Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Favoritism (02/28/05)
TITLE: The Girls
By Catherine Pollock
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Aimee grinned when she heard her husband’s voice in the front entryway of their apartment and wiped her hands off on the dish towel next to the stove. As she stepped out of the tiny kitchen to greet him, Ali’s enthusiastic shriek followed quickly by Sarah’s widened it and she hurried out.
“How’s my favorite girl of all?” Shaun asked when he looked up at Aimee. Aimee hugged her husband enthusiastically and was about to give him a quick kiss when a loud wail hit their ears.
Aimee frowned and Shaun sighed before looking over at Ali with resignation. It never failed - Ali started crying as soon as she lost her daddy‘s attention, and Shaun never ignored her cries. When Sarah cried, Aimee was left to stop it, but Shaun would never let Ali cry for long.
Shaun loved Sarah, too - Aimee knew that - but while he went to deal with Ali, she could not help thinking there was some favoritism going on that left Sarah out. She made up her mind to bring it up after dinner and the girls were asleep.
By the time that Sarah and Ali were in bed, Shaun had sprawled out on the couch watching a football game, and Aimee had had enough time to think about the ways Shaun neglected Sarah. Knowing immediately that he was so engrossed in the game there was no point in talking with it on, Aimee picked up the remote, counting on him not looking anywhere else until the screen went blank.
She was right. Shaun did not pop up until then, and when he did, there was no doubt about what he felt at that moment. The look subsided, however, when he saw her face. “What’s up?”
“What’s always up?” Aimee sat down in the spot his feet had vacated, turning herself so she was facing him. “Sarah and Ali.”
He nodded. “What about Sarah and Ali?”
“How you’re treating them.” Aimee unconsciously crossed her arms in front of her, preparing for a fight. The last time they had talked about the girls, it had been a major one. “You’re playing favorites, and it’s got to stop.”
“What?” A look of surprise crossed Shaun’s face. “You’re kidding.”
“Nope.” Aimee’s head shook. “You’re acting like Ali is our only daughter.”
The surprise turned into disbelief. “You’ve got to be kidding me, Aimee.”
“I’m not.” As far as Aimee was concerned, Shaun showered Ali with attention and left Sarah to her own devices. “When is the last time you held Sarah, or played with her?”
Shaun shook his head violently. “When is the last time you took time to play with Ali, Aim?”
“Don’t turn this around on me, Shaun - this is about you and Sarah.”
“Oh, and what happened to getting the log out of your eye before pointing out the specks in mine?” Shaun’s voice rose. “If I’m guilty, you are too. Fess up or leave me alone.”
He pulled the remote out of Aimee’s hand and turned the television back on. Angrily, Aimee stalked off towards the bedroom with every intention of calling her best friend to vent about what had just happened.
But her hand stilled before she picked up the phone. ‘What is he’s right? What if I’m playing favorites, too?’
The football game had been over for an hour before Aimee showed her face again. Shaun was stretched out on the couch with his eyes closed and a CD playing. In comparison to the last time, there was no flinching when Aimee turned the volume down. His eyes stayed closed as if he didn’t know she was there.
“You’re right,” Aimee said.
“What?” Shaun jerked up into a sitting position, eye flying open.
“I’ve spent the past two hours thinking about it.” Aimee continued to stand. “I play favorites with Sarah as much as you do with Ali. We both have to stop because there should be no favoritism. They’re both our daughters and we need to divide our attention evenly between them.”
“C’mere.” Shaun patted a post on the couch beside him. Aimee hesitantly sat down.
“You’re right about me and Ali,” he said when she did, reaching over to take her hand in his. “And I have to stop giving Ali what she wants all the time. You seem to be able to show favoritism less - show me how?”
Aimee squeezed his hand and nodded. “From now on, no more favorites.”
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