear the slight anger in it like Michelle could.
“I know it’s not! But that doesn’t make it right. That realization won’t make this miserable girl laugh again!” the anger in Michelle’s voice seeped out unmasked.
A silent moment passed between them before Mitch spoke again, this time Michelle had to concentrate to catch the words.
More silence. More staring through the windows of the coffee shop. Finally Michelle found words, calmer words, to let Mitch know they were fighting for the same team.
“I know she laughs, but it’s not true laughter. Yes, things may be funny to her and make her happy, but you know as well as I do that it’s not the same laugh. It changed. And it’s because of her father’s crazy dream.”
They knew it was true. They knew that ever since Anya had become a teenager, her father had one thing on his mind: making his daughter a successful lawyer that he could brag about to all his golf buddies every Saturday afternoon. It was like some big competition between all of them. It was all about whose kid would be worth the most to society in the long run.
“Her mom knows she wants to be an artist. That has to count for something right?” Mitch asked the question but knew the answer before he had spoken.
“You know how their family works. Daddy pays for everything, therefore daddy decides everything. And mommy just sits there and smiles like he’s her personal sun. She won’t say anything to the man of the house. Though I think the dog is more deserving of being called a man than the guy who pays the bills is.”
They both smiled because they knew it was true; sarcastic and humorous, but true. People continued to push into the Starbucks and the baristas continued to take, shout out, and serve order as fast as possible. Mitch and Michelle couldn’t see Anya as she was lost in the shuffle of thirsty patrons that filled the small space. Both continued to think in the almost silence. The only noise was from the radio overplaying the new Adele song.
“Maybe we should confront her. Intervention-style,” Michelle offered.
“It might work…for all of 5 minutes. Than we would drop her off and nothing would have changed. She’s got a backbone, she’s just afraid to use it. Unless it’s with you of course,” Mitch smiled as he said this.
It was true thought. Countless times Michelle had poked and prodded at Anya trying to get her to fight back. She wasn’t doing it to be mean, but simply to show Anya that she could stand up to herself. So far it had only worked when it came to random people at school and Michelle. In other words, Michelle’s plan had kind of backfired on her because Anya still couldn’t stand up to her father.
“How about we send an anonymous letter to her father? Like telling him about how he treats his daughter like garbage,” Michelle’s face lit up as she voiced her new suggestion. That girl simply lived for confrontation of any kind.
“As much fun as that sounds, I think it’d be best if we did make him angry. He just may lock her in the house with nothing but an LSAT book for the rest of her life.” Michelle pouted but agreed with Mitch’s logic.
It seemed like forever since Anya had gone in for a simple coffee. Black with one sugar, that’s how she always took her coffee. Michelle and Mitch loved their Anya-girl so much that they knew random, useless facts about her, such as how she liked her coffee.
“In all seriousness though, she seemed more depressed than usual,” Michelle tried to cover her worry but it was blatantly obvious to someone who knew her so well.
“It’s getting closer to graduation each day. She’s got to figure everything out to and soon. This living two lives thing isn’t gonna cut it for much longer.”
“I know it isn’t and you know it isn’t. I’m pretty sure she knows it too she just won’t admit it. I feel like nothings going to change unless we get nasty and aggressive about it.”
Mitch sighed at the idea of being mean to Anya. He cared so much that he wanted to protect her from reality, harsh or otherwise. All of a sudden there was a flash of Anya’s pale complexion. She had finally gotten her coffee and was making her way over to the island with all the sugar and creamer. His mind began to race. He wanted to keep her safe in her double world, but he wanted her to be truly happy and to embrace who she was, regardless of what her father wanted or thought. All of a sudden it made sense. All of a sudden Michelle was completely right. Nothing else mattered but this small girl and her huge dream. And that was the thing, it was her dream, not her father’s. He knew something had to be done and fast. As Anya exited the Starbucks, Mitch spoke swiftly.
“You’re right. We need to do something, today. Even if she needs us to stand behind her and give her a push.”
“Thank god! I thought you’d never give in! Okay so how do we begin? Seeing as she’s almost at the car,” Michelle’s voice had a slight sarcastic undertone, but Mitch chose to ignore that and focus on the excitement she expressed instead.
“I’m not sure. Let’s just wing it. Start with how she’s her own person and that’s who we’re concerned about. What her father wants or thinks is irrelevant,” Mitch said in a hasty whisper.
“Sounds like a plan,” Michelle said just as Anya reached to open the back door.
Anya got in and arranged her coffee and muffin on the floor so she could reach her seatbelt.
“What were you guys talking about? From what I saw it looked intense,” Anya giggled as she said this because she figured it was just another one sided argument that the two always got into. Michelle always started it and gave up because Mitch really wasn’t the type to argue.
The car got awkwardly quiet and Anya knew she hadn’t been quite right. In fact, it seemed as though their conversation had been very intense. Mitch and Michelle shared a look before Mitch silently backed the car out of the parking spot and circled the lot until they found the exit. It wasn’t until they were stopped at the red light just before the main street that one of them spoke.
“Listen baby girl,” Michelle began, “we have to talk to you…about your dad and this college thing.