My daughter has the best of everything. Her clothes are from the finest boutiques in town, her wardrobe rivaling mine in size and quality. Her hair has been highlighted and cut by my own stylist from the time she was small. I’ve given her everything she’s ever wanted. Things she didn’t even know that she wanted. Private dance tutors, acting classes, beauty pageant wins, cosmetic enhancements. We want her to be happy. I thought she was happy.
When her teachers told me that Riley’s interactions with another girl in school could be considered bullying, I dismissed it, taking it with a grain of salt. Didn’t all teenage girls argue? But then I met the girl, Cassie, and her mother, in the principal’s office, and I saw something I recognized in her sad eyes. Riley laughed the whole thing off in the car on the way home, and I joined in, wanting to make her happy, to reassure her I was on her side, but my heart wasn’t in it.
Cassie is gone now. When I found out the news, I locked myself in my bedroom and cried the rest of the day. Visions of my own youth tortured me. Disdainful looks from the pretty girls with their perfect skin and shiny hair. My desperation to be accepted, only to have doors slammed in my face at every turn. I thought about the day I gave birth to Riley, when I promised her that she would never endure one moment of suffering.
Today, I dried my eyes and got on the phone to find my daughter a lawyer. They want to put her in jail, but I can’t let that happen. She’s my baby.
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