The retail store was one of my greatest ideas, I must say. Not only was an entire store dedicated to the greatness that is me, but it was an excellent way to meet new people.
Janie: “Hey there!”
It was the perfect way to accomplish my goal: be the exact opposite of my mother, and be friends with everyone. The more people you know, the more options you have, after all. And, if Mama taught me anything good, it was that I was pretty awesome—good at everything, loved by everyone, and all that. So I should have all the options, for when I finally decided to settle down.
And I did want to settle down. One might think that my mother’s failed romance and the horrible problems she had with my father would scare me away from relationships. On the contrary, actually. I very much wanted a relationship. Just not one like my mother and fathers. I wanted one where my partner was entirely (or nearly entirely—I’m not naïve) compatible with me, and where I was regarded with all due respect and admiration.
In the meantime, I was enjoying interacting with everyone.
Janie: “You’re interested in the purple dress? That’s a great one. I wore it to Sophie’s-you know Sophie-birthday party, and everyone complimented it. I looked better than the birthday girl!”
Janie: “I’m so glad you’ve decided to purchase the workout set! As you can see on me, it’s quite flattering. I bet (after you’ve hit the gym in it a bit) it’ll look even better on you!”
Janie: “Welcome, all, to Newman Lifestyle After Dark! After 11 pm every day, the lights go out and prices reduce by 15%! A great deal!”
And I was good at it. I already knew everyone liked my style—Mama always told me how well I dressed, and the rest of the world seemed to agree. And everyone just seemed to like it more when I was selling it using my incredible charisma and charm.
Janie: “And… you’re all set! Thank you for your business! And you say hi to your sister and her baby for me-I want pictures ASAP!”
It was like Yuki said. When you were in something for more than the money, it made every day at work a joy. I will admit—I wasn’t making that much money. But really, who cared? I was supplementing our income enough. My father was still working, Mama’s royalties were still coming in daily. And I was having a blast just getting to know everyone, charming and brightening the day of everyone who walked down to our little basement store.
Well… not everyone.
Some people (I bet you can’t imagine who that would be) didn’t approve of my basement business.
Jalen: “Janie, honey, I thought you weren’t going to work! I thought you were going to be a good child, do something useful with your life! Travel, explore, laze around!”
My father disapproved. He really disapproved. I think he saw it as siding with my mother, perhaps? That the fact that I was opening up a store at all (even though it wasn’t a coffee shop) was just a way of getting back at him for the fact that he kept mother and I from doing the same thing years ago.
It wasn’t like that. (Well, maybe it was a little bit). But mostly, it was about having a job that I loved. Great hours, interesting people, no one looking over my shoulder and scorning the fact that I made around two sales a day (sometimes less…). There was no way I would have that in a real job. And what did Jalen want me to do anyway??
Jalen: “Well, I don’t know! Something fun! You used to be so fun, Janie, what happened?”
It was unfortunate, I guess. That my social and career life was going so well so instantly, but my home life was simultaneously going south. I didn’t care, not really.
Janie: “So I’m eating alone. No biggie. I’m sure I’ll see everyone at the store later.”
Janie: “Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle…”
Jalen: “Quit that racket! I’m trying to work!”
Janie: “Hah! That’d be the day. You’re playing BlicBlock, so you can deal with my “racket!””
Janie: “Samuel, you’ll listen to me play. Right, buddy?”
At least I had Mama. I still had zero respect for (perhaps even less—I mean, what mother lets their child be spoken to that way? It was her job to make my life as easy and comfortable as possible, right?), but at least she knew what I was going through. She was continuing with her minor acts of rebellion against my father.
And I continued with mine.
Janie: *shouting* “I’M OPENING UP THE SHOP NOW!”
Jalen: *shouting* “DAMMIT, CHILD! YOU WILL NOT!”
Where Mama was quiet in her rebellions, I wanted my father to know each and every time I did something he would disapprove of. No one could make me change who I was, what I wanted to do, and who I wanted to be. Definitely not.
After a year or so, it seemed to work. Oh, Jalen still grumbled, but he seemed to recognize that I was the head of the house now. I was the matriarch. And where my mother had let him push her around, I would do no such thing.
Jalen: “Are you opening the shop today?”
Janie: “I am.”
I don’t know why it mattered to him that much, anyway. He never had to see the shop, and I was otherwise hardly ever around. I wasn’t there to bother him, so why was he bothered so much! Maybe it was that he was getting older.
Clinging to the last remnants of his power, perhaps? But he had power over my mother still…
Jalen: “Where is everyone? Busy again? And I’m by myself…”
Jalen: “I guess I’ll go talk to Samuel… if I died today, he’d probably be the only one who noticed…”
Nope. Impossible to tell why he was such a stick in the mud and kept bothering me.
At least my friends weren’t like that.
Dominic: “Beautiful night, right?”
Janie: “Absolutely! Wanna dance?”
No, they were far better. I would stick as much with them as possible.
Jane: “I wonder where my daughter is…”
Jane: “… Out again, I suppose.”
Jane: “I guess she forgot…”