I turned around and my father was looking at me with the worst anger I've seen on his face. My father! Not even my mum I could deal with. My father! I'm so dead this night.
"Where are you coming from?" His voice was so harsh, I couldn't help shivering. I was thinking of what to say in my head when I heard his voice coming out even stronger.
"Are you now deaf or dumb or both? Where did you go by this time of the night?" I tried to see if I could lighten the mood.
"Dad, when I left it was earlier you know?" My dad took a step closer to me and before I could realize what he was up to, his huge, hard palm landed on my soft cheek. I fell on the floor from that harsh slap.
"Vanessa, I was at the Clarks' this afternoon and Marcy said you weren't at her place yesterday as you told me. You must really have the nerves to be lying to me." That was my mum talking. They were really ready for me this night. I couldn't even think straight. I felt strong hands pulling me up from the ground and I had already anticipated what was coming, so I quickly lifted my hands in defense.
"Ok... Ok... I'll talk. I'll tell you both where I was."
"Yes... We're listening," my mum can be so annoying at times... like this!
"I... I... "
"You what?!" Just shut up mum.
"Speak girl.... or I bet you'll regret leaving this house, whatever you went out for!" My dad was already pulling his belt from his trouser loops. Woah!
"Ok... I went to Agatha Gardens. I went there for the vacation talent show and guess what? I performed there... as a lead dancer. The people there appreciated the performance and I had the time of my life. But you know what's sad? That my parents weren't even there to encourage me and appreciate the gift their daughter has...."
"Hold it there, young girl! Is that the easiest lie you could come up with? And who is that man who dropped you in front of my house. He has the nerves, uhn?"
"Dad! I'm not lying! That was the Instructor David, my teacher at the dance school. He dropped me off after the show because I had nobody who came to watch me at the show.... not even my parents. I was the only one. And he won't let me go on the road alone by this time." By now tears were running down my hot cheeks which I believed were swollen from the slap.
"So why didn't you tell us?" My mum spoke up again. She sounded soft this time.
"Well... If I did, you wouldn't have let me go. And this night was really important to me. And Mum... Yes, I wasn't at Marcy's yesterday. I went there for the dress rehearsals. If I told you, you would have come up with chores for me to do and excuses why I shouldn't go. I'm sorry I did all of it without your approval. I had to."
"Is this dance of a thing more important than your life, you risked by going out this late? Is it more important than your academics and exams you should be preparing for? Is it...."
"Dad!" I couldn't take it anymore so I interrupted him. I thought I just said sorry?
"I know my academics are important. And I respect that. But it will be good if you start respecting what I love doing too! I'm tired of hearing all this talk about my exams. I still have one year to finish my senior secondary school before these exams come up. Yes, I know I should prepare ahead of time and I'm trying my best. But you cannot tie me down to just school work, even during the holidays. Worst of all, you cannot stop me from using my talent and expressing myself the way I love to!" I stopped, not because I had poured out all my heart or because I had run out of words on my vocabulary list, but because of the look on my father's face. One of surprise. No! Shock? I knew it was the first time I talked back to my father... No! Stood up for myself is the right way to put it, so I couldn't quite state why he had that look on his face. Well... Whatever it was, I knew I was probably crossing the line and I had to stop before it got worse. My cheeks were still burning.
"And what is this thing you like doing?" His voice was calmer but wait... Did he just ask me that? Can you imagine your own father not knowing what you are good at which is possibly your God-given talent? Wow... How worse could this get? I stood rooted to the spot and looking at my father squarely in the eye with disgust.
Then I walked out of the parlor. WHAT?! Did I just do that? What's with me this night? Once I was in my room, I turned around and locked the door. Seconds later, I saw my doorknob moving. Someone was trying to get into my room. When he realized it was locked, I heard his harsh voice again.
"Vanessa, open this door right now!" I didn't answer.
"Vanessa, please open up." That was mum. No way! Don't try to play nice with me. Not the right time.
"Don't pretend you can't hear us. Will you open this door?" Dad, more polite. But I won't. Then the worst thing I heard that night.
"Vanessa James, you are grounded for the remaining part of your holiday. You will not leave this house for any reason!" Wha...?! I almost spoke up, but I resisted the urge to. My dad just sentenced me to three weeks grounding. Why would he do that? I mean, why should he? What did I do wrong? Ok... I did many wrong things. Not many, few... Whatever. But they are all his fault! Ugghhh! How nice! If they step on my toes again, I'll do something. I don't know but I'll do something. I picked up my phone and my earpiece and calmed my spirit, soul and body with some good music. If my dad was complaining about my dancing what will he say about my music - My super secret love?
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Anne - Well... Let's just say it can either end up bad or good for her. Let's just wait and see. So keep reading and let me know what you think. Thanks.