Gina stared at herself in the mirror. How miserable she looked. She was tempted not to go to her cousin, Natalie’s wedding. The last thing she wanted was to see her father. Ever since he found out about her trying to keep Matt and Cam apart, he had made her life miserable by threatening to tell Matt that she had left Cam in a hot car.
She had agreed to let them see each other but that wasn’t enough for her father. He wanted her to give Matt what he wanted–the divorce. And, he had made it clear that if she didn’t, he would make good on his threat so, she had no choice but to agree to the divorce.
How she hated her father. There was a time when she adored him and yearned for his love but he had never given it to her. She remembered that awful day when she had asked him tearfully, “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t you love me?”
His reply had been, “I wanted a son but instead, I got a daughter.”
Later, she learned that it was the man who determined the sex of the child. Throughout her childhood, teenage and young adult years, she tried to prove to him that she was better than any son but to no avail. She grew up feeling that she was a disappointment to him because she wasn’t a boy. And it hurt when she saw how fond he was of her male cousins. He was very fond of Cam and liked Matt. “Matt’s Dad is lucky,” he once said. “He has two sons.”
She could tell that it hurt her mother how her father treated her but there wasn’t anything she could do. Once, she had tried to encourage him to spend time with their daughter, take her the park or to the playground but he refused, saying, “Why don’t you take her? She’s your daughter.” Gina had dashed upstairs to her room and threw herself down on her bed. Wasn’t she his daughter too? She had burst into tears.
She was happy when she was old enough to move out and live on her own. She moved to Toronto where she found a great job. Then, she met Joel and was instantly attracted to him but he was dating Nancy, the pediatrician. She met her when Joel arranged for her to go with them and Matt on a double date. Matt was attractive and obviously attracted to her but she wasn’t into him. She had her eye on Joel and was happy when Nancy and he broke up. She had hoped that the field would be clear for her but he had met and fallen in love with Kira. It became crystal clear to her that there would never be anything more than friendship between Joel and her and so, she turned her attention to Matt.
She didn’t love Matt but she married him any way and they had Cam. They would have had a second child if she hadn’t miscarried. She remembered what her father said when she had told her mother and him about it. Her mother had cried and hugged her, telling her how sorry she was. Her father had said, “I’m sorry you lost the child. I wonder if it would have been another boy.”
She had lost it and she lashed out at him in pain and anger. “That’s all you care about, isn’t it? You’re like those people in India who are obsessed with boys. If a woman has a son, they celebrate but if they have a girl, they don’t want her so they abandon her. They have sex selective abortions and infanticide. Boys are all that matter to them and they’re all that matter to you. If I had been a stillborn, you wouldn’t have cared. You probably would have said, oh, well, it was just a girl.”
Her mother had tried to calm her but she was overcome with rage and a hurt so deep that she felt like she was going to lose her mind. And it incensed her that her father had just stood there, watching her. If only he had tried to calm her, tell her that he was sorry and held her but he didn’t. When she was done berating him, she ran out of the room, almost blinded by tears.
Tears sprang to her eyes now and she blinked them back. No, she told herself, I’m not going to cry. I’m going to go to the wedding and face him. I won’t talk to him unless I have to. I’m just going to go there, act like everything is okay and try to look like I’m having a good time.
Turning away from the mirror, she took up her handbag and walked out of the bedroom. Ten minutes later, she was on her way to the church. It was a sunny day, still quite cold. She had no idea why Natalie and Graham would choose to have their wedding in February. Why didn’t they have it in May or June when the weather was nice and warm? Thankfully, she had a heavy winter coat which kept her very warm and her hat, although it wasn’t for winter, it kept her head relatively warm.
When she got to the church, there were lots of cars already there so she had to park on the street. Fortunately, there wasn’t any snow on the sidewalk but she was still very careful as she made her way to the attractive Anglican Church. The service was going to begin in about ten minutes, so she went into the sanctuary and sat where the usher showed her. She saw her parents. They were sitting in the third row. The bride’s and groom’s parents occupied the first row and the rest of the family the next four rows. She should have been sitting with them but she didn’t want to.
The service began on time. It was a beautiful ceremony and as they hurried down the aisle amidst cheers and claps, she could see how happy the couple were. On her own wedding day, she had been smiling as if she were happy but inside she wasn’t.
The reception was held at banquet hall which reminded her more of a large log cabin and which comfortably seated 150 people. It was surrounded by a valley which was still covered with snow. Inside was beautifully and tastefully wedding decorations. She stood at the entrance and looked around. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw her father standing there, leaning against a post, watching her. Well, she supposed that she couldn’t expect to avoid him for the entire wedding.
Squaring her shoulders, she walked over to him. “Hello, Dad,” she said. For appearances sake, she hugged him.
“Hello, Gina. I didn’t think you were going to show up.”
“Where’s Mom?” she asked.
“She’s in the power room, I believe. I saw you leaving the church. Why didn’t you sit with the rest of the family?”
“I didn’t want to,” she replied. No use lying about it.
“I see. I get the feeling that I’m the reason why.”
Gina didn’t answer.
“You’re still upset with me, aren’t you?”
“Upset with you?”
“Yes, for making you do the right thing where Matt and Cam are concerned.”
“You blackmailed me into doing what you wanted.”
“Don’t you want what’s best for Cam?”
“Of course I want what’s best for him.”
“If that’s true, why were you keeping him and his father apart?”
“What about the divorce? You think that’s best for him?”
“It’s best for Matt.”
“Everything was fine between him and me before Melania spoiled everything.”
“Melania isn’t to blame for the breakdown of your marriage and you know it. Stop blaming her and everyone else. It’s time to take responsibility for what happened. If you had been a good wife to Matt, he would have walked out on you and asked for a divorce.”
Gina’s face turned red. “Look, I didn’t come here to discuss my marriage with you.”
“He’s with Matt.”
“Good. You know he belongs with Matt, don’t you?”
“What are you getting at?” she asked warily.
“I think you should Matt full custody.”
“A boy belongs with his father.”
“Matt hasn’t asked for full custody–“
“And if he does?”
“I don’t think he will.”
“But, what if he does, Gina? Are you going to give it to him?”
“If he does and I don’t agree to it, are you going to threaten me again?”
“If you care about what’s best for Cam as you claim you do, I shouldn’t have to do anything, should I?”
“You’ve got what you wanted. Cam and his father are seeing each other as before and I’ve given Matt the divorce. What more do you want?”
“I want you to think about someone other than yourself for a change. Think about Cam and what he wants.”
Gina opened her mouth to make a retort but thought better of it. Instead, she walked past him, her heart racing and her face pale. She headed for the powder room after asking one of the staff there where it was.
Source: SOS Children’s Villages Canada