Her eyebrows shot up almost comically.
"You really wanna know?"
When he nodded, she let out a noise like a snort, but the expression on her face was far from humorous.
"You know what I tell people?"
The stranger sitting across the table from her nodded.
"She's a good person. Just not a good mother."
It didn't take much to pry more out of her.
"She was so selfish, and she didn't realize it. Maybe she took after her own mother, but she couldn't see it. She just wanted more and more, and even though she said it was for the family, and for us...it just wasn't. It never was."
She scratched at her neck, a little tic she had never grown out of when she was deep in thought.
"She wasn't /horrible/. She took my money, but she always gave it back. She yelled at me, but then sometimes she tried to be funny. So each time I said I'd never forgive her...why wouldn't I forgive her when she told me she cared about me? When she worried about the nights when I came home late from work?"
The girl set her hands in her lap, another tic evident in the way she pursed her lips to chew at them from the inside.
"She tried to care, but she couldn't see past herself long enough to do it. I think I was always trying to do the opposite and failing just as miserably."
"I tried not to care, but I always started to when I saw her trying to be friendly."
When the girl cleared her throat, she lifted her head and smiled politely. "No... she didn't hurt me as bad as other parents could, but she sure made being her kid downright fucking miserable the entire time."(less)