Short Story: This Is How I Became The Favorite Daughter
As the youngest of three girls, it's hard to really stand out. I mean, Leila is super bright. Her genius ass got her a scholarship at Harvard. Now she's living the life there and making her parents super proud with all her straight A's.
She's the oldest by the way.
Then there's Bodhi. The athletic one. Tall as a three-story warehouse. So it wouldn't surprise you if I told you she's a champion in basketball. My dad wouldn't miss a game for the world. Even if the basement is flooded, which actually happened by the way.
So then there's me. Nothing-special-Kayla. More or less the only one in our family who isn't particularly good at something. Except for all the things the others in the family don't want to do, like putting the trash out, walking the dog, unloading the dishwasher… Apparently, it's all I'm good for. Can you tell why I very much resonate with Cinderella?
My sisters are drenched in compliments every.single.day. And not just solely directed at them personally. No, my parents want to make sure that I hear and know everything and all there is about how amazing Leila is.
How super-duper proud she makes them.
Or how sportive and healthy and such a-team-player Bodhi is—I would LOVE to throw that basketball in her face for once.
But yeah, the only thing I ever hear from my parents is:
KAYLA GET READY!
KAYLA GET YOUR STUFF!
KAYLA I'M NOT YOUR MAID. CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!
As if the only way they can speak to me is to yell.
Most days, when I'm at home, I'm just sitting in my room, all by myself, thinking of what my life could be like when I didn't have any parents.
But then I guess, probably not much different.
I would have to do the cooking and laundry myself, and even though there wouldn't be all that yelling, it would be pretty tough and lonely. That's why I've decided not to run away.
And it's good I didn't. Because then the most amazing thing happened.
It was just another miserable day when I packed my bag and headed outside for school. I wasn't even 5 steps away from our door before my mom yelled after me—again.
I forgot my lunch.
As I walked back to grab it from her hands, she didn't hide how disappointed she was in me.
With a big sigh, she said, "You're gonna be late. I'll drop you off at school."
I didn't want to embarrass her even more so I said thanks.
She grabbed her car keys and without another word, I placed myself in the car seat beside her.
And that's when it happened.
When my life suddenly changed drastically.
I don't know how it happened…
I don't know exactly what happened.
I don't even know what I was thinking when it happened.
All I know is that I wasn't texting on my phone--which I normally do.
Or checking TikTok.
Or playing a game.
But… mom was.
I guess she was texting Dad or something.
And as she was typing, and driving, our car swerved to the left. Just slightly. But it was enough to alarm the truck driver on the other side of the road.
Flashed his lights.
All within seconds.
But that didn't seem to completely reach Mom. Or at least, too late.
Yet, not for me.
As fast as I could, I pulled the steering wheel to the right. Probably an instinct. A pretty, terrible one. I made us drive right into a trash bin…
I thought my life was over.
Mom's gonna freak the heck out: "What were you thinking?! You have no driver's license! Pulling my steering wheel like that. Making us crash! Do you know what this is gonna cost?!"
But she didn't.
She looked at me as if she had just seen a ghost.
Or the most terrifying film ever.
Or… I don't know, just the utmost horror was all over her face.
Then, in a split second, she threw herself toward me, wrapped her arms around me, and started crying. Asking me questions like, "are you okay?", "do you have pain?", and "are you alright?"
And then, this struck me most… She said: "I'm so sorry!"
"What?" is all I could say.
"I'm so sorry, honey."
No yelling. No reproaches.
"What for?" The second thing I was able to say.
Mom grabbed me by the shoulders. "Kayla, you just saved our lives. That truck could have killed us. My gosh, Kayla I'm so sorry."
She repeated this over and over. Patted me on my back. Hugged me. Brushed my cheeks.
It took a while but then I realized… She was right!
It's true. I actually saved our lives. Mom's life!
The truck driver came over to see if we were alright. People started interfering, calling an ambulance. The police arrived at the scene. And it made me feel even better. I was a hero. And all these people were able to see that. Now my parents couldn't deny me anymore.
Here I was: Kayla the lifesaver!
Even the local newspaper dropped by and one of their reporters started to ask questions. Not just about what happened but about who I was and what I did in normal life.
Mom was just standing beside me, smiling and confirming all my words, adding to them that "she was so proud of me".
That night, when we were sitting at the dining table, we ate my favorite dish. And my parents just could not stop talking about my mature actions. My responsible behavior.
They even emphasized to my sisters that they could learn from me.
They ranted about how it had become normal to always be available.
To text whenever. Call whenever. But that it had to stop! And that I was completely aware of that. That's how I saved our lives. By being mindful. And present. And smart.
Yes, they explicitly said, "smart".
I became the smartest.
In fact, months later they still call me the most responsible one.
I can tell it bugs my sisters. They probably hate the fact they're not the favorites anymore.
I am. I had to save lives, and crash a car into a trash bin, but it was worth it.
Now I am the responsible, SMART, favorite daughter.
(This story was an assignment for a client)