Selma had always been a picky eater. She tossed aside her veggies at dinner, and only ate apples or bananas on the rare occasion. But ever since her mother's kind new friend had been bringing them all sorts of tasty foods, she'd been enjoying every meal of the day. He always brought the freshest and the best quality, and even tried to get her mother to eat healthier. Her mother had never been a slim woman, but this didn't seem to bother her. She was a divorced housewife with two young children, and a developing addiction to Xanax, and she regularly ate in her depression and anxiety. Selma was oblivious to her mother's mental problems however, and she took such a liking to her new Uncle Ahmed, that even when him and her own mother were having a dispute, she always took his side. She never realised how serious their disputes were, giggling at the man's comical rage, the likes of which she had only seen in cartoons. For a long time, she thought he was only playing when he became furious. Her brother Max always took the confident man's side as well, looking up to him as the only father-figure in the young boy's life. He was coming to their apartment regularly a few months after the divorce. So regularly in fact, that he had began establishing his own rules in the household. One such rule was that her mother stop drinking coffee. This seemed like an odd rule for Selma, and she disregarded it as a silly game the man was playing. She was surprised when he threw out her mother's coffee jar, but she assumed her mother had decided she didn't like coffee anymore. After all, Selma could never understand why adults needed that bitter drink every morning anyway. The next day however, her mother sent down Max to the nearby shop, 'Friends', ironically run by quite unfriendly people. She instructed him to buy her some coffee, but keep quiet about it the next time Uncle Ahmed came over. The boy did as he was told, even helping his mother hide the new jar. Selma had observed all this from the sidelines, the motive behind all the secrecy passing right over her head. Nevertheless, the very next time her beloved Uncle Ahmed came over, she watched her mother carefully, trying to keep herself to the same guidelines that her brother had been given. She never figured out how the man found the coffee, but he did. And thus began the first fall-out in a long, desperate chain of fall-outs between him and her mother. The dispute didn't start off slowly, and then eventually grow into a full-scale fight. No. It simply exploded. One minute, Selma was giggling at the man's strange, angry tone, even trying to further fuel what she thought was just a game, by telling him what her mother had instructed her brother with. Her giggles were snatched out of her throat when the front door was slammed, and her mother's sobs filled the silent echo that the after-math of the dispute had left. She had seen him put away the coffee jar, and to her, it all seemed like some kind of strange game. But all she needed was to hear the shaking of her mother's voice as she cried into her hands in despair. In that moment, the brutal reality came crashing down on her. This wasn't a game. For the next few days, Selma struggled to understand what had happened. She tried to work it through inside her 7 year old mind, but every time she thought she was beginning to understand, her mother's voice cut her chain of thought. At times it was full of rage. Other times it was only a whimper, like a lost child tired of looking for their guardian in the crowd. Selma found the frame of Uncle Ahmed's picture cracked down the middle. Her mother had thrown it at the wall. This was enough for Selma to make a decision, in her young, innocent mind. It was time to stop taking his side. She took a piece of paper, and a pen, having learnt in school that what you write in a pen, can never be erased. With her mother's angry sobs in the background, Selma began to write. "I hate you. I'm sorry.. But you broke my mother's heart." This was enough. She had made a decision, and she had wanted to somehow bring this decision to life. This piece of paper would be hidden well, never to be seen by anybody. No one else had to know. Her brother did not seem concerned with what was happening around him. Even at a younger age, he had spent a large amount of time playing computer games. Selma had seen videos of her brother, just two years old, and already playing Jazz Jack Rabbit, without even looking down at the keyboard. She had been told their father is an engineer, and even though she wasn't sure what that meant, she knew it must've had something to do with her brother's love of computers. Her father had always brought home thick magazines full of pictures of computers and other electronics. She now looked for these magazines, thinking what a good hiding place they would be for her secret paper. Unable to find a single one, she went to ask her mother of their whereabouts. She found her mother mopping herself up, putting the room in order, and then asking her to bring a new frame for her from Selma's collection of Disney princess pictures. They were the same size as Uncle Ahmed's picture. Selma, though confused by her mother's sudden change in attitude, did as she was told. Belle lost her frame, and her mother stood the confident young man's photo back up on the nightstand. After nearly two weeks of the silent treatment from him, her mother finally managed to apologise to him enough times for him to consider forgiving her. To Selma, it was incomprehensible why someone would go into such a blind rage over coffee, but her mother seemed to be fine with it all, and so Selma ripped he paper apart, deciding that if her mother was all better, then there was no reason to hate Uncle Ahmed anymore. She even spent the morning of that weekend's Saturday making origami stars of all colours, having been told that it was his birthday that day. In Selma's young mind, there was nothing she could imagine that could possibly ruin a birthday. Especially not a birthday cake..

The End

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