a Daria ficlet
The woman fussed with the girl's coat and scarf. It was cold out, after all -- had just snowed the night before -- and she wanted to make sure she was properly bundled-up before letting her out to play with her friends. After all, her daughter was all she had left.
All I've got left, she reflected bitterly, and all I've got to show.
All she had left from, or to show for, a failed, loveless marriage. Matched by a career that had stalled as she'd unfailingly driven everyone around her away with her lousy attitude and horrible people-skills.
"I really hope Rachel's not there at the park," said the girl sullenly. "She always tries to take over and get everyone to do what she wants, when I want to--"
"If you're friends it shouldn't matter who's in charge," interrupted the girl's mother. "Friends are worth keeping, even if it sometimes means not getting what you want. Back in high school I had a friend. She was my best friend, the best I ever had."
The only one I ever had, thought the woman to herself.
The girl rolled her eyes. Not this one again.
"It was like that through most of high school," the woman continued, "even though I really didn't deserve it, as many things as I did to sabotage our friendship, mostly because I didn't get my way as much as I wanted. Still, she put up with me -- I don't know why, she could've done so much better -- until we were most of the way through. Then she went and got herself a boyfriend, senior year -- a real one, not just some guy she was dating. Well, I just had to have him for myself! There was no way I was going to stand being second-best! So I plotted and connived and, finally, I managed to steal him from her. Well, of course that was the end of our friendship...there was no way she could forgive me for it, and no way I deserved to be forgiven. I lost the only real friend I ever had because I was so jealous and self-centered."
She was really talking more to herself than to her daughter by now, as she continued. "And I know just why I was like that, too, though I didn't figure it out until years later. It was the fault of an uncaring parent with no real idea of just what kind of job they'd undertaken when they'd had children. Or maybe it was just a case of passing on what they'd gotten from their parents, doing to me what'd been done to them!" she continued, her voice rising and growing louder as she began to become angry at the memories.
"Hell, maybe it was even genetic, monsters breeding monsters! No end to it, one after another down through the years!" she continued, beginning to rant.
"Raise a daughter who could cope with the world? Oh, how could she do that when she was too busy turning her into a hateful little bitch!? Thanks a lot, Mother!" she continued, railing against the person she blamed for her problems and losses.
Her daughter, the front of whose coat she was still hanging onto, began to pull away. Her mom always made her nervous when she got angry like this.
"Sandi," the girl began, "--uh, I mean Mom," she hastily corrected herself, remembering how her mother preferred to be addressed.
At the sound of her daughter calling her name, Sandi pulled herself back from the past, composed herself, and even managed a smile, of sorts, as she gently cupped the sides of her daughter's face in her hands.
"I'm sorry, Quinn," she said. "You know how Mommy gets sometimes -- it's got nothing to do with you."
She let go, stood up straight, and continued. "You go out and have fun, and remember: if you're friends, it doesn't matter who's in charge today."
"Whatever," said Quinn, headed for the door. Her mom sure could be weird sometimes.
Sandi watched her daughter leave. All I've got left, and maybe my last chance.
Disclaimers: Daria -- the television program, the character, and all ancillary characters -- is the property of MTV/Viacom. I'm just borrowing them for awhile, for noncommercial purposes.