Rylan wanted to discuss inside; her stubbornness matched him as they continued staring, the cold, stale smell of the hall adding to the discomfort. Eliza broke the silence, reiterating she would be remaining in the city, finishing High School and in a place she felt was home. He seethed, words growled within him, they no longer scared Eliza, but Rylan needed to make himself heard. Abandoning her family for some naive notion, she was ready for the world. From his perspective, Rylan gave her every opportunity, a home, food, clothes, motivated her to demand the best of herself; she repaid this with reckless and irresponsible behaviour. She scoffed, cursing, home life was stressful, it suffocated her, a life devoid of the pleasures enjoyed by her peers. As her friends partied, Eliza would study, improvements forced, unable to find a path to unlock her potential, follow the dreams she imagined. What made Rylan target her above her siblings, Patrick and Charlotte? They were free, developing their character and abilities without Rylan losing his temper, their below average grades or if they ditched homework to hang with friends.
To Rylan, Eliza represented the world and he believed himself better because of her, proud to see her develop. Eliza influenced her siblings when they became toddlers. It was her encouragement that helped them rather than the natural ability she possessed. He wanted to stop her squandering this talent; he pushed her harder because he felt it necessary. The siblings were different; he confessed he refused to give them all the same level of care and encouragement, as Eliza showed such promise. Shaking her head, tears brewing, witnessing family life, Eliza knew he was distant with them all; the care and support he gave made her feel cold and empty. Where was the comfort when she fell from the pirate ship or achieved first place at sports day? Listening to him read was her favourite memory of their time together. For the rest of her time in the family, she recalled her mother and siblings but he was absent.
Eliza held him responsible, friends alienated, drifted leaving her in perpetual isolation. Home changed nothing, her needs ignored, watching him devote his time to writing at the expense of family. Emilie devoted herself to them; dividing her time had a price as one would feel neglected, and Eliza understood her siblings needed that attention. Rylan provided gifts as affection; seeing Eliza choose to live in squalor made him sick, as he failed to understand she would rather have the time listening to him read to her than all the money and creature comforts.
Anger grew; his face reflected the pain in his daughter’s words, accusations disproportionate to the truth. He loved her; the money was so they could have the best start and access to things his mother failed to provide. Rylan felt her rejection of all he was and what he offered. Eliza blamed him, said he lacked compassion, but he was here talking to her, listening, when he could take her, force her to come home with him. His daughter wanted to disown him; the mutual feeling he had at that moment made him hate himself. Those cruel words, each cutting deeper, their relationship, broken, Rylan unable to form sorry, the word caught in his throat, Eliza narrowed her eyes, screwing her face as tears stained her cheek, her father no longer welcome. She locked the apartment door, falling back on it; she let herself cry, sinking to the floor.