Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Ultimatum (Ch.12 Pt.4)

I shall never forget that weekend at Interlochen with my parents. They ordered me into the car for a ride to their motel where we'd undergo a private confrontation. My parents didn't exchange a single word during the car ride. My mother just stared out the window and emitted painful sighs, as if suffering from a bout of cramps. My father quietly belched. I watched silently as he fumbled for his Rolaids, feeling like a prisoner as we drove along Michigan Highway.

"I don't think you're being fair," I finally blurted. My father pulled into the driveway of Interlochen Motel.
He whipped around to face me. The car keys rattled in his hands. "Don't talk until I give you permission, hear me?"
"But Daddy, I don't—"
I could feel blood rush to my cheeks. It occurred to me, with mild shock, that my parents had arrived at a foregone conclusion that I had slept with Scott. I'd remain guilty until proven innocent.
"Oh my God. I didn't do anything. Honest. You've got to believe me." I reached for my mother's arm. "Mum. It's not at all what you think."
No reaction.
"Say something. I'm still your daughter, aren't I?"  
She thrust open the car door and sprang from her seat. 
My father ran to catch up with her.  "Frances, Frances—"
I trailed behind, whimpering.  

In the motel room, my parents sat side by side on the edge of the king size bed. I pulled up the desk chair and gathered a modicum of courage to face them.  
My mother spoke first, her voice flat. "I wouldn't expect your upcoming concert to be a success—"
"What do you mean?" Tears had begun to drop down my cheeks. I wiped them away with the back of my hand, but more came.
"You can't fool us. You're no longer serious about your music."
"Oh, but I am!"
"No. You have other things on your mind." My mother then whispered what every teen-age daughter cringes to hear. "You could be pregnant."
"You heard me. That boy you've been with. Did you—"
"Stop!" I jumped off the chair and screamed. "You have no idea what you're saying. I just have a boyfriend, that's all. How come other parents are happy for their kids when they date? Don't you want me to have any friends?"
"If that's what you need, Daughter Number Four. Go ahead and be like everyone else." 
My mother cleared her throat; it felt as if the entire universe was coming to an end, all because I liked a boy. 
"You're how old? Sixteen? I was married at eighteen. Pregnant by nineteen."
"What does that have to do with me?" I yelled.
scanned my father's face for reassurance, hoping he might find it within himself to be reasonable for once. He stood up, his eyes filled with rage and his hands curled into fists. "Tell me something. Did that boy touch you?"

I recoiled and groped for words. I thought of my friends at camp and how they eagerly awaited visits from their families. They went on picnics and outings; there were hugs and ripples of laughter from their parents. They were trusted; but not me. I was accused of something that I had never done, or even thought of doing.  
"We're gonna take away that violin, right Frances? The kid doesn't appreciate what she has."
My mother nodded.
"I know what I'll do. I'll sell it."
"Daddy, how can you say that? I love—"
 "You have a choice to make," threatened my father, the smell of cigar and antacids on his breath. "Either the violin or that boy."