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?


3. Mother knows best

If there was any such thing as the day of reckoning, it felt that I was about to experience it in a few minutes. I had just stepped out of a steaming hot shower after unpacking my stuff. As I was sorting out through the selection of conservative and less trashy clothes I had brought back to find something adequate to wear, I heard a car pull into the driveway. I am not a big car expert, by any means, but I would recognise the soft purring of my parents' jaguar anywhere. The car was a jaguar XF3, whatever that could mean. To me, it was just another car but its sleek interior and its golden-amber colour made it my dad's pride and joy. Anywhere we drove to around the island, heads would lustfully turn around, following the car's trail. My gaze, however, was fixed onto my mother's figure, urgently getting out of the car and briskly making her way to the front door. I looked at my stopwatch, my own prized possession that was hanging from a brass chain around my neck . It was shaped in the form of a ladybug and its wings spread open to reveal a tiny clock. From that, I noted that is was 1pm, so mm must have done the rare deed of taking half the day off work. Such a small realisation made my shoulders slump, as they got pulled down by the weight that dropped down on my heart. She did care for me. 


"Jason? Sophie? I'm home!", the familiar greeting from my mum drifted through the house as it found its way to our ears. Jason, the ultimate mummy's boy, rushed downstairs to hug our mum, something he had not been able to do for the last four months. As I pretended to hurry up getting dressed, my mind actively tried to look for an escape route, away, out of this judgement day. What would I tell mum? What could I tell her? I didn't know what she had heard from either Jason or Nora, my elder sister. Both had information on my London life that could prove damning. As I rattled my brain for some kind of solution, I sensed my mum's presence behind me. A whole lifetime seemed to pass by as I turned around to face her. Her face, once full of determination and direction, looked tired and lost. Her eyes, the mirror of certainty, reflected sadness and a hint of disappointment. I knew then why I was scared and I knew now that I had done exactly what I had wished never to do before: I had let my mother down, and undoubtedly so, my father as well. 


Three years ago, I had stood in the lounge of the airport, nervous about this new phase of my  life. My dad was to drop me off in London and help me settle in. He couldn't have been prouder that day, his daughter, was following into his footsteps and was off to study in the very same university as him. I had rightfully earned my place in King's College London, there had been no contacts to nudge me up or make things easier. I had gotten my grades, 5 straight As from my A'Levels, and I had been given a place because of my personal statement, drafted and written by myself. I didn't know if I was ready or not, but my father's beaming face made me determined to go through with this and make the most of it. To ease my own tension, I tried a couple of my usual lame jokes on my mum -  that usually got her laughing and teasing me. This time, she snapped at me, told me to stop fidgeting and start acting my age. I had been dismayed and hurt. All around me, mothers were hugging their children, tearfully bidding them goodbye and making them promise to email or call as soon as they landed. Here, my mum was sat down, reading the newspaper and looking ever so impatient for boarding time to arrive so she could go back home. At eighteen, I had felt like an awkward 5 year old, who had lost her parents in a huge shopping mall and had no idea what to do. Looking back, my mum had been right, I did need to grow up.  It's at that moment, seeing her stand, worried, at my bedroom door that I understood that the only reason she had snapped at me all those years ago was because she had been scared. She had been worried of having to face a moment like this.


She came to sit down on my bed, worn out. Worn out as if she had finally caught up with something she had been chasing for so long. "I think we need to talk, Sophie. First of all, know that I love you and I will always be by your side, but I need to know what is going on. You need to open up to me and I know this is hard for you to do. Baby, you're in big trouble but I can only help you if you help me out here. Okay?"


As she looked at me, wide-eyed, helpless yet full of hope, I gave way to my knees, slumped to the floor and cried. I cried all the hurt I had stocked up in me during those last eighteen months. I cried the shame and guilt that had invaded my whole being. I cried as my mother gently rocked me in her lap, whispering in my ear: "you're home now, mummy's with you. We all love you."



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