[WP] Children often manifest into the negative labels given to them.

First snow. All the movies told me that first snow was a harbinger of beautiful new beginnings, as if the flecks of ice and snow dancing in the sky brought with them the favor of the gods up above. I wanted them to be right, you know. Oh, how I wanted them to be right. Every year, I'd sit at the windowsill, gazing at the snowfall, hoping, hoping that something would change the meaningless drudgery of drifting aimlessly through it all, that I would be struck with the brilliant epiphany of joy and passion and love and dedication. Every year, I've been let down; alas, the snowflakes carry no more tidings of the divine than the average wet dust bunny.

The phone rings. I pick it up. It's my cousin. I sigh. I put it down. He was probably asking for money anyways.

See, my cousin ran a gambling joint back home. Nothing fancy, just a dingy hut with a few flashing lights cleverly placed in a haphazard way to "embrace the chaos of the human psyche", so he says. The floors are perpetually scummy, like the mucous on a frog's back. Half the lights are broken. The ghosts of a thousand cigarettes lit ablaze and carelessly tossed aside haunt the whole joint, carrying the scent of meaningless hope and inevitable despair. Yet, they still came. They came in droves. All dressed in faded clothes. All with the same pointless shred of hope in their eyes. Their cracked, calloused hands would drum nervously by the controls, eyes flickering to and fro, desperately searching for that promise of plenty for their loved ones til the end of their days. I'd worked behind his counter for many a summer, watching as wave after wave of hopefuls tried their luck. She'd always thought poorly of them, calling them damn fools for believing that the gods were remotely forgiving. "Pathetic." Her favorite damn word, if I didn't know any better. I don't remember her name. She followed me to work every day. I would wish the patrons the best of luck, while she condescended their reliance on an arcade machine garnished with drawings of scantily clad women encouraging them to try their luck. More often than not, her cynicism was proven correct by the dejection of all the poor fools who'd been slighted by Fortune as they struggled to figure out how to explain to their wives that the grocery money was gone. It's a wonder Cousin is still in business. He's been begging me for money ever since I got out of college. Something about opening a new location one town over. She says it's not worth it, that he was a pathetic fuck for wanting to exploit the poor like this, that those patrons were fools for believing that he gave a flying fuck about them, that I should've blocked him ages ago. I tried, you know. I came close many times, but a niggling feeling of senseless guilt always held me back. I would reason with the feelings until they went away, by which time I was too exhausted to do anything.

"You're too weak. He'll keep pestering you, taking advantage of that soft heart of yours. Fool. Why do you keep believing in him?"

Ah, she wasn't wrong. I've always been a soft fool. I didn't have it in my heart to remove a toxic asshole from my life, leaving a point of connection in the vain, foolish hopes that he would change.

The sound of my ringtone snaps me from my reverie. It's mother. A tremor runs through my hand.

"How are you doing?"

"Fair enough, mother. And you?"

"Well enough. And your work, how-"

"I'll be fine. I'll be tough. You always told me to be tough. I-I remembered. I'll talk to Jared on Monday. I promise. You've never known me to break a promise, right? I have this under control. They-they can't do this to me. You said, right? I won't get a promotion unless I fight for it. You said, right? I have it under control. I'll take care of it. I promise. And I don't- I've never- I-I don't break my promises."

"That's not what I- hah, forget about it. I've told you as much just about a million times now. You know that's not what I intended. Good luck."

"Thanks, mother."

The phone line clicks as I let out a bitter chuckle. Not what she intended, eh? I know what you intended, mother. You told me to stand up to people. You told me to be strong. You told me to be better. You told me I was better than the cowering little girl in front of you. You told me I was weak. My memory falters, but I know it was your fault. She agrees, you know. She tells me my bitterness is justified, that I couldn't have done anything, that I was the victim, that you and only you made me the way I was and that nothing I ever did would change a damn thing about this pathetic heart of mine. She knew- I knew- that gazing out at the snowflakes and wishing for things to change was a damn waste of time because I was a broken piece of shit who was too damn weak to do a damn thing about my life, that I couldn't be bothered to fix myself, that I've coasted by on luck alone, that it was a damn waste of time to give a damn because trying to do anything was futile in the first place.


Can't believe a stupid phone call got me so riled up. Such a dumb fuck. Fucking hell, I knew what mother was going to say. Such a fucking fool. Not what I meant? Mother, she told me. She told me that you resented my weakness. I know that you loathe it as much as I do, that you're as disgusted by this pathetic shit as much as I am. Fucking hell, I'm sorry. No mother should be put through the misery of my ungrateful ass. Fuck, I'm so miserable. She- she was right. Why the fuck should I give a damn. Fuck it, I can't be bothered. I'm not worth the damn time and energy anyways. Before I knew it, a bottle of wine had miraculously appeared in my hand, uncapped, pouring the purple liquid down my throat to wash away the pain.

Drunk, I stagger into the bathroom, hovering over the sink. In the mirror, I see her. An angry woman who told me the bitter truths I needed to hear. We look the same, but she is what I should have been- a strong person who is capable of doing as they like, a confident person, someone who could never be taken advantage of. Someone who never got hurt. She feels so real. God, I wish she were real. Maybe I'd know how to be happy. Maybe I'd know how to love. Maybe I'd know passion. Maybe I'd know commitment.

Such a waste.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread