Nothing Hurts Like Those Close to You
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 705
Ingrid slammed down the photo frame on the bookcase. She was sick of her mother being such a bitch to her boyfriend, Tony. Every time she thought her mother started to warm to Tony, she turned around and said something cold and full of hate and pure evil. If any of Ingrid’s nephews or nieces took a liking to Tony, or anything he did for them, Ingrid’s mother would turn it into something bad somehow. The last time it happened, Tony made some beautiful wooden toys for Ingrid’s two-year-old nephew, Jake for Christmas. Jake loved the wooden train set and played with it every day. At a family get together, Ingrid’s mother kept telling everyone to pick the train set up, it was too dangerous, and too many sharp edges to Jake to seriously injure himself on if he tripped.
Ingrid loved Tony more than she loved anyone else she ever met and couldn’t understand why her mother hated him so much. After ten years of going out, nine of which they lived together, she was going to put an end to it. Ingrid could not stand it anymore. The constant stress of knowing that the love of her life would be verbally attacked every time they visited was just too much. It caused problems when Ingrid and Tony got home after a visit, as Tony was a pretty sensitive guy and the hurtful sarcasm and petty remarks cut him deeply. He wanted to please Ingrid’s parents and got on well with Ingrid’s father, Bert. Bert cringed when his wife started at Tony, but didn’t want to upset her, so said nothing.
Ingrid drove to her parent’s house, psyched up for the confrontation.
“Hi mum,” she said when her mother answered the door.
There were no hugs or kisses from her mother, just a formal, “Morning,” came the reply.
Ingrid went inside, noticed that all of the pictures of her and Tony were off the wall again. Her mother went through moods where she would take down the photos of relatives she had a grudge against for that week, or month. Ingrid’s father sat at the dining room table reading the newspaper. He smiled and said hello. Ingrid sat at the table across from her father.
“I’ve got some great news, dad, mum.”
“I like the sound of that, bunny,” her father said.
Ingrid’s mother just looked up from her knitting with a deadpan looked glazed across her face. She couldn’t even pretend to be happy. Ingrid often wondered what happened to her to make her so bitter and twisted.
Ingrid’s father smiled, he reached across the table and held her hands.
“That’s great news, isn’t it darling?”
“Where’s Tony?” Ingrid’s mother grunted.
“He’s at work, took on some extra shifts to help save for the nursery furniture.”
“Shirking his responsibilities already,” her mother said bitterly.
“No mum, he is making sure we have everything ready for the baby.”
“Well you better not expect anything from us. You know we are short of money now your father is on a disability pension. Can hardly afford to live ourselves.”
“Why can’t you ever be happy for me, mum?”
“What’s there to be happy about? That boyfriend of yours doesn’t earn enough to support a family, how are you going to manage.”
Before Ingrid had a chance to answer, her mother started again.
“And, he hasn’t even had the decency to marry you. You know that that means your kid will be a little bastard.”
“Although if he did marry you, we’d have to fork out for the wedding and there’d still be a bastard in the family anyway.”
Ingrid felt tears well up; she had to leave before her mother knew how much her words hurt her. For some reason, it seemed to empower her mother when she caused pain in others.
“I’ve got to go now,” Ingrid said, “Doctor’s appointment, bye, dad.”
Ingrid cried as she backed the car out of her parent’s driveway. She hated how much power her mother had over her, and how she was relentless in her barrage of sarcasm and insults.
“Next time,” Ingrid thought to herself. “I’ll tell her how much she hurts everyone, next time I see her.”
Nothing Hurts Like Those Close to You
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