Sophie DeChazal just finished three years of university life. However, she returns home with a debt of nearly £10,000 and no degree in hand. As her once close-knit family adjusts to the news and tries to understand what happens, Sophie attempts to justify her behaviour. The story takes us through those three years of self-discovery and self-mutilation.
How did a responsible straight-A student with great hopes for the future turn into a savage party animal, devoid of principles or morals?


6. I can Only be Patient for so Long

"I've had enough!! It's been two weeks since you've been back and you're acting like everything's fine. I've paid off your debt, I've taken money out of my own pocket to pay for something I had already paid for, again!!! Sophie, enough is enough. You will talk and you will talk now!!"  

My mum raised her arms up in the air and let them fall heavily by her sides. Her patience was indeed wearing thin and it was time for me to man up and talk to her. But, what else could I say? When she had asked on the day on my arrival, I had answered honestly and simply...

"When did it start going wrong?"

"Around the start of the third year. I was dreading the start of uni, I think it was because of my resit in July."

"Why didn't you tell anyone when you came back in December, then?"

" I thought I could deal with it. I didn't want to worry any of you."

"Was this why you harmed yourself in February? Why didn't you tell me about it when I came to London then?"

"It was part of the reason, but not the whole of it. I knew my studies were not going well and I couldn't face waking up everyday at the prospect of my courses. That is why I started going out clubbing and drinking more often. I didn't tell you because I didn't know how to. I didn't want to let you down, I guess."

"If you had told me in February, it wouldn't have been this bad. You could have saved yourself a whole lot of trouble. I don't understand. You had so many chances to tell us. You still chose to lie to us in our faces? Deceive us? I really don't recognise you anymore." - My mum had shaken her head, saddened by her own words. " Where did the money go? How did you spend so much?"

" By going out...clubbing and drinking. Ordering food in almost everyday.." Flashbacks of all my one-night stands, all my drunken episodes, blurs of all those party nights replayed in my mind like an old Charlie Chaplin movie.  

"Who is this Audrey girl? Jason told me she was in your room that night he came to talk to you. Were you not giving her money as well?" 

"No, mum, Audrey is just a friend. She's a barmaid from one of my local pubs. She's moved into Beatrice's room, we were watching a movie that night. I was not giving money to anyone. I don't understand how I could have spent that much either, but I was not sustaining anyone else's lifestyle."  Anger rose within me as the insinuation that I might have been weak enough to be manipulated my someone hung over the room like a big shiny blinking disco ball. Jason must have let mum in on the fact that I was, or at least thought I was, a bisexual. I knew he disapproved of this but I didn't butt into his own personal life, why he should interfere in mine? I had slept with Audrey on a couple of occasions but she had her own money and never asked a penny off of me. Together, we formed an explosive duo, more harmful to ourselves than those around us but she was arrogant enough to remain true to her own standard of living and spend what she could afford to.  Deep down, I knew Jason had had my own good intentions at heart when he had spoken to mum. I should not be angry at him and I should not so aggressively defend someone I had known for barely six months because I thought she had a nice ass. I just couldn't help myself, taking this anger out on my family seemed to have become my own defence mechanism. I fallen so deep in self-denial that I had built a wall with the specific aim of preventing my own kin from being able to get closer to me. 

"But the maths cannot be right. You couldn't have been spending £350 a week for the last six months. That is just impossible. So, where did the money go? Were you buying drinks for all of your friends? Where did that get you?Where are they now? Your so-called friends? Why are they not here to help you out when you're in trouble? They know you well when you're providing the good times! Where are they now? You preferred to give your time to them instead of your family. Tell me, why are they not here with you now? Do they even know what you did?" My mum had finally burst. The words flowed out of her, an avalanche of accusations and assumptions. A purposeful attempt to hurt me as much as my actions had hurt  her. I couldn't blame her but I still seethed under her rants. 

"I didn't buy shots for all my friends, we took turns to pay for rounds. They don't know what happened, only Quentin knows and he's still there for me." That was all I could bring myself to say. Anything more and my words would bear the venom of spite. My mother did not deserve that and she also did not deserve an ungrateful brat as her daughter.  But, my friends were true ones. I only had four close ones and they all had incessantly worried about me during my lows. They had seen the abrupt change in me, expressed concern and backed off when they realised I wouldn't face their confrontation. Quentin was my closest friend. Our relationship had face tumultuous waters over the past year but he was the first person I truly opened up and let myself seek help from. He understood me more than I would ever know and his own insecurity in himself made of us dependent on each other. My mum had met him and she had, ever since, lamented over the fact that he was gay because she saw, in him, the perfect son-in-law. 

I glared at my mum, holding back my words of frustrations as she gazed back, quizzical and confused. The tension was palpable and for those few seconds, the silence in the room became so intense that I had taken to holding my breath. Finally, my mum gave in and quietly said: " Look, Sophie, I am trying to understand you but you have hurt your father and I a lot. These next few months will not be your favourite ones. They will be hard and a lot of anger and allegations will be hurled at you from not only us, but Jason and Nora as well. You may think it's unfair and that you've been through enough but you put all of us is this situation, so you will have to accept it. You were the one to block us out, we have no inkling of what was going on in your life and you refuse to speak about it. I am not here to judge, I am your mother, I just want to see you happy and be there to help you.  Let me do that, you owe me that much.  Is that fair?"

"I am so sorry mum, so very very sorry', " I blubbered, breaking down again. " I have no right to be angry and I have no right not to tell you what you want to know. But, I am trying and I have been honest with you so far..."

"Right, so this is what we're going to do. You will have to tell your housemates what happened with their money and you'll have to tell them face-to-face through a skype conversation. You will also delete your facebook account  and cease all communication with anyone or anything to do with London. Is that clear?" She gently pushed up my face so that my stare would meet hers. 

"Even Quentin?" 

She let out a small chuckle. "Okay, you can keep in touch with Quentin! Now, go and wash your face." 


Relieved that we had ended on a better note, I dutifully obeyed my mum and finally exhaled. As I emptied my lungs, the air in the room felt lighter and and the sun shone just a tiny bit brighter than it had an hour ago.


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