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?


11. My Sister's Anger

This was the third time since my return to Mauritius that I found myself in the VIP lounge of the airport. The first time had been my shameful return back to the island and the second had been in a slightly less heavy atmosphere as we had bid a safe trip to Jason as he set off to China. Now, I couldn't stop fidgeting in the overly cushiony armchair, as I tried to find the most reassuring position and calm down my dreading spirits. Nora's arrival was imminent and I knew that whatever was going to happen would certainly incorporate the raising of voices from one party and the busting into tears of the other. In front of me, the the woman on the flatscreen tv right in front of me was droning on about fraud and corruption in Africa and I couldn't help feeling as if all her comments were pinpointed towards me. I turned away from the screen and tried to focus my attention on the waitress attempting, in vain, to scrub a stain off her necktie. In the background, typical lounge music was playing and it had on the opposite effect than it was intended for. I picked up a random newspaper from the coffee table and flicked through it. It was the penultimate edition of the Financial Times and I found myself staring at an article relating to embezzlement of funds. As if burnt by the paper, I quickly dropped it back on the table and reached for my glass of water.

'Excuse me, Mrs. De Chazal, the flight MK 046 from London, Heathrow, has just landed. We've sent an officer to pick up you husband and your daughter. They'll be here soon.'

The attendant had flashed a smile and walked away after she was thanked for the information. My mum, closed her lifestyle magazine, got up and smoothed down her creased skirt. She glanced at my direction, giving me the 'it's-all-up-to-you' look and walked up to the door from which my dad and Nora were to enter. I followed her, with the dread of a child about to be spanked, and stood a few steps behind her, half hiding. 

 My mother was the sort of woman who rarely allowed herself to indulge in public displays of affection. She was reknown for her no-nonsense character and valued for her omnipresent professionalism and sobriety. This did not mean that Hannah De Chazal was, by any means, a dull person. She had a sharp wit about her and had been blessed with humourous sarcasm. She was an amazing lawyer and fiercely stood her ground, so much so, that there were whispers amongst those well-positioned that magistrates, judges and those above had nothing but respect and admiration for her. However, when it came to her own children, she found it impossible, as any other mother would, to pick a side. She didn't like seeing us fight among ourselves but she always hoped that we would realise and accept our faults if we were to blame. She refused to be the one pointing the finger. On this particular occasion, I knew that I was more in the wrong than my sister but  I couldn't help but feel that her disinterest in trying to understand me and her lack of tolerance also made her partly to blame.

'Nora, my darling! You look so thin! Oh dear, you need a haircut! How are you? I've missed you so much! Welcome home!'

My mum and Nora hugged each other as my mum kept holding her at arm's length to get a better look at her and then, pulled her in for another tight hug. I awkwardly hugged my dad, welcoming him back and asking him about his trip. As quickly and as discreetly as I could, I tried to usher him away further away from where my sister stood. Seeing through my attempt to escape, my dad gave me a quizzical look 'Aren't you going to say hi to you sister, Sophie?', he said, loud enough for both mum and Nora to hear.

It seemed that the world had stopped, for a moment, as Nora untangled herself from mum's embrace and twisted her body to face me. She held my cowardly stare with her glare as we took in each other's presence, barely breathing.

[To be continued] Please, let me know what you think so far.

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