A week later, I’m sitting at home with my mom’s laptop on my knees.

Look, I know it’s not right to snoop. I get that. I really do. But what else can you do when the adults in your life insist on keeping secrets from you? Big important secrets that are all about you? If you’re me, you hack into your mom’s email account to find out what’s really going on.

My mom has always told me that she has no contact with my dad. That he pays the school fees straight to the school and that’s it. Yup. Turns out that was a complete lie. Turns out they actually email each other quite frequently – usually to fight about money. Like today, there’s a long whiny letter from him about how he’s late with this month’s fees because times are tough and there’s a recession on, blah blah blah. My mom hit back at this with a reply that could peel paint off walls. How dare he go on about hard times? What does he know about financial insecurity? There he is in his four-bedroom house in Strathavon with both kids in private schools while we live on the wrong side of Grayston Bridge, less than a kilometre from Alex. She’s worked her way up from data-capturer to accounts clerk with no qualifications at all… You get the picture?

I think he replied, but my mother deleted it. It drives me nuts when she does this. I know there are lots of letters I haven’t seen because my mom randomly deletes them. It’s so frustrating – like trying to build a puzzle with half the pieces missing.

It’s weird, but when I read my dad’s letter, I get all mad at him for finding excuses not to pay. Then when I read my mom’s reply, I start feeling sorry for him again. I want to jump in there and defend him. I start thinking about how tired and defeated he looked the other day, and I just kind of want to hug him and tell him it’s all going to be okay.

Okay, here come the tears again. I really need to get a grip. I’m on an emotional roller-coaster these days. My cellphone rings, making me jump. It’s a private number. Still staring at the laptop screen, I answer it absently, “Hi … this is Latoya speaking.”

“Latoya, this is Mrs Reece-Smith from the Music Department. Are you aware that you missed your audition for the Pop Idols competition this afternoon? You know the rules, Miss Rampele. I’m afraid you’ve now been disqualified.”

Image: Steve Vosloo, CC-BY-SA-2.0

WHAT DO YOU THNK? Do you agree that fathers have an obligation to keep supporting their children? Why do you think so?