Every night at dinner, my father would sit, several feet away, reading his newspaper in silence. He was dressed to the nines, even at dinner, his tie pressed up against his neck like an exaggerated Adam's apple. His hair was neat, trimmed, and clean. Father always spoke like he was talking through ice; his voice was bitter cold and precise. "What did you do today to further your goals, my daughter?"
He always called me that. "My daughter." Like he'd forgotten my name. Maybe he had. "I researched some local internships for fashion design that high schoolers can do over the summer." I told him, weakly. "There aren't any in the area, so I started looking for internships outside of the area, that have free housing." I crossed my fingers that he wouldn't look into it himself. There were internships in the area, but she didn't want to stay here for the summer, with this ice sculpture of a father. "There are three that look like they may be acceptable. I've started filling out applications, but I have sent the information on them over to your computer, so I can get your input before I turn in my applications." Another lie. I hadn't bothered to start them. I was pretty sure my father would shoot down all three of them. He always shot down the first three suggestions out of spite, presumably to make me do more research. I had three other, better suggestions waiting in the wings.
"We'll see," he said, with finality. There was no point talking anymore in his direction; he was done listening to me for the day. So I ate the rest of my dinner in silence and then waited patiently to be dismissed. I shuffled up to my room.
My father wanted me to to be the best at whatever I did, but my mother had always just wanted me to be happy. I laid down on my bed, closing my eyes and trying to remember the details of my mother's face. I couldn't remember every line of it, but I remembered the fuzzy outline of her. And I remembered her voice. "I just want you to be happy." She'd say.
"I can't be happy without you, mum." I whispered into the dusky light of my room.