The Critic

silhouette of a man in window

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It was his job to be the critic.

He’d taken it on when he was but a child and there was naught by chaos all around him.

Criticizing was a way to put some order into madness, to have at least the illusion of control.

Not that he’d criticize them openly and risk the switch or belt or backhand or the things that were … well … worse.

But criticize he did.

Mostly himself.

At first as practice.

Then as habit.

Then as something he would do without even a pause to think.

Offer a knifing critic.

Of his actions. Of his wishes. Of his hopes. His thoughts. His dreams.

What had began as coping, turned a prison.

And the jailer was inside him.

The sentencing, his own.

 

 

 

For the SoCS Saturday Challenge: Critic(al)

 

Not This Way!

She doesn’t want the blue dress. She wants the red one, with the sparkles. Yes, from the laundry. Even dirty. Not wait for tomorrow. Today.

She doesn’t want socks. Her feet won’t be cold. Not even if its snowing. No socks. She doesn’t even like socks. Ever. Never. Not even the Minnie Mouse ones from Granny … well … she likes those “a little” … “sometimes” … but not today. She doesn’t like any socks today.

She doesn’t want a ponytail. Or pigtails. Pigtails are “stupid.” She wants braids. Four of them. No, not this way! She wants one big one “like Elsa” and three “baby ones.” Because.

She doesn’t want milk in her cereal. She wants chocolate milk. In a cup. With a straw. Not the green straw. The pink one. And three strawberries. Not four. Three. “Not that one. These ones.”

Her momma sighs.

“You are being difficult today.”

The girl gives a shrug, then a side glance. A giggle escapes.

The mom raises an eyebrow. She is not amused.

The child smiles enigmatically, twirls her four braids (one big like Elsa’s and three baby ones).

“So what’s this all about?” Mom asks, eyes narrowed but curious.

“It’s Ben’s fault.”

“Ben!?” The mother shakes her head. The older brother is ten-going-on-fifteen and goodness knows these two don’t always get along, but Ben had left for school before Miss Au Contraire here as much as opened an eye. “How can it be Ben’s fault?”

“Remember yesterday?” little eyebrow mirrors the parent’s, challenging. “Ben said I ‘such a terrible critic.’ So I’m practicing. To get better.”

 

stubborn

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For The Daily Post