Heather Dupont, Part 2

Since people apparently found the last post by searching for “Heather Dupont,” let me make clear that this Heather Dupont is a work of fiction. The story is based, loosely, on actual events, but Heather (at least, this Heather) doesn’t exist.

Heather Dupont, Part 2

Heather bawled. She had put everything she had or would ever have into bringing down this monster, and the monster didn’t even notice. And now the monster gave her a glass of milk, and a pair of impossibly moist cookies, and Heather didn’t want them but she took them and loved them and cried some more. She fell asleep on that couch, gently woken for school the next morning by her mother.

Heather recovered eventually. Her speech final the next day was a froglike debacle, but even that only knocked her grade down to a B minus.

She would never argue with her mother again.

Mrs. Dupont was delighted by this development, believing it a sign that she had successfully prevented her understandably curious daughter from straying any further.

Still, she knew that Heather could still be tempted. So she continued telling her daughter about her properly held opinions on any subject. As Mrs. Dupont gained confidence with the internet, she began sharing this way as well. Always by e-mail; she didn’t read blogs or visit any political sites on a regular basis, but she did subscribe to a number of mailing lists, and these produced any number of wonderfully forwardable declarations.

Heather never argued these positions any more, reacting only with a quiet, “You’re right, Mom.”

Mrs. Dupont knew she was a good and wise woman, but even she was surprised at how peaceful her home became. Its glorious harmony would be amazing for a pair of newlyweds, let alone a single mother and her teenaged daughter. The only possible explanation was that she was simply right. Righteous and right.

Mrs. Dupont had no clue that anything could be wrong until Heather was sixteen. A customer—a single man from out of town—paid for his meal with no incident. But on his check, he wrote: “No tip: mymotherisalyingbitch.wordpress.com.”

She got permission to use the office computer to check the address and was greeted by the least flattering picture of herself ever taken. The one from the carnival two years ago, just off the ill-conceived roller coaster ride, with a stick of wilted blue cotton candy in hand.

Heather had started the blog shortly after the big fight. She posted anything political that her mother forwarded to her, as well as anything that Mrs. Dupont said in person, along with links to evidence proving her mother’s statement wrong and a concluding bit of snark. The blog went largely ignored for a good two and a half years, until it was found and linked to in a popular diary on Democratic Underground. Overnight Heather’s blog had 10,000 hits a day, and it grew as word spread through liberal internet sites.

Heather knew she was busted from the way her mother called her and sat her on the couch that evening. And she knew she deserved to be busted. She knew that she had hurt her mother, and she had done so in the most intense way she could imagine. This may be unforgivable.

Heather sat on the couch and her mother began to cry, and Heather discovered she didn’t need to be forgiven. Mrs. Dupont had, after all, brought this on herself. Everything in the blog was true, and the outlet that it provided was the only salve for the slashes of her mother’s disdainful attacks of her beliefs.

Heather watched her mother for ten minutes. She didn’t speak, and her disdain grew as Mrs. Dupont’s wails grew louder. It was tiresome, so eventually Heather stood up and silently walked out of the house. Mrs. Dupont made no effort to stop her.

Heather ambled through town guided, as the hippies would say, by the magnetic fields. Guilt made several assaults on her consciousness, but none of them remotely successful. Every time it tried to well up, it was beaten down by an unfamiliar but overpowering feeling: Her mother deserved it.

Heather found herself in front of city hall. One light was on, in the mayor’s office in the corner. She watched it for a while, enjoying the rest for her tired legs and the simple pleasure of its brightness against the black night.

Home might still exist, or it might not. Heather wasn’t sure if her mother would turn her out on the streets before her official adulthood. She felt nothing at considering this possibility; it was an inconvenience rather than a tragedy.

It did put one fact into focus, however. The time to begin her life, rather than her childhood, was at hand. Suddenly but equally clearly, she knew that her career should follow her political passions.

Even though it was after official business hours, the door to City Hall was open. Heather made her way to the mayor’s office and knocked on the open door.

“Do you need an intern?”

If Mayor Fritzbaum were surprised at this comment, he didn’t show it. He simply eyed Heather up and down, and said, “It’s a bit late for a young girl to be out, isn’t it?”

“It’s also a bit late for a mayor to be working.”

Mayor Fritzbaum cocked his head and toasted Heather with an imaginary glass. “I suspect we can find something for you to do.”

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