A snippet of conversation – feedback please

“I wish I knew what was taking so long.” Zsaka said as she tossed a torn fragment of lace onto the hearth. “I have an uneasy feeling about this.”
“Don’t fret, Zsaka.”, Anna replied soothingly. “Your father knows what he’s doing.”
“Wrong on both counts, mother.”
Péter stood and strode angrily toward Zsaka. “I am at my limit with you! Is there anyone in this family who meets with your approval?”
“I like you.”, she replied.
Péter fumbled for a response to the unexpected compliment and quickly gave up. “I hate you.”, was all he could eventually muster.
“You don’t hate me, Péter. You’re just frustrated, like we all are. Admit it. You don’t like it when I’m not in charge any more than I do.”, Zsaka challenged.
“You’re wrong. The only thing I like about you being in charge is that you stop finding fault with everyone.”
Zsaka’s jaw went slack and her eyes widened, but she said nothing.
“You’re far too confrontational, Zsaka.”, Péter continued. “You consistently fail to consider the delicacy of our situation. Instead you squander generations’ worth of resources and prestige to embark upon some bold scheme or another.”
“At least I’m doing something!”, Zsaka snapped. “When any of you is in charge you go running to some insignificant estate in some forsaken piece of hill country to lick your wounds and wait for scraps to fall from Rome’s gilded table. It’s deplorable. If our forebears were to see how the three of you conduct yourselves they would turn to dust from the shame.”
Péter shook his head. “That proves how little you understand the modern world. Times have changed, Zsaka. Politics has become much more subtle. If our portion consists of scraps it’s because of you. The wounds we lick we suffer because of you. Our forebears were smart. Our forebears knew to plan ahead. Our forebears-”
“Our forebears walked with us in the Paradise of Eden.”, Zsaka interrupted angrily.
“And you never forget it, do you Zsaka?”, Péter sneered.
“That’s quite enough!”, said Anna as she tried to assert a sense of calm. “Zsaka, your problem is that you refuse to let go of the past. Those times are gone. Eden lies buried under layers of mud and muck. If you could somehow dig it up you wouldn’t want it. You have to stop seeing the world as it was then and start seeing it as it now. At any rate, I don’t think now is either the time or the place for such talk. You know how court gossip can travel. Are these words either of you wish to be overheard?”
Péter and Zsaka fell silent, and after a moment disengaged from each other, the room no less tense from the quiet. Zsaka sat across from the hearth, fidgeting.
“It’s been almost an hour.”, Zsaka groaned. “I hate being cast aside like this, as if I know nothing of politics.”
Péter chuckled. “Well, now we arrive at the truth. You’re not at the bargaining table and your ego has suffered a bruise.”

One response to “A snippet of conversation – feedback please

  1. That’s it!!! You finally let me be there inside the family where Zsaka is. I kept saying I wanted to “know” her better and this gives me that first quick, but also very compelling glimpse of her. Excellent writing. Can’t wait for more.

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