I assume there’s a stage in everyone’s life when they feel more or less like an equal to their parent or guardian. A switch gets flipped and the relationship stabilizes, in a sense. It all begins from that one moment when one of you realize the value of the other.

This was one of those moments.

People always thought we had a great relationship. We were more like best friends, they’d say. We knew how to maintain a level of “cool”, but it was not an easy relationship. I was never the daughter she hoped I’d be and it was okay for her to let me know.

I grew up too fast and she wasn’t happy about change. With time, though she began to accommodate me, and she began to change too. But there was always an underlying discomfort.

I’d get the randomest calls, at the randomest times and she would say the strangest sharpest things. Never once did I think it came from a place of neediness.

I thought I was bad, because she said I was bad. I thought I was poor daughter and failing at this “family thing”.

But that night, there was clarity. You know that feeling you get when something that you’ve been processing for so long surfaces? My chest resisted gravity while my shoulders embraced it. Her condescending remarks, a blur.

I asked, “What’s wrong?:”

Her voice changed, “I have a headache…it’s been a rough day…can you come home?”

“I’ll be there in half an hour.”