So even after I started living with Mum, some time after we came up with the idea to have dinner at Dad’s every fortnight or so (this was when he was still living in Auckland), and that way my sister and I still got to see him but we wouldn’t have to worry about actually living there or staying over. It worked out well at first, and every week or so we would be invited over for dinner. Again, the only thing I liked about going there for dinner was the fact that I got to see Dad, and that was enough for me to make the effort to go round, even if it meant I’d have to see Tori.
I always thought that my sister had more of a connection with Tori than I did; they just seemed to get along better and more easily than me and Tori, they seemed to have more in common and were able to be friends, somewhat (I use that term loosely and you’ll find out why in a second). I knew that it was very important to my sister to try establish such a friendship with Tori to show that she was making an effort with Dad’s new partner, and also just because she genuinely wanted to be friends with Tori for the sake of all getting along, since she was very much a big part of Dad’s life now and there was no denying that. My sister was also friends with Tori on Facebook and they would message each other in between these dinners, so every now again they would talk or share each other things on social media. Hence, my sister believed that they had a genuine friendship and had began to see Tori as not only Dad’s partner but also a friend.
I, on the other hand, exchanged pleasantries with Tori whenever we went over there for dinner, but I didn’t think anything of it or even believe it was genuine or real. I knew that it was fake, and that both her and I hadn’t changed the way we felt about each other, even though on the surface it looked as though things were better between us and that we had found a way to get along. I never believed that those fake conversations we had over dinner was anything more than an act. I still didn’t think any more of her than I did when I first met her, but I guess I was pretending for Dad’s sake.
Just over a year ago, though, we stopped being invited over to Dad’s house without warning or any explanation. We waited for the invitation that never came, and both my sister and I started to notice that we hadn’t been asked to go round there for dinner for a while. It almost became a running joke between us, because it was supposed to be our second home and yet we had stopped being invited to go there for whatever reason. Dad never brought this up with us, so it still remains a mystery as to why the dinner arrangement, which was working out well enough, stopped so suddenly. We both felt awkward asking him directly about it, but we always wondered the reason why it had stopped. The conclusion we came to was that Tori must have spoken to Dad about the whole thing and expressed that she didn’t want us to come over anymore.
The thing you have to realise is that Tori has a big influence over Dad, including his opinion and his actions, and often whatever she says goes. This is because she’s incredibly outspoken and has always been this way, she’s just someone who speaks her mind and doesn’t care or think about the impact it has on other people or any potential consequences. She’s very opinionated and has quite a dominating presence, much more so than my dad. It has always been this way, and I remember so many times growing up when Tori would want something and Dad would drop everything just to do it for her to make her happy, regardless of who else is involved or affected by it. Hence, it’s not really a surprise that we would stop being invited over for dinner if she had in fact said something to Dad about it, despite the fact that we are his daughters and it’s important for us to see him and vice versa.
Months went by without an invite, and not only that but my sister said that she hadn’t heard from Tori that entire time, as in hasn’t had any messages from her on social media or anything. She was genuinely quite hurt by this, as like I’ve said, she believed they were friends and I know how much effort and time my sister put into building that friendship or connection she thought she had with Tori, which was over many years. My sister started to come to the conclusion that she must have never had a friendship with Tori at all, despite what she had thought for many years, and she felt really disappointed and a bit betrayed by the whole thing. The relationship she thought they had ended up not being so true or genuine, after all, and my sister didn’t hear from Tori again and it became pretty clear that Tori must not have really cared about my sister at all.
She only just realised recently, upon thinking back on it all, that the whole time she was trying to build that ‘friendship’ with Tori, she often felt like she had to put herself down or laugh at herself (like “oh, I did a really stupid thing today, you’ll find it so funny!”), in order to gain Tori’s approval and bond with her. This is because Tori is the kind of person who will laugh at other people’s mistakes and misfortune. I don’t think my sister really realised that she was having to do this, as at the time it seemed most important to have a good relationship with Tori, but since then she’s realised that any time you feel the need to put yourself down in order for someone else to like you is not worth pursuing and is most definitely not your friend. And this is true in the case of her relationship/friendship with Tori.
Both my sister and I started to wonder if we had done something wrong, or something to offend Tori the last time we saw her as we were trying to think of a logical reason for why we weren’t being invited over there anymore. We knew that whatever the reason, it would have come from Tori and not Dad, as almost everything is done on her terms and based on what she likes/doesn’t like, even in their own relationship. We knew deep down that we hadn’t done anything wrong and couldn’t have possibly been anything we did the last time we saw her, but were just struggling to think of why it suddenly changed.
This went on for over a year, and the only time I saw Tori was at my sister’s graduation, but the dinners at their house had well and truly stopped and they never happened again. We did see Dad occasionally to catch up with him, but we couldn’t help but notice that every single time we saw him Tori was mysteriously (and conveniently) not there. I was secretly really glad that she wasn’t, as you know I never thought much of her at all. The weird thing was that her absence was never raised or addressed at any point by Dad, and after a while when we began to ask he always said she was doing something else or just happened to have something else on that meant she couldn’t come to lunch or dinner or whatever it was we had planned. If it was just once or twice then maybe I could have believed it, but every single time we saw Dad for the next year or so she wasn’t there and it got just all too convenient really – clearly there was another reason that we just didn’t know about. It was pretty clear she wanted nothing to do with us.
Eventually we brought it up again and asked him if Tori had said anything about us or about not wanting to see us anymore, as we hadn’t seen her for a year at this point, and Dad acted totally oblivious as though he hadn’t even realised that she was never there and denied that she said anything about it to him. Whether that’s the truth or not, I can’t say for sure, but it would certainly be strange for someone as outspoken, forthright and blunt as Tori to not say anything if she had a problem with us. Put it this way, she’s definitely not the kind of person who is afraid to hurt someone’s feelings – if she has a problem, you will know about it. We also found it hard to believe that Dad had genuinely not realised all the times Tori hadn’t been there, as it was pretty obvious when it kept happening time and time again.
Another strange thing that happened is that Dad often asked to see us when he knew Tori was out or wouldn’t be around. For example, he once invited me over to his house for a cup of tea because ‘Tori was at work’, or because ‘Tori was going swimming with a friend’, and whenever she was home we would never be invited or asked to come round. It was like we would have to sneak around when she wasn’t there, like as if we were doing something wrong by spending time with our dad, like it was some kind of secret. It’s pretty ridiculous, really. As you can imagine, she must have had a big problem with us for Dad to feel like he had to sneak around like that just to see us, or to sneak us into his house for a cup of tea while she’s not home etc. This continued over a long period of time and we came to expect some kind of invitation to see Dad if we knew that Tori was away.
A good example of this is that once they moved down to Paeroa 6 months ago, my sister and I were not invited to go see their new house or to see their new lifestyle away from the city. We didn’t know much about their life down there as we weren’t invited to go down and stay (even if only for a couple of nights). Once again the invitation we were waiting for never came, and it started to feel as though we had been cut out of his life somewhat. Then just last month Tori went away to the UK for 6 weeks, meaning Dad would be there on his own while she was away. Can you guess what happened next? We got invited to see his new house and to stay the night! We totally saw it coming as Dad mentioned to me that Tori was going away a few weeks earlier. Please agree with me that that’s not just another coincidence.
That’s the end of the story for now (or at least the parts that I wanted to share), but now that I’ve made an introduction and a start I’ll probably make more posts about it in the future or ‘updates’, if you will.
Lucy Rebecca x