Family Cornerstone

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“This is all your fault,” she said as she stood up, and walked over to the bed. “You ruined the only good thing I’ve had in a long time. I’m leaving”
She grabbed her bag and stuffed in a pile of clothes that was lying on the floor. Without another look towards me, she grabbed her necklace from the dresser and with her bag, started to open the door.
“Taylor wait,” I said.
“What? What could you possibly say right now to make me feel better? That you’re sorry you kissed my boyfriend? That you regret everything? That he didn’t actually leave without a goodbye?” She was crying now as she said, “I don’t think so Erin,” and slammed the door behind her.
I was still sitting on the floor. It wasn’t all my fault. I knew it wasn’t. It just sort of happened, and I didn’t know it would hurt her this much. I stood up and started to clean my shambled apartment. I was worried for my sister, but not to the point where I would run after her. After all she always got the best things in life. The better genes, the better job, the better relationships. I figured it was my turn to have a shot at a good thing. I guess not.
From the beginning of her beautiful life Taylor has been bothering me. My mother used to tell us that the day she was born, my dad and the two year old me went to see them in the hospital. As soon as my mom carefully put her in my arms, she started screaming. And it goes farther than that too. When I finally made it to elementary school, she would become friends with my friends. She was “so cute,” they all exclaimed, and just like that our playdates would include Taylor. It only got worse as we entered high school. When I was a junior, she began dating my whole grade. She ignored me in school, and all of my elementary school friends were now her friends. She was involved in everything social, and I was involved in everything academic. As I worked hard in school, studied hard out of school, and scored well on tests, she partied and barely maintained a B. As college approached, I applied and got into an amazing school. Two years later, Taylor shows up as my roommate. And now she expects me to take care of her.
That night after cleaning up the battle grounds, I decided I was done. I was not going to take it anymore. Then I got a call from my mom.
“Hello,” I said in a cheery tone.
“Erin,” a scolding tone.
“Yes mother?”
“Your sister called.”
“Really? What did she say?” I played along.
“Well she says you two got into a fight, and she’s coming home tonight.”
“Alright.”
“Well aren’t you going to tell me why my 24 year old daughter is coming home tonight?”
“No,” I said, and hung up. If my mom wanted to know the story, she could ask my sister herself.
I got myself into pajamas, brushed my teeth, and went to sleep. I slept well for the first time in my life.
Taylor’s and my childhood from the outside seems like a perfect one. Family vacations every summer, family dinners every other night, and a family portrait others were jealous of. But when it came down to it, we were dysfunctional at best. The perfect family was a façade, only skin deep. If you went any deeper than that, you would find the fighting sisters, crazy mother, and my dad, the rock. We hid it well though, and had a good reputation in the town. We were invited to all of the high society parties and attended them. Every family wanted to be somehow connected to us, and we were well liked.
Looking back at it now, I realize that this desire to be perfect created tension in the house. Somehow my dad held us all together when things started to get rough. When my mom threw one or her fits, and had to go to the hospital. He told everyone she was visiting family, and we all played along. The huge arguments that Taylor and I had were the hardest for my dad to keep quiet. No one was able to come to our house, and we had to tell everyone that we were busy at all times. Throughout my childhood, my father was the cornerstone of our family, but more stressed was put on him at all times.
Today I received a call from my mother. I answered cautiously because I hadn’t talked to her since my sister’s and my fallout nearly 3 months ago. She told me that my father had just died. I couldn’t speak. I started crying and told her I needed to hang up. I then called my sister and we talked for hours. Even when my father is no longer here he is still bringing our family together.





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