XOXO, I Hate You
By Elena Lane
Date: April 10, 2019
Ch. 11

Beverly Wells woke up with a bad feeling in her stomach. She didn’t want to get out of bed and she didn’t want to get ready for brunch with her parents, but worst of all, Beverly dreaded having to go to the party that her parents were hosting later that evening. Wells family parties were not small events; no, a party at the Wells’ house was a big deal. Nothing was ever left to chance, leaving the party to feel more like a well-choreographed show rather than a genuine social event. Everyone was so fake and their conversations so contrived. Beverly often wondered if her parents and all their so-called friends were just robots pretending to be human; how else could they schmooze, compliment and lie so easily?
Beverly kept her eyes closed, but then, she heard her mother’s screechy voice, telling Bev to get up. The woman stayed calm as she spoke to her resting daughter because everyone knew that Linda Wells didn’t yell. Linda Wells was calm, collected, robotic and that’s how she liked it. “Go away, Linda,” Beverly said to her mother, but Linda seemed unresponsive to the demand.
“We have to go to brunch,” Linda said coolly, but with no hint of maternal affection in her voice.
“I’m nineteen now, Linda. I am in college and I can decide whether or not I want to go to brunch. We go to brunch every Saturday. I don’t think that missing one week will be the end of the world.”
“You have to go. It’s tradition, Beverly,” Linda persisted.
“Not one that I wish to continue.” Sure, Beverly had been going to brunch with her family since the time she was born, but it had become more of a chore than anything else. The older Bev got, the more she realized that her family wasn’t normal or even sane and the less she wanted to have anything to do with them.
“Please, just do this for me. Is it too much to ask that my youngest daughter would go with me to brunch? J.W., Jenny, and Bradley are all going to be there. Is it too much to ask that I have all my children in one place? I don’t get to see you altogether too often anymore.”
“Yes, it’s too much to ask,” Beverly replied obstinately, hiding her head under the pillow.
“Beverly…” Linda scolded.
“Linda, I told you that I don’t want to go. That’s final.” Beverly tried to say it with finality, but as stubborn as Bev was, her mother was ten times that.
“Call me ‘mom’, Beverly,” Linda reminded her daughter.
“You don’t even like when I call you mom. I’ve always called you Linda.” It was true. Even as a child, Beverly had referred to her mother as Linda and so did all of Beverly’s siblings. The word ‘mom’ just sounded odd coming from Beverly’s tongue. It felt unnatural.
“I don’t mean all the time, but we’re going to brunch with the Reeve family today and when we’re around my friends, you need to call me ‘mom’, you know that. Otherwise, everyone will think that you don’t respect me and we can’t have that. Appearance is everything, Beverly.”
“I don’t respect you,” Beverly scoffed. Her mother didn’t care about Beverly, she only cared about appearances, that much was clear.
“Well, you should. I’m your mother and I made sure that you grew up with grace, poise, and all the other requirements you need to be part of high society. I didn’t have those things growing up. I lived in a trailer park with next to nothing, but I pulled myself up with my own ambition. Beverly, you’ve had it so easy; therefore, I think that I’ve earned a little respect.”
“Mom,” Beverly said and her mother cringed a little at the unfamiliar word, “You didn’t do anything to pull yourself out of the gutter. You just found a rich man and conned him into marrying you.”
“Beverly, I did what I had to do and I feel no shame for doing it. I love you father, I really do,” Then Linda’s voice quieted, “But you’ve always loved your father more than me,” She sighed, “He gives you gifts and showers you with all that money has to offer. It’s no wonder you love him more.” Beverly’s mother was trying to guilt her, but was profoundly ineffective at feigning hurt. Linda Wells didn’t feel hurt; she had left that part of herself back in the trailer park. As long as she had money, Linda didn’t need anything else; not even love.
“You’re pathetic,” Beverly said and Linda flinched. Maybe the woman wasn’t heartless after all. Beverly felt a wave of regret for what she had said, but she refused to apologize for telling the truth. Her mother was pathetic- in more ways than one. Beverly looked at her mother’s face and wondered if she had taken it too far or if Linda was just a talented actress. Either way, Beverly wasn’t going to take her words back.
Linda remained stoic as she said, “Just get ready.” Then, she left Beverly alone and Beverly did get ready because like it or not, Saturday brunch was the one thing Linda Wells looked forward to and as much as she hated to admit it, Beverly did love her mom, in a bitter though unconditional way. Beverly groaned; once again, her mother had convinced Beverly to do something that she didn’t want to do. How was that woman so persuasive?
Beverly sat at the table impatiently, wearing a white flowery dress. Beverly had always loved wearing pretty things, but on that particular day, she hated that stupid dress because it made her feel like her mother’s Barbie doll. She looked across the table at the Reeve family. Beverly had known them all her life, but that didn’t mean that she particularly liked them. George and Donna Reeve were not unlike Beverly’s parents. They were shallow, maybe even more so than Bev’s own mother. Beverly then looked to Gordon and wondered if perhaps, like her, he was the black sheep of the family.
Gordon was an only child, about Beverly’s age, and while their parents had known each other for ages, Gordon had been sent away to boarding school from a young age so he and Beverly were practically strangers. Still, there was something familiar about him that Beverly could remember. When they were small, Beverly remembered that they had played together and though she could hardly remember those times, she could tell that Gordon wasn’t a bad guy. She hoped that he would be like her and not want a shallow life- going through the motions but never finding true fulfillment- because Beverly really needed an ally; maybe Gordon could be a friend in a world full of foes. Beverly had plenty of friends, but none of them had grown up in the decadent, plastic world or rich socialites. No one could understand Beverly’s world, but Gordon had grown up in the same world as Beverly. Surely, he’d be able to understand.

Font size
Font color
Line spacing
Background color