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Another Friday afternoon spent avoiding the elephant in the room, with conversation as shallow as a kiddie pool. You pick her up from school, but she’s not your little girl anymore.

She’s no fool; she’ bigger now, wiser now, sees right through your lies and now she’s harder to manipulate—she speaks up. No longer afraid to irritate you, she won’t hesitate to debate you.

At dinner, irate. Trying to tell you the details of her day, change the subject, push her away, because you always need to have it your way.

But I still try to make excuses for you, telling myself you care, just more about the other side of the family than me.

You’re making it so hard to defend you, throwing blame, acting like you’re trying to mend things. You bend things, twisting words in my brain until I have a headache.

The questions you like to ask are not the ones I want to answer, yet you pry and you pry, saying, “what do you have to hide?” Casting your own blame aside, a reason for everything, always justified.

You’re blind to the harm you caused, convincing everyone that you’re “kind.” You say that you don’t mean to be mean, but you act like you can’t tell the difference between showing concern and being intrusive.

You think you’re the hero, saving lives—running around with the defibrillator, not checking for a pulse before you send electrical shocks to a heart that does not need to be restarted.

Your questions, offputting and erratic, intrude my mind with screeching static, as we sit trapped in standstill traffic.

Every day is another fight, wrong vs right, truth vs lie, intruding in someone else’s life. Ask about me. Ask about your daughter. Stop asking about my aunts, uncles, cousins, or anyone related to my mother.

After countless times of asking you not to put me in the middle, I am still the rope in this tug-of-war. You still put me on the spot, turn up the heat like a burger on the griddle. I feel my brain sizzle, the steam flowing out of my ears, because now it’s been 7 years, and you still like to pretend like you don’t get it. Don’t understand how when I ask you to pick me up, sometimes I regret it, but after we fight, you feign your apologies, and forget it.

Your “heart cries in silence”? Mine cries on full blast; you never listen, letting the time pass, but once there’s radio-silence, you have the audacity to ask, “Do you ever miss seeing me…?”

No, I don’t. I miss my sanity.