“You don’t understand” she wails. “Nobody understands”.
“Is it school?” I ask. “Have you fallen out with someone? Did something get stolen?”.
In reaction to my questions, she screams: “Leave me alone. It’s nothing. I’m always crying. I cry all day every day. Everybody hates me. I’m sick of people asking me what’s wrong.”
“Well when you are ready to talk come and see me” I leave. Go to the kitchen, clear up, start to make dinner.
“Come and sit next to me mum, while I do my homework” she says, calmer. I sit next to her. I touch her little hand, her long delicate fingers.
“That’s a lot” I say.
“Oh yeah” she giggles.
“Christ you are going to end up an alcoholic on top of everything else” I mutter.
“On top of being mad you mean?” she taunts.
She sits in the rocking chair, tiny, pretty, her blood red lips stand out from her powdered face.
“I can’t stand it when you cry” I admit “even when you were a baby, I couldn’t stand it.”
“They are creepy” she says “some of them flirt with me. You shouldn’t be interested in men that flirt with me. Why can’t you get nice boyfriends like my friends’ mums”.
I feel helpless. Only one flirted, possibly, or maybe he was merely interested in the thoughts of a young person. What can I say? Of course they are going to look at her. She is young and beautiful. I feel such a failure.
“But what about the nice ones?” I say “You were horrible then too. By embarrassing me in front of them”.
“Why do you do that?” I ask.”Why do you make it difficult for me even when you like them? It’s not very nice.”
“I’m not nice.” she says “I don’t care about other people”.
“Go away” I say. “You will feel bad about this one day. When you are out every night and I’m in, growing old on my own, you will feel bad.”
Tears prick my eyes.
“That’s never going to happen” my 14 year old says ” I will never go out. Nobody likes me.”
“See. That’s why we can’t talk.”