( Intermediate Level )
Imagine if you were a daughter of a mayor, in a town, where everyone knew everyone and thought they knew all about you, but really didn’t. This was Rebecca.
Rebecca, at sixteen, carried a secret that not even her parents knew about. For the last year and a half, she had struggled with depression. She was expected to be the best at everything but she could not.
Her grades, in school, had to be perfect. Her appearance had to be perfect. Her dad would tell her everyone was watching her since she was his daughter.
She was the only child and had no friends to talk to. The school had a guidance counselor who was too busy to see students other than academic counseling.
This was not for Rebecca. She was an outdoors person. She loved to go for long walks, hike, and even go fishing. She hated to wear dresses and have her hair done.
Her dad, Ken, would get so mad at her.” When you go out in public, you need to realize that you represent me. If you look like a street bum, what will they think of me? You should at least fix up your hair and stop wearing those silly ball caps.”
” Dad, I don’t care what others think of me nor should you. I am your daughter and you should love me for me.” She would always storm off frustrated with him and the way he thought.
This wasn’t the first time he said these words to her. He never really heard her words or tried to understand her.
Some days she wished her father had a different job. A job where they didn’t have to worry about what others might think. A job where they could do things like other normal families.
She knew her dad had helped her town grow and created many job opportunities for everyone. He had the support of the townspeople. Still, she wanted to be herself.
Rebecca spent many hours writing in her diary. Instead of writing about a boyfriend or some other happy event she wrote about her feelings. How no one excepted her for who she was.
“Why can’t my Dad be proud of me? Why does he not accept that I like to play sports? That I do not like dresses? That I do not care if I get dirty?”
“I love being outdoors instead of being inside and learning how to cook.”
“I hope one-day mom and dad can love me unconditionally. And not worry what others think of me or them.”
Each night she’d write a few words then safely tuck her dairy away so her parents would not find it. Some of the things she wrote in the past she didn’t want her parents to read.
Re – election was just around the corner and her parents were busy campaigning. Her dad had scheduled many meet and greet events to earn the community’s votes once again.
Of course, Rebecca was to be by her dad’s side, smiling. Hiding the secret that she didn’t want her dad to be reelected. She hoped if he lost, their life would be normal again.
On Sunday evening, the night before the voting booths were to open, dinner was scheduled for those who contributed to her dad’s reelection campaign. The local community center was transformed into a beautiful banquet hall.
Over two hundred tables adorned with red table cloths were set in place Each table sat four people comfortably. In the center of each table sat a huge bouquet of red flowers with re – elect Ken Jones printed on streamers flowing down onto the tables.
An impromptu stage was made in the front of the seating area equipped with lights and a microphone. Ken had practiced his speech many times. He wanted to thank everyone for their support and only the votes would tell if their hard work paid off.
The Jones household was busy on Sunday. Jessica had gone to the salon to have her hair done, once again, and a fresh coat of nail polish. She chose a deep red to color match her dress. Ken went to the barber to have a haircut and beard trim.
Jessica was to go with her mom to the salon but she was nowhere to be found when her mom had to leave. Jessica had laid out Rebecca’s new dress on Jessica’s bed with a note.
This is an important evening for your dad and us. The dinner is at seven and do not be late. And please do something with your hair.
See you there,
Jessica read the note and scoffed. She crumpled it up and threw it to the ground. She stood looking at the dress. It was pretty but she knew she would not feel comfortable in it. She turned and headed to take a shower.
As she stood in front of the bathroom mirror, she wondered what she would look like if her hair was shorter. Before she knew it she was cutting her long hair. The long curls that her mother loved so much.
In the end, she stood looking at herself, and that person, she now saw, was looking back at her, smiling. She felt free. This was the first choice she made, on her own, and not being told how she should look or act.
Jessica showered and put on the dress her mother set out for her. She ran her fingers through her hair and loved the new style. She slipped on her shoes and put on her favorite earrings and headed out the door.
It was a fifteen-minute walk to the downtown area and another five minutes to the community center. She had plenty of time. She walked with more confidence now. Taking the time to smile and say, “Hello” to people along the way.
“How can a simple thing like cutting her hair make her love herself more? Maybe because it was her choice.” She thought.
She arrived in plenty of time. Her mom and dad were busy talking to his supporters that they hadn’t seen her come in. Each table had name tags assigned to different families or groups. She looked around until she found their assigned table.
Many people that recognized her came and told her what a lovely dress and they loved her new haircut. This made Rebecca even happier. Hopefully, her parents would feel the same.
The hired staff started serving the dinner and this was her parent’s cue to head back to their table. It wasn’t long before her parents arrived and sat down.
Mom’s look on her face said everything. She was embarrassed and mad. Her dad, on the other hand, said she looked beautiful with her new haircut. Jessica wondered if he said this because people were watching.
It was time for Dad to give his speech. He excused himself from the table and headed to the stage. People were clapping and yelling his name. He pauses a few times to shake hands.
He stood quiet at the microphone for a few minutes. He looked around the room making eye contact with as many people as he could. He stopped for a moment at his table to look at his wife and daughter.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for all your support and donations for my reelection.”
“Tonight I stand before you and I have realized something important. I have not listened to some people. I will try harder to listen, in the future. Some have been by my side for a long time and I am apologizing to them now. ” He was looking directly at his daughter.
It is okay to be who you are and not try to be what others want you to be. Your choices matter. You should be loved and listened to, no matter what.” The crowd started chanting his name. “Ken. Ken. Ken”
Jessica looked over at her daughter who was smiling at her dad. She was whispering the words, “Thank you Daddy. I love you,” to him.
Written by; Angel
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mayor – noun: the elected head of a town
struggled – verb: facing difficulty
appearance – noun: the way someone looks
guidance counselor – noun: a person who works in a school giving students advice about careers and personal problems
salon – noun: where a hairdresser conducts business
street bum – noun: a homeless person
frustrated – adjective: feeling distressed or annoyance
normal – adjective: conforming to a typical standard
diary – noun: a book where a person writes their personal feelings
around the corner – phrase: very near or coming
meet and greet – noun: an organized event for a celebrity or politician where they talk to the public.
transformed – verb: changes in appearance or character
adorned – verb: embellish or decorate
impromptu – adjective: something done without rehearsal
scoffed – verb: made clear that you think they or ideas are stupid or silly
confidence – noun: a feeling of self-assurance
name tags – noun: a piece of paper, cloth, plastic, or metal that has a person’s name written on it
cue – noun: signal
excused – verb: to politely signal others that you are leaving
apologizing – noun: sorry for something wrong you have done
whispering – verb: to speak softly
Question ( s ):
Is it important to you what others think of you?
Remember when you were young(er) and your parents told you to behave when you went with them? Maybe to the local store or to a friend’s house? Share your experience.
Do you think it is necessary to tell your child( ren ) to behave? Wouldn’t they already know?