Life is full of surprises; I can still remember that phrase that my grandmother used to say. I miss her so much. She was a definition of a woman warrior, she went through a lot, and she never allowed it to torture her. Instead, she went after her dreams. Breaking free from my abusive grandfather, she moved back to her hometown; my grandmother always had a passion for cooking. In 1960, she opened her restaurant. Mother used to spend time in winter with my grandmother, and summer with my grandfather. At first, my mother didn't see my grandfather for almost five years until he went to rehabilitation and proved that he could take care of a child. My grandfather, on the other hand, he was born to be a businessman. It ran through his blood. In 1970 he created his clothing line. He was good at it; he designed multiple dresses for famous actresses. Sometimes I wish my grandmother gave a second chance to grandfather; they were high school sweethearts. They went through a lot together, it wasn't fair throwing everything to waste, but what happened is in the past. My grandfather used to say that he was never able to move from my grandmother's breakup. He admitted that he did wrong, but he wanted it to fix it. He tried to show grandmother that he was still the man whom she fell in love with deep in the heart and that he just needed a second chance to prove it.
My mother seeing all of that, it made her depressed. My mother told me that at some point, her parents forgot entirely about her. They were working so hard that they didn't care what happened to their daughter. It broke my heart because then I realized that what happened to her was happening to me now. My parents broke up when I was seven years old. They fought over my custody, but history repeated itself, and now it was me who was spending winter with mother, and summer with father.
It is scary because I don't want that to happen to me when I meet my soulmate. I don't want my children to grow up in a toxic environment.
It is 1997, and I'm close to my high school graduation. I want to study music in college. I've been singing since I was nine years old, but I believe that I can do better, and I want to be able to produce and write my songs. My parents don't agree with me pursuing a career in the music industry; they want me to be instead a teacher or a lawyer. Something that I had to learn spending time separated from my mother in summer and father in winter is that even separated; they don't support me. Like, if they could at least make an effort and help me with something, it would mean the world to me. I've been the daughter that they always wanted. They wanted a president of the student council; they had it. They wanted me involved in sports; they had it. Whatever they wanted me involved in, I did it. Why can't they approve of this?
As soon as I graduate from high school, I'm going to college to study music. I don't care if they pay for it or not.
Standing in front of the mirror, I look at myself in disgust. I hate wearing dresses. I don't care if it's summer. I want my jeans.
Father got married three months ago with Meghan. A recognized model. It is not that I hate her; it is just that I think she's using my father. My father owns the company of one of the most successful magazines in the U.S, and he recently decided to launch his career as a photographer. I believe the reason that she married him is that with him by her side, she can accomplish more important things. My father can boost her career in seconds. I heard her recently talking about being on the next month's cover. She wants to be famous so bad.
I don't know how my mother feels about my father's marriage; I mean, it took both of us by surprise. I was staying with my grandfather when I saw on the news that my father got married. Tears started coming out, and I ran to my room. My father gave up on my mother just like that. It was at that moment when I realized that I meant nothing to him. He didn't even have me there. His parents were there as his brothers and sister were there, but I wasn't there. That hurt me a lot. I didn't want to come this summer and see him, to be honest. My mother pushed me to come down here, and I hate her for that. If I could tell her the truth, I'm sure she wouldn't send me here, but I'm scared to tell her what happened last summer.
-Rose, your father is waiting for you downstairs are you ready?- Meghan walked into the room as she owns it. There's nothing that makes more upset than somebody that does not knock the door and walk in without any invitation.
I stare at her for a couple of seconds and then grab my purse. I'm sure that my father is going to make me attend the gala with them. I'm not too fond of it because it replays my nightmare on my head repeatedly. I wish I could trust somebody and say what happened to me last year. I don't believe in this so-called justice. They won't do anything about it, I can feel it. When somebody has the power and the money to manipulate everyone that surrounds them, it's game over.
Leaving the room with Meghan, I go outside and walk to my father's limo. He's wearing his black tuxedo and red tie while Meghan is wearing a crystals dress that my grandfather designed.
-I thought you were ready hours ago.- he said in an arrogant tone.
-I decided to change the dress, the one that Meghan got me didn't fit me well.- I said, trembling.
-Maybe if you stop overeating, you probably would fit in that dress and your grandfather's dresses. Don't you think?- he said, lighting up his cigarette. That's another reason that I hate coming to New York. Since my father got recognition around the world, and meet Meghan, he changed a lot. Now that he's married, I believe it's going to be worse.
-Robert, please be kind to her. At least she's dressed up nicely, and she's coming with us to the gala.- Meghan said this time, grabbing his hand.
I try to hide my tears. Something that I despise about myself is that I'm very sensible. I got that from my mother. I wonder what she's doing or feeling right now. I miss her chocolate cake right now. One of my favorite moments with her in winter is when we sit together and watch movies while eating our favorite desserts that we made for the occasion.
The whole time we stayed silent. Once we got to the gala, the paparazzi are yelling Meghan's name while taking pictures. I just walk inside with my father's bodyguard. I don't want to be out there with them; I want to sit and then leave. I either have an interest in meeting anyone. Many people would kill themselves to be here since they are actresses, actors, singers, models, and the list goes on, but if they only knew that none of these people are how they look like and pretend to look. I'm sure they would be scared.
-Rose! Can I take a picture with you? I am a fan of yours; I love the movie that you made when you were six. It was funny, but at the same time, it left a precious lesson.- a young girl about my age said nervously. She reminds me of my old friend Alicia. She passed away when she was fourteen. I miss her. She was my only true friend.
Agreeing to take a picture with her, I walked inside. This year the gala is making a special dinner. So, I'm going to hide in here. Nobody besides famous are allowed inside. The bodyguard stands behind me while I sit down at the very last table.
Ten minutes later, Meghan and my father walk inside. There's a lot of people that I don't know, and I'm incredibly uncomfortable.
-Rose? Nice to meet you. I'm Roger. I work for Columbia Records, I recently heard your tape, and I loved it. I wanted to ask if you come to audition next week, I'm very interested, but I want you to show the people over there that your voice is powerful. Here's my number call me.- a tall man said in a hurry passing me a black card. The tape that he's talking about I sent it to another label, but they didn't like it, so they said that they were going to send it to Columbia Records. I did that behind my parent's back.
Honestly, I didn't think that they were going to like it. I wrote that song inspired by somebody else that inspired me when I was a little girl.
As my father and Meghan mingled, I look at a guy that caught my attention. I have never seen him at the gala before, and he doesn't seem to know anybody in the room. Standing from the chair, I walk towards him. He's beautiful. He has dark hair, brown eyes, and he's taller than me. He doesn't look older than me, probably one year old, but that's it. It seems like he takes care of his body.
-Hi, I'm Rose.- I said, extending my hand, and I'm starting to regret it. I've never been the one to make the first move. He looks at me, confused, and then extended his hand.
-Angelo.- he said in an uninterested tone.
-Nice to meet you. Is this your first time at the gala?- I asked curiously. I want to make sure that I didn't miss him last year. He looks handsome.
-Yes, it was my uncle's idea of bringing me here today. He said that a lot of famous people would be here, and I could make new contacts.-
-Oh, that's cool. My father forced me. I don't know if this is some punishment or what. I wish I stayed with my mother in Ohio. Life over there is quieter, and there I don't have to worry about looking glamorous. There I can be myself and express sully without having somebody to correct me or judge me.
-I understand. My life was a peaceful one too long ago, but my mother sold me to my uncle, and now I have to do what he says. I recently started my career as an artist and released my first album. Now, my uncle wants me to model and be on a magazine cover if that is something easy to achieve. My uncle is ambitious; once he has something, he goes for something higher. I'm going to go crazy with him, and this is not something that I wanted. I wanted to be lawyer.- he said, drinking from his glass of wine.
I just stood there looking at him. Angelo looked upset as if he merely lived the scenery again. I felt terrible for him. He wanted a simple life, but his family had something else on their mind.
-I got to go; I have to talk to Mr. Robert. This is my opportunity; if not, my uncle is going to kill me. - he rushed towards my father's way. If he only knew. I kept looking around, and I saw the balcony at the end of the room. The paparazzi don't have access to this side of the building, so I'm fine to go outside and get some fresh air.
Excusing myself from the busy room, I finally make it to the balcony. A couple is talking while having a smoke and a glass of wine. I stand there looking at the scenery. Today is perfect, perfect temperature, and a beautiful sunny day. It feels so different.
-Look who's here.- I felt my body froze, and my heart stopped beating. Please, dear God, tell me this is not who I think it is. I'm outside for god sake. Why now? At least inside, I can defend myself.