I was discussing my educational future with my parents, yet again, and where I would stand financially and professionally once I was out of school with a degree. This conversation was monotonous, boring, and repetitive. I could even tell what they were going to say without the words actually leaving their mouths. Sometimes I even wondered why I've been so anxious about them, they looked pretty healthy, and pestering as always, to me.
But for the sake of their happiness and not having them breathe on my neck for the rest of my life, I endured them, just this one night, their last night in Australia. We also talked about Sasha, both of them seemed to like her very much, now that they accepted our relationship. My mother kept insisting that I should take her to France during the summer, for her to meet my family and homeland. It was disaster ensued, I could foresee it, and I could also foresee my jealousy if I took her there. There were so many pretty, lesbian girls in France.
Thankfully, Sasha returned from the restroom just in time. She looked a bit distracted and uncomfortable when she sat down, so I took her hand reassuringly and smiled at her. I smiled a lot lately, maybe it was something I could get used to, especially with the certainty of Sasha's love on my side. I felt blissful and almost invincible, unbeatable by any misfortune that might struck us. As my professor from Philosophy class had said, wars and confronts were good because it refreshed a nation and gave it a sense of perspective and faith in one's goals and elevated the level of trust of its members.
That was exactly what had happened between Sasha and me, after so many hurdles, intended to destroy our relationship, we had grown stronger from jumping over them, holding hands and supporting each other.
Perhaps nothing was certain in life, but one thing was for me: Sasha.
"Sasha, good to have you back," my mother said honestly. "You've been such a delightful company to us. We're so sorry we treated you badly at first."
"Please, Mrs. Clairoux," said Sasha, reaching for my mother's hand. "Please, don't mention it again. I accepted your sincere apologies once, I don't need to hear them again. You had every right, as parents, to do what you did, and I understand. I just want to live a happy life, and I think that maybe Cerice can give me that."
"Well, you've certainly filled her days with happiness!" My father exclaimed, then turned to ask the waiter for dessert.
"We've noticed change in her, especially that smile she wears so naturally now, and not as a respectful disguise," said my mother. "While you were gone, we were just wondering if maybe you would want to come to France next summer. It would be an honor to have you at our house and meet the place where Cerice was raised. I think you'd like it a lot."
I could see Sasha blushed with gratitude, whilst I was blushing out of mortification. "Mother, summer is far away. Can we discuss this maybe another time?" I asked.
"I would be really happy to accept your invitation," said Sasha, giving my hand a squeeze. "However, I cannot promise anything."
"Well, just give us a call then," said my mother. "We will receive both of you with open arms."
“Are you sure you don’t want us to go to the airport?” I asked for the tenth time that night. And I kept receiving the same answer, “no honey, we’ll be fine, your aunt will take us. We don’t want to detract you from your studies, besides, it’s early in the morning”. So, with a long embrace and several kisses, I bid good-bye to my parents, promising to take care of myself and thrive. My mother was acting very motherly with Sasha, and made her promise to look after me.
When they were finally gone, Sasha and I strolled down the lamp-light streets hand in hand.
“Will you miss them?” she asked.
“Depends,” I answered. “I will miss them during my good days.” Sasha’s head dropped a bit, as if there was something she wanted to tell me, but was afraid of my reaction. “Sasha, I’ve become excellent in reading other’s people faces and I know something’s up with you. What is it?”
She was reluctant, and hesitated before saying, “I didn’t know you drank so much wine.”
I was totally surprised by her comment. “I beg your pardon?”
“I mean, you finished a bottle and a half, Cerice. You kept pouring wine into your glass, maybe your parents didn’t noticed but I did.”
“So what? I enjoy a bit of wine every now and then, I am 18 already.”
“How about smoking, do you enjoy that too?”
“What?!” I demanded, then blushed because it was true. “Who told you that?”
“Does it matters? Look Cerice, are you smoking and drinking?”
“I haven’t been drinking too much to get myself drunk out of my mind, and I’ve only been smoking one cigarette every two days. It’s no biggie, okay? Just university stuff, it will wear off with time.” I wanted to tell the truth, as opposed to lying her about this one.
Sasha looked disappointed, and on the verge of tears. “Oh Cerice.”
“It’s not your fault, okay?” I mumbled, sounding more angry than comforting. “It was my stupid decision to try them out.” When Sasha mentioned the smoking, oh, how I craved for a cigarette at that moment. I told myself many times that I didn’t like smoking or drinking as much as Sam or Terry would like it... Terry! She was the one who told her!
“You’re dying for a fix, aren’t you?” she asked accusingly. “Didn’t you have enough that night, when you showed up in her dorm?”
“Whatever you’re talking about! Sasha, are you suggesting that I do drugs too?”
We had stopped walking long ago and were now standing under a lamp post. Sasha was directly under the light, which made her appear like a broken angel.
“I don’t know. I don’t know who you are anymore. I never thought that you would go as far as doing those kind of things, it might kill you.”
I regarded her gravely. The question really was, how far would I go with a broken heart? I felt ashamed at myself for doing those things, ashamed that Sasha thought I was a low-life kind of girl. “Sasha, I promise it was just that one time, when I was vulnerable enough to let others play with me. It was stupid to smoke, I know, but I swear I didn’t do drugs or go to Terry’s room.”
Sasha only stared into my eyes, she was broken enough and perhaps didn’t want to believe me at all. It would be much easier for her to leave and let us pick the pieces of our heart individually, than suffer as we were suffering right now.
I sighed, and asked, “are we still up for hiking?”