Return had to be a certainty, not a matter of chance. I scolded myself for being so foolish; this wasn’t some sort of battlefield in which the absolute winner would take it all. No, this was my parents being stubborn at first until they finally understood what was going on in my heart and in my world. Never had I confided in them my loneliness while in Paris or the bitterness I felt toward the world in general. I was always afraid they wouldn’t understand therefore I never let them in too close to me. However, now they wanted to understand and I was going to allow them, just as I allowed Sasha.
Sasha. Her name rolled in my mind pleasantly; it had a ring to her name that made the hair in my back stand. It was so comforting and fun to be with her and next to her. I glanced back and her reassuring smile gave me strength to finally push open the door and close it behind me to face my parents. Maybe the volumes of war books I had read weren’t wrong, the authors made it clear to me that not one battle was a single-man battle and not one man had to endure the fight and the suffering. Sasha was not letting me fight alone, but she was not taking my battle entirely in her own hands. We were fighting side by side.
“Good morning,” I said in the softest and most caring voice possible. “Father, mother, how are you feeling today?” Both of them were awake and leaning back in their reclining bed, with a welcoming smile upon their faces. I could hardly contain my childish actions as I rushed to embrace both of them, with tears in my eyes. I clung to them and kissed them on the cheek, telling them how happy I was that both were okay. They meant the world to me, and I let them know.
“Sweetie, we love you so much,” my mother said just loud enough for my father and me to hear. “We would never want to harm you and the manipulative way we acted was just…rash. We were just trying to protect you.”
“I know, but Sasha is different…she,” I started.
“We know,” my father chimed in, “we know she does not mean any harm, we were just afraid to lose you. Our fear drove you away and we regretted it, we went out to look for you when the accident occured.”
“You will never lose me,” I said, “I, I am sorry I didn’t grow up to be the daughter you deserve or wanted.”
“Nonsense,” my mother said kindly, “we are always proud of you and if you decide to be this wonderful person then we have to step aside and let you continue with your decision.”
“You don’t understand mother,” I said, “Have you ever wondered where I met Sasha?”
My mother looked at me with incredulity in her eyes, “I don’t understand honey. I thought Sasha was a classmate, is she someone you met at a bar or…”
“No mom, you’re taking this wrong. Sasha is not any of those things you think! She is wonderful. Well, anyway, I lied to you about not pursuing my art career. The truth is, as much as I excel in science I hate it and will hate it even more if I were to do that for the rest of my life. But I knew I had to do science if I wanted to stay in Australia. I hate France as well.”
My parents were shocked at the honest hatred in my voice. Well, if they wanted to know me they would have to listen to the crude truth.
“I did enrolled as a science major, however I took art classes secretly and the teacher turned out to be Sasha,” I said finally. “That is how I met her, she helped me overcome the fear that was gnawing inside of me, and made me realize that perhaps I was somewhat different, and I love her for that.”
My mother’s eyes softened, “well honey, you’re being rude having your girlfriend wait outside when she can come inside and sit comfortably.” There was a glint in her eyes.
I hugged them and kissed them before scrambling to my feet and walking to the door to fetch Sasha. She was in the hallway waiting anxiously; I waved at her to come inside. She followed me and soon both of us were standing before my parents.
“Mr. and Mrs. Clairoux, I hope both of you are feeling well,” Sasha said, pressing my hand for support.
“Dear Sasha,” my mother said, “we’re so happy to finally meet you under, let’s say, friendlier circumstances. I beg your forgiveness for what happened at Cerice’s aunt’s house. We meant no harm.”
“None taken, Mrs. Clairoux,” Sasha said gently. “You were just being parents. I think it is partly my fault because I didn’t counseled Cerice well enough and went with her plan of keeping our relationship quiet.” She looked truly sorry and I wanted to wrap my arms around her.
“You have taken care of our daughter in our absence,” Mr. Clairoux said, “for that you have our deepest gratitude.”
It was hard not to have the feeling of bowing down to my parents whenever they talked so royally, I mused. My mother stretched her hand toward Sasha, and Sasha reached for it. Both women pressed each other’s hand in a sign of both peace and acceptance. We spent the entire morning talking, as if we were all a loving family.
“Maybe I should take all of you out for dinner when the doctor releases both of you,” Sasha suggested. Everybody was delighted at the idea. I was more at the thought that I needn’t hide Sasha anymore, or openly express my love to her in front of my parents.