Source: Pixabay by Martina_Bulkova
On the floor was a carpet, already worn by the years, and on one wall hung two paintings bought at a summer bazaar.
Camille liked to embroider the lingerie. All of André's handkerchiefs bore the initials of his name. Likewise, pillowcases, sheets, and towels had a small detail embroidered by Camille.
André was a director of a car company. He was a handsome man, 6'2" tall, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was now retired but continued to see his friends from work on Saturday afternoons.
The two of them would sit on the living room couches at 5 p.m. to talk, especially about the past. They would have coffee and cookies. Afterward, each one would do their favorite reading until 7:00 p.m.
They were still in love as the day they had their first kiss of love. They had a daughter named Audrey. She didn't live with them or even call them. At the age of fifteen, when she discovered she had been adopted, she began a period of rebellion against Camille and André, so much so that the three of them could not be under the same roof because of the continuous verbal fights that emerged over the adoption issue.
Audrey left high-school and went in search of her biological mother whom she never found. In those years, Camille went into a deep depression and André had to deal with the problems of his daughter and his wife. All this had happened thirty years before. Audrey is 50 years old, lives alone in the suburbs of Los Angeles, and has called her parents to visit them for the weekend.
André and Camille are ready to tell Audrey the truth during her next visit, and they are anxious because they don't want to disturb their daughter's life.
On Saturday morning, Audrey rang the doorbell. André opened the door and greeted her with a hug, which she did not reciprocate. He invited her into the living room.
Audrey sat down in one of the armchairs. She was a brown-eyed woman of tall stature. Camille came into the living room wanted to hug her but André subtly stopped her.
"The house is the same as when I left," Audrey said, looking around.
"This will always be your home," replied Camille as she sat down on the other couch.
André looked for a chair from the dining room to sit in the living room with his wife and daughter.
"Audrey, we want to tell you a story from a long time ago but we were waiting for you to communicate with us," André said in a serene tone.
Audrey looked at them and said, "If you want to talk about my real mother, I don't want to hear that story. Now, I'm older, and I will never forgive her for abandoning me, nor you for lying to me... "
Camille got up from the couch went to the kitchen, and returned with three cups of coffee.
"Audrey, when I married your father I got pregnant. It was a difficult time for me because André was drafted to go to war."
"No, no, I don't want to listen," said Audrey, in an aggressive and almost desperate tone.
"Audrey, please calm down. You need to know the truth." Camille looked up at the house's roof as if asking for strength to say what needed to be said.
"We had already bought this house, and I was lonesome. I had a beautiful little girl but I had no news of André. I left that little girl in an orphanage when she was three months old." Camille looked at André with tears in her eyes.
"Four years later, André came back from the war and I told him what I had done. He comforted me. We went to pick up our daughter from the orphanage. When I saw you I knew you were my daughter but to get you back we had to adopt you." At that moment, Camille's voice cracked.
Audrey wasn't getting the story. She crossed her legs and lit a cigarette.
"We did the paperwork for the adoption," André continued. "At first, I was upset with your mother but then I understood her distress and her decision."
"The moment when we found you were the happiest day of our lives. Camille and I didn't want to have any more children and we dedicated ourselves to loving and protecting you. Then, you found out about the adoption and took a stand against us," Andre paused, got up from his chair, and walked over to Camille.
"Camille and I are your real parents. We never meant to abandon you. You are our daughter." André rested his hands on Camille's shoulders, which was visibly touched.
Audrey froze and stammered, "Why, why didn't they tell me anything?"
"Because you didn't allow it. You thought we adopted you because we couldn't have children but we decided not to have more children because we wanted to have all the time for you," Camille said.
Audrey put her hands to her head and repeated "why, why?" again.
"I've loved your mother all my life, and you too; but you decided our love wasn't enough and we let you go. Now, you are back and maybe this is the only chance we have to tell you the truth. We love you, daughter," André said.
Audrey stood up from the couch. She had anger in her eyes. "My life has been an alley of broken dreams because you didn't know how to be parents. You don't know how to give love you only love yourselves. You are my real parents but you were better as foster parents."
"I will not stay in this house of lies. I will go back to my home and some other time maybe I will call you." Audrey left her parents' house in perturbation.
"Will we have done well to tell her the whole truth?" asked Camille to André.
"Yes, because the only truth is that we have always loved her."
"Do you think she will come back?"
"Yes because she knows where to find us." (Sigh)
André and Camille sat in the living room looking out the window at the clear blue sky that Saturday morning.
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© Feb 2021, Marcy Betancourt. All rights reserved