Proof and Sanity

I would like to say that Mum believed me thanks to my perfect record when it came to telling the truth, but I'm afraid to say that my record was far from perfect and it didn't quite work out like that. Her opinion fluctuated between thinking I was mad and thinking it had all been a dream--although to my surprise it never seemed to occur to her that I was actually making it all up, but perhaps she was just keeping quiet.

"Listen to me, Mum," I said, and I'd spoken the words a hundred times if I had said them once. "Can't you see that I'm not how I used to be? And as for the clothes and the accent--you can't deny that I've changed. That sort of thing doesn't happen overnight."

"It's no more impossible than time travel," she responded scathingly. "Do I look like an idiot? I expect you were up partying last night and ended up in fancy dress, having smoked something funny." I had hoped she would have a better opinion of me and was slightly insulted, but I didn't let her see. I lifted my leg onto the fram of the bed and sank down to the floor, leaving it extended.

"Could I do this before?" I asked, relaxing. "Was my hair this long before? Was I this tall; did I have muscles like this and was I able to do ballet?" Without my realising, the prim and proper accents by which I had been surrounded suddenly came shining through. "And for goodness sake, was I wearing a nightdress and petticoat? You have no idea what sort of clothes I have had to wear."

"I'm not saying that you're not different, because anyone could see that," said Mum. "But there has to be another explanation. It can't be true." In her place, I would have felt the same way, but that didn't mean I wasn't hurt; I hadn't seen her for a year and yet she treated me the same, because of course it was only a few hours for her.

"It is true," I pleaded. "I can't explain it--please don't ask me to. But that's all I can say." I looked at my feet, which I was unconsciously flexing and straightening in the ballet style. Madame Lejeune had been insistent that we work on our arches every day, so it had become a habit.

"I don't know whether to believe you or not," she said. "All reason is screaming at me not to, and yet there is nothing else that would explain how you've changed." This was good. For a moment, I allowed myself to hope. "But let's not speak of this to anyone else. It wouldn't be the best thing to advertise; you'd be a laughing stock." I knew what she meant--we risked being thought crazy.

"What am I supposed to do, then? There are bound to be questions," I pointed out, fighting to keep my voice steady.

"Make something up," Mum replied carelessly. "Now come and get some breakfast. No, let me guess: I have no idea what sort of food you've been made to eat, and you've missed twenty-first century technology so much..." Her gentle mimicking didn't sting as much as I feared: I even allowed myself to smile. After all, it was true.

The End

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