Candice was a hard-luck cliche. She had had a crappy childhood with parents that weren’t quite abusive enough to be considered criminals (at least not in the days when she was young) but certainly abusive enough to make for a miserable childhood.
Candice’s family lived in a fairly decent neighbourhood in Candice’s grandparents’ house. The grandparents were long dead, so they lived there practically for free. But Candice’s parents both drank a lot and worked only sporadically so there was never enough money for anything. No cool clothes. No vacations. No music lessons. No summer camp. No fun.
Candice didn’t fit in with any of the more affluent kids at school. She thought they were stuck-up and mean. They mocked her until that got boring and then they pretty much ignored her.
Candice was a mediocre student with no real hopes of being able to go to college and no real desire for any kind of career. After high school she got herself a job at Tim Hortons because she saw a sign in the window one day that said they were hiring.
The Tim Horton’s closed down after a year and three months, so Candice was out of a job. Her parents wanted her out of the house, so she took what money she had been able to save and moved to a larger city.
In the new city she immediately got a job at a Starbucks. She found herself a little studio apartment, was able to buy a few pretty things for herself and felt almost happy for the first time in her life. She made friends at work and eventually met a man 10 years her senior who fell in love with her and “captured her heart”, as Candice liked to put it.
They had nothing in common, but that seemed to draw them together all the more. He, Aaron had grown up wealthy and now practiced law in his family’s firm. Aaron’s parents didn’t like Candice, but Aaron was a 30-year-old man and lived his own life.
Candice and Aaron were married after a short courtship. The marriage lasted almost 8 years until, predictably, Aaron grew tired of the wife with whom he had next to nothing in common. Aaron had affairs. Candice forced herself not to realize it until he announced he was leaving her for someone else. He left her with a nice house, a new car, a very healthy bank account and a monthly cheque.
Candice went into therapy.
Twenty years later Candice is still in therapy working through the pain of her childhood and the betrayal of the only man she ever loved. She’s had dozens of lovers since; has tried and failed at various jobs; and has a number of chronic health issues to add to her overall misery.
Most of her friends got fed up some time ago with Candice’s incessant resentments and don’t spend much time with her anymore. Their neglect only adds fuel to Candice’s raging bitterness.
“People suck,” Candice declares often.
“No,” said her friend Sharon. “You suck. You’re hanging on to the anger and pain of shitty stuff that’s been over for a long time. You feed the anger and pain. You nurture it like a child. You bring it out to show your friends, like you’re a proud mother. You’ve filled your entire life with so much shit that there’s no room for anything good or positive anymore. That sucks.”
Candice stopped speaking to Sharon because she, like everyone else had no appreciation for the true horror of Candice’s life.