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One Word

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It was like staring into the eyes of a gorilla and telling it that the banana it was eating belonged to me. Except that that I was staring into the eyes of my mum and saying one very simple word, no. The word echoed around the room like some never ending gong. Shock was etched into her every feature of her face.
'What?'
A bit of spit flew from her mouth and landed wet and thick on my cheek. I reached a hand up to my face and wiped it away, never losing eye contact with her.
'No.'
My mind was telling me to run, or to get down on my hands and knees and beg her forgiveness. Screw my mind. I stared defiantly back into her cold dark eyes and waited.
'Do you know who you’re talking to?'
A smile spread across my face. The amount of times she has asked me that was almost comical. She always asked it the same way too, like she was some higher power.
'Yeah, I’m talking to you, my mother.'
'Where do you get off thinking you can refuse me?'
Drool was running down her face, her hands were clenched at her sides and a vein was pumping away in her forehead. In a way I understood her annoyance but that didn’t mean I was going to give in. Anyone else would say she was overreacting. I just needed her to calm down a little bit.
'When I realised I make my own decisions, you don’t make them for me.'
My stomach felt hollow and there sweat was starting to form on the palms of my hands. What I was doing was stupid, I knew that. For some reason though, I couldn’t stop myself. Eighteen years of built up frustration and anger was finally being let loose.
'I am your mum; it is my job to make your decisions for you.'
'Actually, you are only my mother. You don’t deserve the title of mum. I need hardly add that even if you were entitle to the title ‘mum’ you would only help me make my decisions.'
My mother’s eyes flew open, her jaw dropped. So I knew that was a bit unfair. After all she was my mum; she had raised me, fed me and put clothes on my back. I was sick of living her life though. I wanted to start living mine. All of a sudden my dad spoke. He had been sitting in the shadows for so long I had almost forgotten he was there and I jumped at his voice.
'Charley, will you please listen to your mum. All she wants is what’s best for you.'
My dad’s eyes seem to be conveying more than the words he was saying. There was a sort of twinkle in his eye. I didn’t really know what it meant or even if it actually meant anything at all. In that moment though I imagined that it meant ‘Charley, I know that you want to go to Sydney and I want that for you too. Your mum just isn’t ready to let go yet. Could you just give her some time?’
'I know you guys want what’s best for me. I also know that you guys don’t want to lose me. Now those things aren’t always going to coincide but you don’t have to worry. I’ll be back whenever I can get back.'
Neither my mum nor my dad could come up with a response to this so I continued.
'I am moving to university in Sydney and you can’t stop me.'
'I don’t understand why you are studying marine biology anyway. You are such a good dancer, you could be a ballerina.'
'That’s your dream, not mine.'
I slung my bag over my shoulder and made a move towards the door.
'I am telling you to stay here and go to the dance school. You could be famous, rich, adored.'
'Well guess what, I don’t want to be adored or famous.'
'Please?' my mother whispered.
There was a glimmer of hope in my mother’s eyes. Like she could see my future, a future she wanted for me. It was almost worth giving in to see her happy. She would be so proud…but I don’t like ballet. I wasn’t going to be happy. I reached a hand out for the door and whispered one last word to my mother before leaving.
'No.'



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