This short story is great for someone who wants to increase their happiness by learning how to identify whether to remove someone from their life.
Original cover art by Paola F. Rey
Ivy stared at the floor as her father screamed at her once again. It was a warm Saturday evening and her parents were finishing preparations for a classic Victorian dance party at a ballroom they had rented for the night.
Ivy had finished her schooling and her parents were throwing the party to present her to society, to show she was in the market for a husband, as people did in the Victorian Era. Her father was angry because he did not like how her dress looked.
Maintaining a spotless reputation was extremely important for women during the Victorian Era, but her father was taking it too far. When she was younger, Ivy always thought her father was strict and mean to her out of love. But as she got older, Ivy was finding it more difficult to keep telling herself that her father’s aggressive behavior was out of love.
Ivy’s father was screaming so close to her face that she wondered if he might actually hit her. Before it could get any worse, both of them heard the sound of a carriage outside pulling up to the venue. Ivy’s father stormed off to finish setting up for the party.
Ivy was delighted to watch her friend Jack step out of the carriage, but despite her smile, he could tell that something was wrong.
“Hey, what happened?” Jack asked.
Ivy had met Jack at a fair over the summer and the two of them got along well. Ivy was supposed to be considering other potential suitors at the party, but she liked Jack.
She briefly explained what had happened with her father and Jack was not surprised.
“Notice how he never yells at you in front of other people? Why do you think that is?” Jack asked.
“I don’t know,” Ivy replied.
“Because he knows it’s wrong. If he didn’t know it was wrong, he wouldn’t hesitate to do it in public,” Jack said, answering his own question.
Ivy always forgave her father and reasoned that he could not control himself. But Jack brought up a good point. If he could not control himself, why did he never scream at her in public?
He only did it when other people weren’t around, which meant he did have the ability to control himself. That made it even worse because she realized that he wanted to treat her horribly by choice.
This truth caused Ivy great pain because it led to only one conclusion. She had to get away from her father, no matter what it would take. This was because she realized her father’s actions were not love, but rather evil abuse. She was speechless and could feel that her eyes were close to tearing up.
“I brought you a gift by the way,” Jack said, as he reached into his pocket and took out a necklace featuring crystal butterflies. She welcomed his interruption of her thoughts.
Jack stepped towards Ivy and carefully reached around her shoulders to put it on her neck. She could smell his intoxicating cologne and could even feel the heat of his body radiating towards hers.
“I got this for you the other day. Do you like it?” Jack asked.
“I love it,” Ivy said.
“I think you deserve to be as free as a butterfly is. You shouldn’t have to be afraid of the men in your life,” Jack said.
“That sounds perfect, but I don’t know what I can do. You know I’m considered property. I can’t even leave to go live on my own if I wanted to,” Ivy said.
“Well, if you get married, you can escape him,” Jack said, with a smile.
Ivy smiled back.
Post Story Extra: When it comes to loved ones, it can be hard to accurately judge how they treat us. We are taught from a young age to accept our family members “because it’s your mother/sister/brother/father” and no other reason than that. We are basically taught to let our family get away with more than strangers. But it is important to analyze everyone close to us objectively. Everyone around you, including family, must earn the privilege of being in your life by respecting you and at least treating you the same way they treat others. Never trust anyone who treats strangers better than those they love.