Choices (March 2020, Week 2 Day 2)

“You gotta make better choices.”

“Right. Like it’s easy like that.”

“It’s easy if you don’t get in your own damn way.”

Nettie glared at her mother. “I’m not getting in my way.”

“Keep mumbling like that and you’re for sure getting in MY way. Speak up and out if you’ve got something to say to me.”

“I am NOT,” Nettie growled, “getting in my way. I am doing the best I can.”

“Ha. Now you’re telling tales on yourself, too? I’m done.”

With that, her mother turned her back to Nettie and waved as she left the room leaving Nellie to clean up the breakfast dishes on her own. The silence her mother’s departure created hung on Nettie’s shoulders and wrapped around her like an unwanted weighted blanket. She crossed her arms with a big harumph and glared at the remnants of the meal her mother had prepared for them both. The short stack of blonde pancakes, a few slices of bacon, and the fruit all laid out on the good plates mocked Nettie. The meal should have been celebratory, and would have been if she hadn’t screwed up. Again.

The nerves had started when she’d gotten the invite to audition. The incessant recitatioin of lines  had started three days before the audition. The cycling through outfits had started last night. Now, with less than five hours to go before she had to stand on that stage, alone, staring out into the void with the director hidden behind the lights, was not when she wanted to be fighting with her mother.

Nettie unfolded herself and slapped her hands down on the table. She pushed herself back from the table encouraging the loud scrape of her chair on the linoleum letting the sounds of the room continue the argument without words. She would do as she was told but not without having her say. The dishes clanked as she grabbed them off the table and made the two trips into the kitchen and back. If she got this part she wouldn’t be stuck here. She’d be one thousand miles away, surrounded by people who understood.

“You know,” Nettie’s mother called down from the upstairs bathroom, “or at least I hope you know, I only want the best for you. For you to be judged on your talents first and your legs second.”

Nettie closed her eyes and squeezed the life out of the kitchen towel. “I know, mama. And I know that’s not how it works.”

“Well it sure won’t be if you don’t make-”

“If I don’t make better choices.” Nettie threw the towel down. “I’m making the choices I need to make, mama, including choosing to end this conversation.”

Too far. Nettie realised she’d gone one sentence too far as soon as the words left her mouth. Her mother didn’t answer. She just came out of the bathroom and stood looking down at Nettie from the top of the stairs. The look on the older woman’s face did all the talking for her.

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