Friday : It is the parents weekend! Our parents are coming over for a little fun ... and fun. They are staying at the Ritz, all paid by the boutique.
 
Saturday : Brunch with your parents, and you can do whatever you want with them.

(Writing for Saturday, just included Friday's as well for the sake of knowing that parents have arrived.)

Parents weekend. Oh God. 

"Sweetie."

"Mom."

"You could have told us what you've been doing these past months."

"I could have indeed."

Silence.

"Well we debated and we're coming to see you."

More silence. 

"We're already here staying at the Ritz as your very young and married boss told us to."

Audrey? I forgot how much I hadn't told her. She doesn't even know the name of my boss. Let alone that I'm working as an employee at La Boutique de Minuit in London instead of attending University somewhere out of the United States.

"Meet you at the Big Ben?"

"Okay, Mom."

"Bye, Sweetie."

"Bye, Mom."

The line goes dead.

That's pretty much an exact summary of the conversation I had with my Mother when she called me up this morning about two hours ago. I walk on the cobblestones to the Big Ben just as it strikes 2 o'clock. 

I start rapidly texting Myrna.

"meeting my parents. bracing 4 scream attack."

"rly that bad? jesus. thats why im not meeting mine."

My thumbs are up, ready to respond when a shriek pierces the air. My head whips up to see my six-year-old, adorable little sister running towards me, her family-signature-brunette locks now much more grown than when I last saw her. I can just make out my mother and father in the distance.

"Wow, Lizzball you can run like superman now!" I call out and laugh as she charges into me, nestling her head in my shirt and hugging me. 

"I missed you Sophie." She says, her voice muffled by my T-shirt. Once she finally stops hugging me, she gives me the biggest, toothiest smile and giggles.

"How many teeth have you lost, Lizzers?" I giggle too, pretending to count all of the little gaps where her baby teeth have fallen out.

"Five and a half!" Lizzie says enthusiastically but her 'five' sounds like 'thive' because of her lost two front baby teeth.

"How can you have five and a /half/, silly?"

She stands on tippy toes and wiggles on of her canines at me to prove it. "This one is loose." But loose sounds like "loothe." 

I laugh and hug her again. Although I may not be ready for my parents, I certainly did miss my baby sister Lizzie. She's not much of a baby any more though. 

"Oh here comes Mommy and Daddy." Lizzie tells me matter-of-factly then calls out, "Hey Mommy, hey Daddy, hurry up slowpokes!" 

I bite my lip and look up, wishing them to take their time. I really don't feel like them ruining our moment of sister reunion. Instead of telling her this, I laugh and say, "Hey guess what people here call 'slowpokes'?"

"What?" She asks eagerly. Lizzie always likes to know things. She's just a little box full of child knowledge. I know she'll end up in University. She won't lie to our parents like I did. 

"Slow/coaches/!"

She giggles and mimes out whistling like a coach for a sport. 

"Sophia." States a struggling monotone voice. That's the thing- Mom can't be monotone. She's always been the most caring, motherly mother you could ever imagine. And I've betrayed her. She's an artist- she paints landscapes and portraits and always smells like paint, canvas, and the herbal rose home-made perfume. She makes it by grinding up petals and herbs from the garden she has kept beautiful and well my whole life. I wish I could greet her with one of those big motherly hugs she always used to give me, even before I left for school she would give me one and sometimes I would complain because my friends would laugh at me but deep inside I always loved her hugs. I wish I could smell the paint, canvas and roses but instead she greets me with a trying-to-be stern sharp voice. 

She's stressed. Mom can't fall asleep when she's stressed over something and I can tell she didn't last night. She refuses to wear makeup so the heavy bags under her eyes are more noticeable than ever. 

"Hi Mom." I say quietly, refusing to look her in the eye. Dad is there too but he hasn't even bothered to greet me.

"I think we have some catching up to do, honey." Mom says and I nod. "We've booked a place at that French restaurant- the one outside."

"Les Papilles." I answer automatically and I can tell she's nodding in appreciation. 

"You must know this place very well."

I nod again.

-

By this time we've been seated at Les Papilles and by the time we order appetizers, Dad has finally greeted me and I've told them a bit about why I came here. I've finally had the courage to look my mother in her pained, hurt eyes.

"It's my life here. My passion. I could never leave. I came here because college doesn't seem right for me right now. Nothing suited me perfectly. So I found La Boutique de Minuit. It challenges me, makes me work hard but I love every second of it because fashion is my life." I wait a little bit, in fear of my voice cracking or my eyes watering. I bite my lower lip to stop this from happening and pinch my palm. "I'm so sorry, Mom and Dad. I really am." And I look away from them for a little bit, into the distance, for fear of reading their expressions. 

"Sophia." My Dad and Mom exchange knowing glances. They do that whenever they telepathically agree on something. I guess your mind just functions the same as your husband or wife once you're married for at least 5 years. It's like your one person or something in the mind. I look back at them. "We forgive you." My Mother says softly. And that's when the waterworks start. Tears spill out of my eyes and I'm sure mascara is running down my face too. My body is shaking and I'm hiccuping as I try to wipe my face with gold-trimmed napkin in my lap. Waiters and waitresses walk by with disgusted or sympathetic expressions on their faces. I must look a mess. 

I hardly ever cry. It's like all the tears are bottles up inside until something sets them off. This did. My parents forgave me. I thought they would hate me. 

Lizzy clapped her hands together and giggled as I smiled, my face red and blotchy most likely.

"Lizzball, did you know this would happen all along?" I gasped at her and she blushed.

"Weeelllll, maybe..." She squirms in her seat but I hug her and she's comfortable again.

"But." A voice cuts out of my sniffling. It's my father's, finally speaking. "There are a few conditions. You must never lie to us again. Or you're coming back to live with us and go to the local college. No exceptions." I nod feverishly. "And you must stay in contact with us. A letter every few months would be nice."

I roll my eyes and laugh despite my tears. "God Dad, no one sends letters anymore!"

My mother rolls her eyes back at me, "Jeez Louise, young people these days!" And I laugh even harder at her expressions she uses. I missed my family.

xoxo
Sophia 

Type 'family' if you read it all.
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