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House of Mirrors: Chapter 6

Rachael Lavon

Sarah tells Laylee she’s no longer in school because of an incident involving cannabis. Laylee’s father sends a big check for the shul with Sarah

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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A aylee unlocked the safe in her closet and opened her jewelry box. Her hand hovered for a moment over the diamond earrings her parents had given her for her 18th birthday, then quickly dropped to the side. The conversation with them was still raw, floating disjointedly, bits and pieces raking painfully at her brain.

Sarah just needs to be away from the city for a bit… it will be good for her in Elmway… you and Gavi are so competent….” That was the word they kept using, competent. It irked Laylee.

They were supposed to be the competent ones. Parents are supposed to parent. They’d fooled themselves into thinking they had taken action and were doing the best thing for Sarah. But their argument crumbled as Laylee questioned them, revealing their fallibility. Their weakness mortified her.

She reached for the earrings Gavi had given her for their fifth anniversary and put them on. The past few days with Sarah moping about the house had been challenging, and Laylee had decided that avoidance was the best possible course of action. She quickly filled her time with vital errands, and stayed away as much as possible.

 She locked the safe, her mind returning to the phone call she’d had with Shiri after hanging up with her parents.

“They just kept saying that we’re ‘so competent.’ That’s it. No explanations, no advice. She’s their daughter and they literally had nothing to say!”

“Advice?” Shiri let out a little laugh. “Lay. Seriously? When was the last time Daddy gave you advice on anything but how to spend his money? And Mommy…”

“There was always something more pressing.” Laylee finished, unsure she wanted to have this conversation.

“Always.” Shiri paused for a moment, and then plowed on. “There was money and food and a sparkling house and darling housekeepers, but… sometimes I felt like we were six huge impediments who needed constant bribing. Listen, I’m grateful for my trust fund, Lay, but I’m also aware that I’m lacking… the most basic tools for parenting...” Shiri trailed off.

Laylee held her breath for a moment then hung up, just as the stench of elementary school washed over her. Sandwiches and pencil shavings, aging text books, insecurity. The slap of a jump rope against the tiled hallway. The flavor of uncertainty. Pretzels. Pain, guilt, uncertainty. It had been a long journey until Laylee figured out a recipe for self-preservation: strive to be admired from afar and never become vulnerable. 

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