COME AS YOU ARE - PART 14
“Yeah – Doctor Rae – my mother – wants me to instantly love her just because. Well it doesn’t work that way. Sophia Pelligrino doesn’t just instantly do shit. Besides, how can I love a woman I don’t know a thing about? All I know is that she gave me up – gave me to one hell of a guy – the guy who raised me and taught me to call him “father” treated and Freddie as his own personal punching bags…!!”
Sophia suddenly stopped as she realized what she just said. Renee’s heart went out to her.
“Renee, can you give Sophia and I some space? We obviously need to talk,” came a firm and authoritative voice. Sophia and Renee looked up. It was Rae, standing at the doorway.
The Palace Terrace…
Without a word, Renee got up and walked out leaving Rae and Sophia alone. Sophia sat in her chair, crossed her arms and looked at Rae. Her face was hard and cold. She didn’t want to betray her emotions. She wanted someone to care. She wanted what other people had in life. She wanted a family – a real brother who didn’t always get in trouble. A man who adored her. A mother who loved her. But she never got what she wanted. People like her just didn’t. Fairytaleland didn’t exist for her. Life was cold and filled with people who just didn’t care. But was Rae Cummings…her mother…someone who cared or not? After all, she didn’t realize Sophia was missing – in a closet, kidnapped at the hands of Brian the rapist. Why did being Sophia the daughter make Rae care now when she hadn’t before?
“What you told Renee…about your father beating you…is that true?” asked Rae putting her hands in her pockets. She was trying to make Sophia feel comfortable by her posture.
Sophia bit her lip, “Yeah. It’s true. You wanna’ see the scar he left on my hip?” she said sarcastically.
“I’m serious Sophia,” said Rae slowly walking forward, her voice firm.
Sophia wrinkled her face. It was true about the abuse…but no one wanted to talk about it. No one wanted to believe it. It was a dirty little thing, like a secret you swept up under a rug.
“And you think I’m screwing with you?” asked Sophia crossing her arms and pursing her lips.
“I think…there’s a part of you that would do or say anything for attention,” said Rae stopping just short of Sophia’s personal space.
Sophia stood up, “I’m not going to discuss this with you.”
“Well, what are you going to discuss with me?” asked Rae, looking into her daughter’s eyes.
Sophia felt uncomfortable and looked away. She never did feel comfortable looking people in the eye.
“Do you even realize the circumstances as to why I gave you up for adoption? Do you think I just threw you to the Pellegrinos like I didn’t care?” questioned Rae. Rae realized that Sophia was defensive and apprehensive towards her and somehow, someway, Rae had to break that barrier with Sophia.
“I don’t know? Did you?” asked Sophia making a face, “Do you even know who my father is?”
Rae sighed realizing that while this may not be the right place, it was the time. Sophia had questions and no matter how much it was going to hurt, she had to be honest with Sophia.
“Yes, I know who your father is. His name is Herb Callison…” started Rae.
“Waitaminute! I’ve heard that name…Callison…Callison…” said Sophia thinking. Her eyes grew narrow, “Dorian said she was once married to him.”
“Herb and I had a fling. You were conceived. I left town shortly thereafter,” said Rae, “He never knew…” she fought back a blast of remorse and ran her hands through her hair, forcing back tears as well.
“Great. So there’s a guy out there who doesn’t even know he’s got a kid,” commented Sophia.
“I was alone and unprepared to care for a child. I was scared damn it Sophia! I was scared…” cried Rae, her voice finally betraying her feelings of anguish and pain.
“People do stupid stuff when they’re scared,” said Sophia allowing her face to soften a bit.
“Yeah, well…I didn’t think…I could provide for you. I was alone. I doubted myself and my ability to be a good mother so I gave you up to a home. An orphanage that I thought would find you a good home,” said Rae desperately wiping the tears that fell down her cheeks. Sophia handed her a napkin from an empty table.
“An orphanage? You had no idea these people would let someone like Peter Pellegrino adopt me right?” said Sophia.
“I…I…no, I didn’t,” replied Rae.
Again, Sophia made a face that reflected her conflicted mood. She hated seeing anyone cry. She hated crying. She would never cry. What was the point of crying? It never got her anywhere.
“Look Rae, don’t cry all right? I don’t know what to say. I was always smart about that sex stuff you know? I know I can’t handle bringing a kid into the world so I do the BC thing. But I guess if I was pregnant like that…I would have considered doing the same thing you did…” said Sophia. She raised her hand as if she wanted to reach out to Rae but then pulled back as if her head had won out over her heart.
Rae struggled to sniff back tears, “I have a very smart daughter…”
“Common sense really,” said Sophia biting her lip. What should she do? Should she hug Rae or not?
Rae looked up into Sophia’s eyes, “So did Peter…were you and Freddie abused Sophia?”
“Freddie and I were disciplined,” said Sophia, “So why are you nice to Freddie anyway? Freddie’s a dick to everyone. Even me sometimes.”
Rae composed herself, “I don’t know really. Because he’s your brother I suppose…”
“But Freddie isn’t. He’s not my real brother…” began Sophia.
“He is in your heart,” replied Rae, “And maybe one day I’ll have that spot right next to Freddie’s.”
Sophia allowed a thin breath to escape her lips, “Rae, don’t push it okay? Don’t force it all right? Look…I’m not a warm and fuzzy person. I don’t like to gush about my feelings. It’s going to take time…”
“I can wait. I will wait. Whatever you want. Just give me a chance…” said Rae emotionally.
“You all ready have that,” replied Sophia.
Rae wiped her face again and looked at Sophia. She did want to hug her but didn’t want to invade Sophia’s space. It grew quiet between them and again, Sophia avoided eye contact.
“I think we should give each other breathing room. I think if I work for you it will complicate things so I’m gonna’ quit,” said Sophia.
“But you need a job!” said Rae.
“I need a job I’ve earned, not my mother’s charity,” said Sophia, “Look, you go look at your house today and when you finally pick one out you can show me all right?” said Sophia walking toward the door. She resisted the urge to hug Rae.
Rae watched her walk away.
“Sophia! When will I see you again?!” cried Rae.
“I dunno. I’ll call you,” said Sophia. And with that she walked out the door. She was glad her back was to Rae because a single tear had managed to escape and slide down her cheek.
“Nope,” whispered Sophia, “Fairytaleland isn’t for me.”
TO BE CONTINUED...