Compassion and cruelty are not distinctly separate. One may happen without the other, but this is not always the case. Cruelty for the sake of compassion is a common enough occurrence; it is born out of ignorance, a supposed result of love…
A millionaire’s wife fell into a coma after a car crash that resulted in brain injury. The wife’s nurse, a very religious woman, comforted the millionaire, and gave him the courage to let his wife go; she will be happier in the afterlife, she told him. He and his young child, sweet little Snow, bid her farewell. The millionaire kept in touch with the nurse, and they fell in love after some time and married. Snow, only 5 at the time, recognized that the nurse was not her true mother, but loved her all the same. The nurse, a compassionate woman, cared for Snow as her own.
As Snow grew older, spending more time at school and with her friends than at home, her stepmother grew overprotective. With her husband’s wealth, she rarely worked, and spent most of her time at church and in front of the computer screen. She constantly stalked her precious stepdaughter on social media; What is she up to? How is she doing? Is she faithful to God? One day, this last question was answered; she came across a post Snow had made on her 16th birthday– she had come out as queer.
The stepmother, who loved her darling stepdaughter too much to let her choose such a sinful way of life, ordered the family driver to take Snow to a conversion therapy camp, leaving the specifics to him and telling her husband that it was a summer camp. The driver, who was not as ignorant as his employer’s wife, found a place that appeared as one of those wretched camps in name and numbers, but was really a safe haven for queer children with rotten parents such as Snow. While the driver brought the stepmother the seemingly-authentic papers, Snow, hurt by her stepmother’s actions, got to know her fellow campers, seven others of varying orientations and genders, who comforted her.
Snow was happy there, among inclusive adults and like-minded peers, but eventually the stepmother found a website explaining the real mission of this particular camp. Enraged, she promptly fired the driver and drove herself to the camp, intent on sending her precious Snow to a legitimate practice, to rid her of the sin that was surely eating her away. When she caught sight of her stepdaughter, white as snow in fear, with red hair and black lips, she was convinced; she had to act. She dragged Snow, kicking and screaming, out of that sinful place and into the safety of the car. Out of her designer apple-shaped purse she pulled a bottle of sleeping pills (ever since she had sent Snow away she had had trouble sleeping); she shoved a couple of pills down the girl’s throat to quiet her down for the ride, and drove away.
Snow’s friends, who had grown to care for her (she had become the sort of ‘mom friend’ of the group), were deeply saddened by her departure, and the horrors she would surely face. They wanted to do something for her, so they posted pictures of their beloved friend online and told her story, so that millions could see. The story circulated through the web, eventually reaching the commission of the city in which Snow’s new camp was located. One particular commissioner, closeted for many years, saw herself in Snow; she convinced her fellow commissioners to ban conversion therapy in the city, and Snow was freed.
Snow’s father, a busy man, did not share his wife’s obsession with the online world; he did, however, partake in the occasional escapade, and he discovered the story his daughter’s friends had posted. While also a religious man, he did not think anything bad of queer people; people are who they are for a reason, he had told his daughter when she had come to him with questions. He had assumed that his compassionate wife felt the same, but this story revealed otherwise. He had trusted her, and she had deceived him and hurt his daughter. I was doing what I thought was right! she had exclaimed when he confronted her. It was still wrong, he had responded. He retrieved Snow, and together they had the satisfaction of kicking the woman out of their home.
Snow was finally able to be herself in her own home, and no longer had any fears of ignorant people. She had a father and friends who loved and supported her, and while there would always be people like her stepmother who would never understand her, the people who mattered did. That’s enough, she thought to herself. That’s enough.