I’ve been working feverishly on these toys all week. I’ve had a couple failures, but once I got some good designs I’ve made as many copies as I can.
So far the kids are liking them, which feels good.
While I am very happy to be putting smiles on the children’s faces, I am feeling pretty stressed. For starters, I’m really getting homesick. I long for the comfort of my bed and the smell of my sheets. I miss the sound of the lake and the bugs that chirp incessantly in the evenings. There is none of that here and I’ve been losing sleep. The other thing is…
I stopped working and sighed. I don’t know what I expected coming here. We haven’t spent any real time together since the plane ride. You know, I get it, they have things to do, but seriously I’m only here for a week and am leaving tomorrow. Both of them are just go go go all the time.
I started up hammering again. I’ve had a lot of time to think while working on these toys, and I realized that even when I did travel with them it was like this.
My hammering got harder. They are so caught up in their work and they just expect me to be fine on my own.
Why don’t they see that I’m not fine! The final hit of the hammer produced a crack from the mass of scrap and cloth.
“Shit.” I murmured. I’ve ruined this one.
Sweeping it aside I got out some fresh materials.
I heard my mom come in the room, probably to gather some ingredients for dinner. Breakfast, Dinner and when she came to inspect my creations were the only times I had been seeing her during the day. She was always running around tending to washing, helping get meals ready, and teaching lessons to the kids. My father stays holed up in his office working on paper work or inspecting rooms making sure everything was up to code. The fact that they were doing pressing tasks is what held me back from just….exploding.
“You know” she started. “I am so glad you found something you could do here. I knew if you just came along you would see where you fit in.” She smiled at me in a way that I thought I would surely be sick.
I placed my hands on the table, feeling my temper rising. “I didn’t need to come here to find out I could make toys, I have a work table at home if you hadn’t noticed.”, I stated through clenched teeth.
“I did notice since it takes up most of the living room. It took you coming here to get your inspiration though, wouldn’t you say?”
“I don’t know Mom, I guess.” I relented.
“Nessie, dear, what’s wrong?” She asked, reaching for my shoulder.
I stepped away quickly. “No, don’t…touch me. Don’t pretend you care about how I feel.”, I spat, my voice quivering with fury.
Her eyes were wide with confusion and hurt, which made me even more upset. She doesn’t even realize why I’m mad, she is completely oblivious.
I unloaded on her. “You are unbelievable. You left me to fend for myself while you took care of children who aren’t even yours! You don’t know anything about your only biological child! If you knew me, you could have asked me to help years ago. I could have made these toys, Mom, if you would have seen my potential instead of just writing me off.”
She struggled for words as I stared her down. “Nessie, I…I don’t…I didn’t…”
I stormed past her, not in any mood to listen to her stammering some excuse about how she didn’t know.
Once in my room, I collapsed on the bed letting my tears fall freely on the pillow. I just want to go home.
After some time passed I heard my father’s voice. “Nessie, can I come in?”, he asked tapping the door.
“No!” I replied.
The door creaked open.
Throwing up my hands in defeat I moved to give him room to sit down. “Come on in.” I said with a snarky tone.
He looked down for a moment and took a breath before beginning.
“Nessie, I love you. You are my daughter and I want you to be happy. Your mother…”
I huffed, turning my head away, causing him to pause.
“Your mother”, he continued,”wants the same thing. I feared this, you know. I was apprehensive about letting you stay behind because I didn’t want you to feel neglected.
“Then why didn’t you do something when I started to feel that way?”I asked incredulously
“I didn’t know Nessie. Really.”
There it is, he didn’t know. How is it that they can see the needs of every forgotten and broken child except the one right under their noses.
He continued, “You have always been quiet and reserved and when we visited home you never made any indications…”
“I shouldn’t have to ask my parents for their time!” I screamed at him as I stood up.” I shouldn’t have to say that I’m feeling neglected. You should have seen it. You should have known. But you don’t know me well enough to see it.”
The pain etched in my father’s face made me regret saying that last part, as much as I meant it. I turned away from him and cried bitterly, distressed that I had hurt them both like that just from finally voicing my feelings.
My fathers arms wrapped around me, “I’m sorry Nessie, I’m so sorry.” He stroked my hair softly.
“Hurting you is the last thing we ever wanted to do. You were so independent as a child, always quiet and keeping to yourself. I thought that things were how you wanted when we left you at home.”
“They were.”, I sighed.”For a while…I never had a choice on being independent, Dad, even when I traveled with you I was alone. Don’t you realize that? Didn’t you miss me?”
“Of course I did..” he started, but I cut him off, turning to face him.
“Didn’t you ever want to stop leaving me?”
His eyes were full of anguish. He turned and walked to the bed, slumping down on it and letting his face fall into his hands. “God, how could I have been so blind. I failed you, Nessie. I don’t even know how to express how sorry I am.
I never desired to leave you, but I thought that was what you wanted so I let it go. Our work really took off and left so little down time…
When we visited you practically avoided us, I just chalked it up to your independence. You never said…you needed me.” His voice cracked with those last words.
I looked at him with pity as he rambled, imploring me to understand his side of things. I reflected on the times when they would visit home. Once I started feeling overlooked I hadn’t given them much chance to make it right. I thought about all the times they asked how I was doing, and I gave a curt ‘fine’, pretending I was okay. How I started ignoring their phone calls and retreated within myself when they were home or when they tried to take me out to spend time together. For the first time I considered how things look from their point of view. Maybe they should have pried at me some more, but I had closed myself off a long time ago. I had let angst turn to an anger that fed into a deep seated resentment, and that resentment had clouded my mind until it was all I could see.
“I’m sorry too, Daddy.” I said quickly as I sat down throwing myself into his embrace.
He held me tighter, “No, none of this is your fault.”, He stressed.
My mother had crept into the room, her eyes red from crying.
Seeing her in such a forlorn state brought fresh tears to my eyes.
“Mom I’m sorry for the awful things I said.” I cried as I pulled her into a hug.
“No you were right” she said, taking measured breaths to keep her emotions under control, “I’m a complete failure as a mother, I couldn’t even see my own daughter felt abandoned. I’m sorry, Nessie. I love you and all I want is to fix this. You don’t have to leave tomorrow, you can stay and we will get a hotel in Shang Simla and just spend time together in the city away from distractions.”
Just the offer, the fact that they would drop everything for me, was more meaningful than I could have imagined. As tempting as it was, I would feel guilty. “You guys are needed here though, I don’t want to completely throw off your work.” I said looking at both of them.
“How about this”, My dad spoke up,” You don’t leave until the afternoon so we will drive you into town early and we will spend the morning together. Then when we are finished with our current project toward the end of the summer, we will come home and stay with you.” My eyes widened at him.
“For a month?” he said gesturing toward my mom. “I think we could do that.”
I looked at my mother and she nodded in agreement.”Yeah we can do that”
I hugged them both, feeling lighter than air. “Thank you so much, I love you!”
That night as I laid down to go to sleep, I felt at peace. I am going home tomorrow, things are on the mend with my parents, and I have an entire month with them to look forward to. As I dozed, my thoughts turned to him and I smiled. This is all his fault.