Broken is a story that is best read Chronologically to start from the beginning – Prologue
Hailey came to visit at the office one more time before our planned weekend together. We just went to the cafeteria and got a salad. It was sweet, regular, void of the usual drama that came with our interactions lately good or bad. We were back to just being together and it was nice.
We talked about her and I, the kids, her separation and the new place that she was about to move into. What she thought she needed. Mattresses, technology, etc. She found comfort in me. She often said I had a parental like presence.
We started talking about the pitfalls of teenage kids and what was going on at our kids high school (cause of course our oldest’s were in the same grade). Then suddenly she did something I will never forget.
She was talking to me about a rumor she heard about a girl at our kids school. We giggled then she said “let’s see if it is true.” I thought she was just giddy from our conversation and the sex that came before salad. Just a quick bend over against the wall that day.
But she texted her daughter and what I saw next would stick with me in a file this away for later kind of way. She said to her daughter. “do you know this girl?” her daughter said “yes”. Then I watched her pause as if to plan her next message. “Oh ok… is there something going on? Nevermind. No big deal.” Then her daughter incessantly was asking… “What?” “What have you heard?” No response from Hailey and her daughter kept at it… “Just tell me.” This went on for about 10 minutes. And her daughter called. She finally caved and told her daughter what she heard. Rumor was not true.
All I could think about as I watched this exchange was what a funny way to talk to your child. I wasn’t sure at that moment but I thought… did I just witness her manipulate her? It was bizarre. I had never seen this way of communicating with like what I could only describe as a criminal like mind. It seemed innocent enough and at the time I didn’t know what to make other than I didn’t like it.
It made me feel less trusting and I wasn’t sure where this came from and wasn’t exactly sure what I just witnessed. But beyond that kind of underhanded activity it also was a microcosm of our dynamic. So peaceful and perfect and loving suddenly with a side of unnecessary drama. I was relieved for once that it wasn’t aimed at me but it stuck so strongly with me that here I am mentioning it over a year later.