Step one: show up. Done.
Step two: knock on the door...
I raise my hand, but it stops mere inches from the door as I just stare at it. The door to my par- my father's house. My *parents'* house. The door to my past. The old me.
I start to turn to Troia for strength, but she's not there. It's empty where she used to be. I knew that, of course, but it's so hard to remember. It only happened a few hours ago. I don't feel different. Just... lonely.
Sighing, I raise my eyes back to the door, and my hand that is still hovering before it. The door to my future happiness. Maybe. I won't ever know unless I knock.
Somewhere inside of myself I find the strength I expected had left with Donna. My own courage, to attempt this feat. To return home after almost a year to try and bury the hatchet. To try and regain the mother I should never have left go so easily.
Was it so easily? It's been long enough, and SO much has happened, that it's hard for me to remember exactly what caused us to part on such awful terms that we haven't exchanged any words at all since then.
'That's not my daughter,' my mother's voice echoes in my head. My hand falters before the door. Yes, that much I remember quite vividly. But... why? Why didn't we try, instead of disowning each other? We took the easy way out. It's easy to hurt, easy to blame, easy to give up. Did we not care enough to not hurt each other so?
I want my mother back. Perhaps it can't be, but I need to know that for sure. As sure as I had been last year when I left. As sure as I am not sure now.
The door opens before I finish knocking. She had been standing on the other side, for who knows how long. She looks at me, her face empty of any emotion. We stand regarding each other for several seconds.
"Can we help you?" she asks. From her tone I could have been any stranger knocking on her door for any reason.
My nerve fails me. "I came to visit," I tell only half of the truth.
She stares at me for a moment more, almost scowling, but then drops her arm from its place on the door and takes a step back to give me room to enter. "Your father is in the kitchen," she informs me.
I nod slightly as I walk past her, my eyes staying on her even though my face turns into the house. "Thank you," I mumble once I'm past her. Then head to the kitchen.
My father is preparing dinner. "Allie!" he exclaims with a broad smile. "What a surprise!" He sets down a knife and moves over to me to give me a hug, which I gladly return.
"I can only stay the night," I reply with a smile of my own.
"That's fine," Dad says. "There's still time to make more." He motions to one of the chairs as he heads back to cooking. "Come, tell me all about what's been going on with you!"
My eyes widen slightly. "Ooookay," I say with a warning in my voice, indicating he asked for it.
--- Time Lapse ---
After I finished recounting my experiences on Olympus, I look to Dad with expectation and shrug slightly.
He's sitting across the counter from me with a partially dumbfounded look. Several moments pass in silence. Finally, the oven timer rings. Dad is slow in responding to it, but the second ring gets him moving. He puts on an oven glove and pulls out dinner's main course. Then he puts in the rolls to cook quickly while the other food cools.
He glances at me. "Set the table, Allie," he says as if it was the second time he had to remind me.
Huh? My brows furrow slightly. He never asked me to set the table. "Uh, sure Dad," I reply, getting up to retrieve plates.
I set the table, all the while my mind racing to try and figure out his sudden behavior shift. Did I accidentally scare him? Does he not remember somehow? Strange things like that have happened, so I shouldn't be surprised if my telling of my experiences weren't allowed to stay with him. But... I don't know. His reaction was just beyond random.
He finishes the food. I help bring it all to the table, then he calls for Anita.
I need to know he's okay before she gets here. I couldn't stand to have to sit and eat with two people who have problems with me. "Dad?" I ask.
He turns to me. "Yes?"
"You haven't said anything-" I pause a second, to see if he might know what I mean, "- about everything I just told you."
He thinks for a moment, then walks over to me. "I just don't understand it all," he says quietly. He directs me to my usual seat at the table, then sits down next to me. "Are you okay?"
I nod. "I think so. It's just-" lonely, I want to say. But I don't want to worry him. "Quiet," I settle on to say.
He nods back. "You're scared," he comments.
It strikes me wrong. What? Scared? Where in the world did that come from? I narrow my eyes slightly at him. Sure, I had been while on Olympus, but now? I don't think I am.... Am I?
"No...," I stall trying to find the right words. "I'm..."
"Uncertain?" he offers.
I half nod, and kind of shrug. "I suppose, I don't know what to do from here," I confess. "It was quite intimidating. And now, it's a bit daunting. I mean, what's expected of me?"
My father smiles. "Nothing more than what was expected of you before," he says with assurance, and pats my hand. "And nothing less."
"Except now I'm on my own," I add with a touch of concern.
"You're never on your own, Allie," he tells me, "unless you make it that way."
I look at my Dad and can't help but smile. When did he get so wise? I give him a hug.
When I open my eyes, I notice Anita standing in the door way, and catch a glimpse of something in her face. On seeing me looking at her, she quickly turns her attention from us to the table before I can determine what it is.
Other than the occasional request for some piece of food to be passed, half of dinner passes in silence. Eventually my mother is the first to break.
"Why are you here?" she finally confronts me, just as I am about to put my fork in my mouth.
"Anita," my father says almost sounding like a plea.
"No, Herald," she admonishes. "She never comes unannounced. It's disruptive, and rude. Suppose we were to have guests over tonight?" She looks back at me. "Why, are you here?" she demands to know.
I pause a moment to look at her, then pull my fork out with the food still on it and put it back on my plate. I look down at my plate to steel myself. Okay Allie, it's time. "I came to see you," I say, then look back up at her.
Only those who know my mother well enough could tell the look on her face of unhappiness was simply masking that of being shocked. "And why, pray tell, would you be coming to see me?"
"I wanted to make up," I answer matter-of-fact like.
She harrumphs. "Wanted to?"
"Want to," I correct myself. "It just, ended up being harder to broach the subject than I expected."
"Let me get this straight," she starts with as she leans over the table. "You dream you get whisked off to some make believe place where you're put on trial, loose your companion in arms, and become an Amazon, and suddenly you want to come home and make up like nothing ever happened?" Though she managed to keep any accusational tone from her voice, it certainly felt like one to me.
Keep calm Allie. You need to do right by this. "Not as if nothing happened," I replied as neutrally as I am able, "but I would like to try and bury the hatchet."
"No," she replies standing up, catching the napkin that was on her lap before it falls. "That's not it at all."
I sigh with exasperation. "What it is then, Mother?"
She seems caught of guard for a moment, this time staring at me with a real stunned look. She raises a finger towards me. "Don't -" she starts to tell me, but stops and purses her lips.
Don't? Don't what?
"You replaced me with her," she continues, switching back to the original subject. "And now that she's gone, you want me to fill the hole that's left." She puts her napkin down on her plate, and turns to leave. "No."
I scramble out of my chair to catch her by the arm. "That's not true."
"Oh no?" she replies her voice full of doubt. "You're lonely. You're practically lost. I can hear it in your voice. So you run home, looking to me to-"
"She didn't take me away from you," I assert, throwing us right into the heart of all our problems since things first began. I move so I'm standing right in front of my mother, and look her directly in the eyes. "Donna did NOT take Alesha away. She's still here. Right here, right now. Wanting her mother back."
She pulls out of my grasp, but doesn't move away. "Yes," she replies sadly, "she did take you away from me." She looks me up and down once. "And even without her, I see you haven't changed from the person she created." She looks down for a moment, then back at me. "Alright then, you're not here to fill the hole. So why are you here?"
"Because I want-" I start to repeat myself.
"The truth," my mother insists on, "all of it."
I hesitate, exhale, and nod slightly. "Because I'm afraid of what might happen, now that I'm an Amazon, who let go of her mother."
I can't bring myself to meet her eyes now. That's not the right reason, is it Allie. Am I an awful person? I would love my mother back, but I didn't come to do this for only love. Love was overshadowed by anger. Maybe it still is. Maybe-
"I understand," my mother finally says.
I look at her in surprise. Shakes her head slightly. "And, you didn't let go of me, you walked out on me."
The truth of her words sting my chest. "Mo-"
"But you had help," she cuts me off to say. "Honestly, you had more courage than I. You did what I wanted, but couldn't do myself." She takes my face in her hands, the way she used to when I was young. "This isn't your fault. And it's not going to be your downfall." I'm starting to cry now. Tears slightly making their way out of the wells in my eyes. She lets go of me. "But, I don't know if we can make up." It sounds like there's something she's not saying.
"Maybe?" I offer with a weak voice. "Maybe in time?"
She shrugs and turns away from me.
I wipe the tears from my face, take a couple breaths to calm myself, then look after her as she heads up the stairs. "Can we at least have dinner?" I call to her feet.
She stops. I head back to my chair, and look at my father. His face is in his hands. He gets up as I approach and heads into the kitchen. By the time my mother returns to the dining room he comes back as well.
"Yes, we can have dinner."
Step one: Have dinner. Done.
Labels: RP, Troia