Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Vanity (11/15/18)
TITLE: Worthless Pursuits
By Jennifer Woodley
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‘My goodness, who are you dressed as this time?’ I asked staring in bewilderment at her gaudy outfit. My daughter laughed freely as she reapplied the fake long black eyelashes which seemed to give her beautiful, baby-blue eyes a menacing dark appearance. Just now the blue had been replaced by a green sheen, which I had been told were tinted contact lenses.
‘Mum,’ she said in exasperation, ‘I’ve explained to you a thousand times, I’m The Widow Maker!’ She slung a hideous, black gun-like object at me and stamped a needle-thin, black boot heel hard against the floor to emphasize her point.
Who was this self-obsessed teenager that stood before me? The innocent girl dressed modestly in sunny, bright frocks had vanished and been replaced by a vulgar-fashioned female that exhibited every smooth and bulging curve underneath a skin-clad, purple costume. It left no room for the imagination. Every bit of my dear daughter was there for onlookers to lust over.
‘Do you think I could borrow the SUV this Saturday to take to the CosPlay Conference, mum?’ Jacqui asked as she tugged at the strand of thick, purple hair hanging loosely about her face.
‘Um, well honey your dad had planned to take Brett to a soccer game on Saturday afternoon. Couldn’t one of your girlfriends drive instead?’ I asked sweetly, vaguely aware that a feisty outburst was about to erupt in the kitchen.
‘No that just won’t work, mum. I told them I’d be picking them up. Can’t dad and Brett catch a bus instead?’ Jacqui looked miffed at having to have her plans readjusted.
‘Darling, that’s not really fair. Your brother and dad have had this outing arranged for weeks. You can’t just expect them to drop everything at a moment’s notice, for you and your girlfriends.’
Jacqui took a step closer and thrust her oily purple face close to mine. Beads of perspiration began to form and trickle down her temples, signalling the beginning of a storm. Her lips, coated in a lustrous cherry-red lipstick, began to quiver, and opened to bombard me with a barrage of angry and conceited threats.
‘Yes I can, and so they should. This is really important to me. I’ve been working on this outfit for weeks and I’m not about to have family ruin my big day out! I’ve got every chance of winning this competition by a long shot and you are not going to stop me! I’m tired of coming off second best in this house and this time I won’t!’
Jacqui’s goblin-green eyes flashed a look of hatred and disgust towards me before she whirled on her stilettos and strutted from the room. In that moment my daughter’s abhorrent behavior exemplified perfectly the malicious villain she was dressed as.
On shaking legs, I sank into a kitchen chair and let my head drop into my hands. This vain pursuit that had captured my daughter’s heart, had produced a young girl full of vanity and a senseless, selfish determination to have her own way.
In desperation I murmured a prayer, ‘Father, help me to bear this heavy load that is tiring me and destroying the hope of any relationship I might have with Jacqui. Show her the truth of who she is right now.’
An apology would have been consoling, but it never did come. Just a silence, an aloofness, and a disinterest for anything remotely suggestive of doing family time together.
However, there was one miracle amongst the mess. A single red rose and a small card lying on the kitchen table the next morning. It read, ‘Happy Birthday mum, love Jacqui.’ That’s all, but that was enough. That was the answer to my prayer, giving me hope for the days ahead.
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