Another mediocre jump shot slapped back into my face, a 250 word story on the theme "Another World". The story, "The 12th Round", follows here:
Your children are like you, only they're not. They are fun house versions of you, with some of your features: your nose, her eyes, your impatience, her vanity. They are precious, but also draining, sucking away your vital energies into a sinkhole of need that changes as the years go on, but never ends.
When the Ds started coming home, they raged at her, ferocious clashes that left all three of them retreating to corners of their house like exhausted boxers. They took away privileges, they withdrew access, they made her life monastic- school, home, work, food, bed. Repeat. Nothing worked. The flood of poor grades continued.
I looked down at her, sleeping, finally, after another tear stained, dispute filled evening. She made him confront every insecurity he had about himself- every unsure step professionally, every poor purchase and unwise investment now a silent rebuke. How could he purport to advise her, when he couldn't manage his own life?
He knew her universe was different- while the Internet exploded as a phenomenon for him as a young adult, she had been born into it, swimming in seas of data since she could walk. Maybe his formulas- go to school, learn, work hard, get a good job- didn't work in the new coordinate system she lived in. He didn't know what she needed, and she proved to him daily how little he understood about her, and indeed about anything at all.