“Do you think she’s happy, Marshall?”
With those five (six) words, Young shows more concern for Sandy than Marshall has in the days of our following him. Marshall’s flippant response only heightens the contrast; he knows Sandy is unhappy when she’s around him, but he cares more about her views on the nature of good and evil than her as a person.
I never felt like my mother was interested in getting to know me as a person. To her, I was always a Child – and children aren’t human beings, they’re more like small, annoying, talkative pets. You love them in the way you love pet fish or hamsters: utterly independent of their characteristics or personality, entirely dependent upon their status as small, vulnerable, cute things that belong to you. There was no need to find out who I was, what I was interested in, what I thought about in my spare time. I was a child, I thought about childish things, all of that was entirely unimportant. She had adult things to do.
I still haven’t reached a point in life where she’s bothered to reach out to me and meet the adult me. I doubt it will ever occur. I don’t, can’t, reach out to her anymore, not after the way things ended. If she showed any signs that things would be different, that we could put the past behind us and begin afresh…
“Marshall, it sounds like she’s just exploring, just trying to find out about the world, about the universe she lives in […] She’s a very bright girl. I’msure she just needs to explore, to find herself.”
“Well, whenever she finds out where she is I hope she calls.”
Again, the total disregard for Sandy as a person, for her spiritual and emotional development, in favor of sarcasm and flippant remarks. I never felt like I could turn to my mother for advice about the world; she made me feel defective, inferior. There was something wrong with me for not understanding how other girls thought and why they acted as they did; the lack of interest in my appearance was a sign of deep depression akin to not bathing; my sexual interest in other girls was “just a phase” I’d soon grow out of. I walked too heavily, weighed too much, spoke too loud, thought too much. My life wasn’t the same as the lives of those I’d read about because I was a Child and therefore the rights and responsibilities granted to adults did not, could not, apply to me. My wishes were irrelevant; I knew nothing of my own needs, was entirely dependent on the whims of PMS and exhaustion and therefore needed an Adult to order me around.
Oh yeah, and now I’m going to hell. But everyone’s praying real hard for me!
“I’m sure she would feel much more free to call if she could find understanding hearts at home.”
Even now, when I need help, I call my father rather than my mother. He doesn’t judge me half as hard; he knows how to respectfully disagree with someone, and knows better than to insist all my problems are my own fault.
“We’ve never been without [God] at all, Marshall; it’s just that we’ve been blinded by our ignorance, and that has kept us from the love, security, and meaning that we all desire.”
If Marshall would just listen, even a little bit, to the real message between the psuedospiritual language about “finding our own way” and “searching for ourselves”, he might come away a better father, might stand a chance of reuniting happily with his daughter. Instead, he mocks, ridicules, and gloats, reveling in his own bad choices.
I just can’t like this guy.