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?


4. Our girl's background

Sophie was the second child of George and Hannah DeChazal. The parents formed a very prominent power couple of her tiny island of Mauritius and her father's family, being one of the oldest political families of the country, made their family name a household one. Her childhood, as far as she could tell, had been a very happy one. From an early age, she had formed a complicity with Nora and they had continuously plotted against Jason, in good humour, of course. Her parents were always in search of the next success in their respective legal careers, so family time was part of their weekly schedule., as was homework or chore-time. As a result, all three had been raised by a succession of nannies, none lasting quite long enough to be more than a blot in their memories. To say that they had been neglected in childhood would not be a fair assumption, George had loved to play with his kids whenever he could. To them, and their cousins, he had been the world's greatest dad, always up to help them with some mischief, always ready to protect them against the unhappy looks of other adults. The happiest memories Sophie had of her dad mostly revolved around her childhood. 

Hannah DeChazal, on the other hand, had been a very strict mother, more out of need than character. As the owner and leader of an emerging legal firm, she ha found it hard to juggle work as well as three young kids together. She knew how to do things right in one way only, and that was by having everything under control. So, she applied the same rule when it came to her kids. By the time Sophie was five years old, she and her siblings had been properly trained to be the politest young children one could come across. They would offer their help at family events, clear up the table after themselves and those close to them, and readily lend a hand wherever it was needed. Aunts and Grandmothers cooed at Hannah's well-trained children in front of her but quietly criticised her child-rearing methods behind her back. 

Fast forward ten years later, George had become the reclusive parent, unable to accept the fact that his daughters were going through puberty and discovering their sexuality.When it came to Jason, however, George would slap him on the back at the mention of any hypothetical or potential girl interest.  Hannah, relieved to see that her children could cope on their own, had become the more relaxed and open-minded parent. Nora and Jason found it easier to communicate with their mother and developed a very tight bond with her. Sophie, being as emotionally articulate as her father, found it difficult to include either her parents in her little world. She grew closer to George as they mutually bonded over their inadequacy to express their feelings and excelled in the art of avoiding to talk about their worries or anxieties.

But, at fifteen, Sophie was very much still a confused little girl. The little devil, sat upon her shoulder, kept whispering to her how none of her family members really appreciated her presence, how she would never live up to any of their dreams...At first, she told herself she was being pathetic and she should grow up and prove herself wrong. However, as she became convinced of the truth of those words and voiced them out to her mother one day, in a rare emotional outburst, her cry for love was turned down by those very same words she had tried to reason herself with. Coming from her mother, they sounded bitter and harsh, and so every time she was told to act her age, a bitter taste of disappointment hung like an aftertaste in Sophie's mouth. Yet, Sophie remained sceptical at any compliment paid to her, convinced there was some insult concealed in it and any criticism that came her way was a purposeful attack on her. In order to appreciate herself, she developed a need to please everyone around her, she would la herself down as their doormat, inviting them to walk all over her. When they did, she would dismiss any feeling of self-pity she experienced, reminding herself that all of it was her own fault. However, she never understood how to remedy the situation. If she did good to others, she told herself, the favour would eventually be paid back in some shape or form. 

Unfortunately, the world is not always a kind place and it would take Sophie six more long years to learn this lesson.

In high school, she wasn't the prettiest or the most popular girl but she was definitely well-known. She fit in every clique and was quite the social butterfly of the school grounds. It was her political blood taking over, allowing her to rub people the right way, find common ground with them and form an acquaintanceship. Making friends to Sophie was as high up her list of priorities as breathing in Oxygen. She coveted them as an addict would yearn for his next drug intake.  It was not a popularity contest for Sophie, but rather, a fervent desire to be known, recognised and acknowledged.  She left school with an impressive C.V covering most of the important roles one would usually covet: she had been class-captain several times in a row, part of the student council and part of the prefect body after that. Although not a sportsperson by instinct, Sophie had also managed to snag the position of mascot and Sportscaptain for her school team. She had juggled those responsibilities and her studies with great non-chalance,maintaining impressive all throughout her secondary education. She had made more than one teacher proud and hopeful but felt that she had not done enough to make her parents proud. George, not a big user f words, had never managed to express his pride to his daughter and Hannah, worried that her extra-curricular activities would get the better of Sophie suggested more than once that maybe Sophie had bitten ff more than she could chew. 

Immersed in academia, boys had never been a big deal to Sophie. One boy had expressed great interest in her and chased her for quite a few months before she had finally given in under peer pressure. He was a sweet boy who had, from the day he had set eyes on her, placed Sophie on a pedestal. To him, she was perfect and that was it. Try as he may to please her, Sophie treated him the same way she perceived her parents to treat her. Nothing he could do was ever good enough. She wasn't really physically attracted to him but her desire to let him in on all her inner thoughts terrified her. What if he took her off that pedestal? What if, by getting to understand her, he would realise how immature and unworthy of him she really was? What then?! That would be yet another person she had let down.  As he lusted after her, she wandered what the big deal was about this kissing business. She was fifteen and except for the movie stars, she had not daydreamed about any boy.  She stared at him, tried to soften her gaze so she would perhaps appreciate his sharp features more. She tried focusing on his lips, maybe then she would gain the desire to taste them..but to no avail. He remained an unwanted accessory to her, another item that was fashionable and required for social acceptance by today's youth. After four long months of this painful relationship, she decided to let him go. She had used him to her own benefit callously, and she couldn't go on making a fool of him like this. Also, break-ups seemed to be becoming the new black as well... She knew he was a gem of a boy, maybe a bit naive and with way too big of a romantic side, but he had been patient and caring. He had never tried kissing her when he understood that was not what she wanted and he had stayed by her side, listening to her and content.  

This would be Sophie's only romantic relationship and most intimate encounter until she went to London. 



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