AN: I don't own The Nightmare Before Christmas or any of its characters, songs, etc.

Some content warnings: foul language, poorly-written panic attacks, a poorly-written story, mentions/attempts of rape.

"No," he said.

A month's worth of planning, several tears worth of studying, and a lifetime of dreaming just tossed aside by one little word.

"No," he said again.

I'd spent so long, tried so hard, and it all just came crashing down. The one thing I felt passionate about, shinned and looked down on by my dad.

"But–" I started

"No," he interrupted.



"Just listen to me!" I shouted. "Dad, it doesn't even need to be a good college. I just need an education to start my career–"

"Emily," my dad interrupted again. "I am not sending you off to college so that you can be a makeup artist. It's ridiculous. It's out of the question. I'm not paying for you to go play dress up when you could be pursuing a logical occupation. End. Of. Discussion."

I stood there in silence, fighting back tears, trying desperately not to open my mouth. Because if I opened my mouth, then the dam would break, and I'd be screaming at him uncontrollably, like a toddler throwing a tantrum, and then he'll never let me go. He'd say I was being "too immature". Instead, I hurl insults at him in my mind, imagining what I would say if I was brave enough.

You said to me, "Find something that you're passionate about." Well, I did, and now you're just going to say no? I've worked hard for this, and I'm good at it. I want to be a makeup artist–why can't you just accept that? Is it not what you want for me? Well, then, what do you want? For me to be a wealthy inventor like you? Well, surprise, Daddy! I don't want to be like you. I don't want to be anything like you. You're so obsessed with your job that you never have any time for your family. So obsessed that your wife eventually leaves you, and you just keep on inventing as a sort of therapy, but you're not focused on the real problem. The real problem is that you're drifting farther and farther away from your daughter–me, the only family that you have left–, and she barely knows you anymore. I barely know you.

You don't know me, dad.

But I didn't say that. How could I say that without breaking into tears halfway through? Even thinking that made my eyes sting even more and a single tear slip down my cheek. I hear my dad sigh, but I can't see it because my eyes are clouded with tears. Even so, I can tell from the sigh that his face is bored, impatient, and exasperated.

I ran upstairs, quickly, but not quick enough, into my room, and shut the door. And I break. The dam breaks. The entire contents of the Niagara Falls poured out of my eyes, down my face, and I drown. Sobbing. Wailing. Bawling. Crying. For my crushed dreams, of course, but for something else, too. Something deeper.

I was sobbing, wailing, bawling, and crying because I didn't know my dad, the only. And he didn't know me. My dad, the only family I had left, was a stranger to me.

And if you don't know someone, if they're a complete stranger to you, how can you possibly love them?