Since Katelyn’s release from the hospital, Madeline’s sold three additional pictures to the art gallery The owners loved her
paintings so much, they begged her for more. Offered to double the amount if she can paint four pictures by the end of the
month. Later her friend Ariella explains how one of their clients admired her artistic style and wanted to display her pictures at
his art gallery in Paris. She couldn’t believe it. Her work, traveling all the way to France.
“You didn’t think I had what it takes, did you, Stan. Always telling me my art’s a waste of time and your precious money. I
proved you wrong, again.” Smiling, she puts the third picture on the table to dry. Since she moved to the two bedroom
apartment, she’s had to set up her art projects in a corner of the kitchen. She often misses the spacious studio, but figures
giving up her fancy work area’s a small price to pay for happiness.
“What should I paint next?” She thinks grabbing a new canvas.
“I’m headed to work.” Her eldest child replies, walking toward the entryway. She’s been employed at the cosmetic department
for the last couple of months. Although she often comes home frustrated at the customers, she seems to enjoy her job,
overall. Remembering all the makeup catastrophes the girl experienced growing up, she laughs. Who knew that all those disasters would turn my troublesome child into a makeup artist? She chuckles.
“Will you be home for dinner?”
“No, I planned on hanging out with a few friends tonight. I won’t be in until later since tomorrow’s my only day off.”
“Well stay safe.”
“Don’t worry mom, I will.” She starts walking out the door. Everything’s going really well for her oldest child, but she still has a
A lot of concerns about her well-being. She worries about her not taking her medicine, she’ll get in with her old crowd, or she’ll
be raped again. No matter how many times she reassures her mother, she’s not in the drug scene anymore, or how many
defense classes the young woman takes, the nagging feeling always seemed to return. They’ve talked to the therapist
extensively about her feelings. The therapist continues to reassure her that her daughter’s making a lot of improvements, and
deserves her freedom. She disagrees. She knows how her child can do so well for a few months, then one day she’ll slip up,
and all her hard work will be for nothing. She explained the pattern to the therapist too. The counselors told her Katelyn’s
older now, more mature and understands the consequences, if she chooses the wrong path. No matter what anyone says or
does her anxiety never seems to go away?
“I love you, honey.”
“Love you too mom.” She replies, jogging down the sidewalk to her car. Placing the canvas on the easel, she tried to imagine
her next painting. No matter how hard she tried to get her mind on her art, the sinking feeling kept gnawing away at her.
Peeling himself off the couch, Stan glances towards the bright morning sun, blaring from the large picture window. I need to
remember to close the drapes he thinks. Holding his aching head, he stumbles off to the adjoining bathroom. Hoping to find
some sort of hangover relief. He starts to open the medicine cabinet when he notices his haggard reflection in the mirror, he
stops and take a closer look. His face’s pale, pasty and housed more wrinkles than what you’d see on an eighty-year-old man.
Looking a little closer, he noticed bags the size of saucers had somehow taken up residence underneath his eyes overnight. I
got to stop the nightly drinking. He reasons, staring at the old man looking back at him. At sixty-four, he knew he wasn’t a
spring chicken. His thinning hair and achy bones often reminded him of that. He doesn’t’ want to look like some withered up
old prune before his time.
“This is all your fault, Madeline. You and that damn daughter of yours. If it wasn’t for all the hell you’ve given me, I wouldn’t
have to drink every night.” Stripping off his clothes, he tosses them on top of the large pile in the corner.
“I’m glad Marie’s coming in today.” He says, inventorying the mess. He hired Marie to cook and clean for him three days a
week. At first he thought she’s a luxury, but soon realized Marie’s a necessity since his wife’s no longer there to take care of
“In our twenty-five years of marriage that’s the only thing my good for nothing wife ever did right.” He concludes. He starts to
adjust the water in the tub, when he hears a loud commotion coming from the front of the house. Looking up at the clock he
realizes it’s still too early for his maid” Throwing on his robe, he runs to the noise.
“Everything seemed to be where I left it. Maybe it’s those damn stray cats getting into the garbage.” He concludes, walking
back towards the bathroom. Stepping into the homey den, he felt something hard smashed against the back of his head,
He falls to the hardwood floor. Quickly turning around, he looks up at his attacker.
“Why are you doing this to me? After all, I’ve done for you? He cries. Smiling, the attacker’s slams the large, metal object down
on his head.
Finally deciding on a theme for her painting, Madeline starts choosing colors for her new creation when she hears someone
knocking on the door.
“Just a minute.” She yells, busily emptying her hands. Glancing up, she sees her youngest child, Kate, walking towards her.
“I thought I’d stop by see how thing’s going.”
“Everything’s great. Yesterday the art gallery told me they have a buyer who wants to display my art in Paris. Can you believe
it, honey? My paintings’ traveling all the way to France.”
“I’d love to go the house and rub my news in your dad’s face, just for spite. How is the old geezer anyhow?”
Miserable, he’d like for you to come home.”
“Did he say he says that”
“Dad will never admit it, but everyone can tell by the way he moves around that he misses you, mother.”
“Well, I sure don’t miss him.” A long uneasy silence filled the air. She figured it had something to do with Stan. He’s probably
convinced Kate the augment, the break up’s her fault. Making him the victim in all of this, forcing her to choose sides. He use
to play these games when she was younger too. Every time she and Stan argued, he’d take Kate places, do things with her,
and buy her nice gifts, while completely ignoring the eldest child. Madeline confronted him about it. He informed her he’s
making up for all hell the youngest child has to go through. She knew it’s his way of making sure she’d always be a daddy’s
girl that she’d choose him over her.
“Your sister’s doing well. Still working at the department store, taking her medicine.”
“That’s good. Maybe she’ll be able to get her own place soon.” The girls haven’t spoken since the night at the hospital. She
tried to get the two to talk, but they refused to be in the same room for more than a few seconds. Kate’s stubborn like her
father, won’t even allow her two daughters near the apartment, if her sister’s home. When she does let the children visit, they
seem so distant. This hurts her, because the girls were grandma’s little angels, before the fighting began.
“How’s the girls?”
“They’re doing great.
“Tell Ashley, and Abby grandma loves and misses them.”
“I will, well I better go, have lots of errands to run.” She says running for the entryway.
“Love you honey.”
“You too mother.” She replies quickly closing the door behind her. Madeline plops down on the worn out sofa.
“I feel like I don’t even know her anymore.” She cries.
Getting out of her car, Katelyn walks to the picnic table, sitting in the far corner of the park. She’d lost her job at the cosmetic
department after the third day. The boss said he won’t tolerate her being rude to the customers and fired her on the spot. She
wasn’t being rude, she’s just explaining to the lady the makeup she chose wouldn’t look good on an older person. The old hag
became offended and reported her to the manager.
“I should have told the old bat what I was really thinking, that nothing will help her ugly mug.” Smiling, she sits down on the
bench. Luckily she met Carlos at a coffee shop nearby. After explaining to him what had happened, he offered her a job that
doubled her salary. So now she gets to sit out in the park all day, waiting for potential customers. The best part of all is she
gets to sample the product for free.
“Sorry, I had something I needed to take care of, some unfinished business.”
“Go get cleaned up.” Confused by his statement, she glances to where Carlos is pointing. She noticed a small drop of red
liquid had splattered on her shirt.
“There’s some on your forehead too.” Jumping up, she runs off towards the bathroom.
“Good thing he saw the mess.” She thinks pulling paper towels out of the dispenser.
“Mr. Stan, are you home?” Marie yells, plopping her purse and keys down on the only clean area on the counter. She’d
offered to come in five days a week. Told him she’d only charge an additional $25. He said he hired her to work three days
and if she can’t handle the load, he’d replace her. She informed him she could handle the work, but thought he’d rather her
clean more frequently, so he didn’t have to live in a messy home. She didn’t lie, she can handle the work load, but finds it very
difficult to get all the housework completed, exactly the way he wants it, in such a short amount of time. He’s so particular
about every little thing, Marie’s surprised the misses stayed with him as long as she did.
“I hope he hasn’t overslept again.” She replies. Stepping around all the trash scattered across the floor, she heads to the den.
Halfway down the corridor, she notices two feet sticking out in the hallway.
“Mr. Stan, are you alright, sir?” She asks, running into the room. Looking down at the floor she sees his half naked body lying
motionless in a large puddle of blood. Letting out a terrifying scream, she darts out of the house.