Model of Excellence – Daily Prompt (Paragon)

Paragon

Is it possible for a diamond to lose quality? You know, besides cutting it.

I used to be my mom’s 100 carat diamond. Her paragon. Her model of excellence. It was always “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” Especially with my middle brother — the troubled one.

It all stopped once I decided to leave home at 17 to stay at a dorm at UTPA. I had to. We lived 30 minutes away from the university and even though she said she’d take and pick me up every day, I knew she’d get fed up, like she did when I wanted a school of choice, which was less than 10 minutes away from home and like she did when I got a job less than 20 minutes away from home.

Even though my middle brother didn’t even finish high school or bother getting a GED, much less go to college, even though he’s been to jail for stealing, even though he’s sold drugs and been on drugs, he’s the one still getting support by her at 20 years old.

I stopped talking to her for four years (2010-2014), because she wouldn’t help me in a time of need. I was 18 years old, it was the last year she was going to use me for her joint income tax with my step-dad. I was still afraid to do it on my own. I don’t know why. This was also the year the number of children you can get money for had been increased from two to three. Their return ended up being close to $3000 over what they had received every other previous year. After receiving it, I asked in the nicest way possible if I could have $200. Her response was, “Give you money? You said you only wanted for us to use you in our income so you could use the paperwork for your financial aid.” Um, yeah, but that didn’t change the fact that they still received a significant amount of extra money for having used me that particular year. I don’t remember what we said next. We both started yelling at each other, until I eventually hung up on her and never called her again. She’s the one who looked for me. I thought I’d give her a second chance. It lasted a year. We haven’t spoken for two years now since then.

This time we stopped talking, because my middle brother stole my Galaxy Note 5. My husband had barely bought it for me less than a week before the incident. We made the mistake of accepting to live with them when my husband and I were going through a rough time and it ended up leading to another breakup. She chose his side. He had already tried stealing from us one time, so we put a deadbolt, but he did this when we were right outside. I had left my phone charging inside and didn’t bother with the deadbolt, because I thought, “We’re right outside,” right? Well, that didn’t stop him. I’d gone back inside to get it and noticed that it was gone right away, because my light wasn’t coming on. He had taken my Bluetooth light bulb, too! It wasn’t until later that I also noticed my tablet and taser flashlight gone, but by then it’d been too late to confront, not that he’d admit it, though. I wasn’t gonna let him get away with it this time, especially with my parents and little brother on his side. I called the cops. Apparently, they can’t do anything without proof or a confession. I called T-Mobile, let them know about the situation, technically they couldn’t do anything either, but I got a nice representative that stayed on the line with me, while helping me navigate an app or website, I can’t remember, that helps track the phone down. It led us to a middle-aged couple’s house. They said they didn’t know anything. We kept looking around, but it kept leading us back there. The second time we passed by there, the phone was outside on their yard, close to the sidewalk. I didn’t care if they threw it out to wash their hands of it or what, I was just happy I had it back and undamaged.

My mother and I have never gotten along. I don’t know why she presented me as her paragon to my brothers. Perhaps that was her way of trying to make them work harder, since I was the one mostly interested in school and reading and writing for pleasure.

It’s a confusing thought, not knowing if there’s love there for a person. Everybody always thinks that you’re supposed to love a relative, just because they’re relatives, but that’s just not true. If you’re not willing to sacrifice for them, if the thought of them dying doesn’t make you cry or at least cringe while your heart skips a beat in fear, then maybe, just maybe, you don’t really love them and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The bad thing is to pretend you do.

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