My parents arrived five minutes early, as expected. They buzzed my apartment, and I let them into the building. It wasn’t their first time coming to the apartment, but it didn’t happen often. Sandra didn’t like my parents coming around too much, especially because they would try to snoop on us based on things we left around the house. One time my mom pulled out a receipt she had found just floating around in our house and asked me about it. It wasn’t even my receipt!
Once they reached my floor, I could hear them chatting down the hall. I opened the door prematurely to let them in. This was my first mistake, as instead of being able to guide them directly to the kitchen table to talk, they started roaming around more. Before they could get a long look at anything, or wander into our bedrooms to investigate our lifestyles, I managed to steer them to the table and asked them to sit.
They both looked so serious. I have to imagine they talked about this before they came over. But they didn’t seem to want to start the discussion, so I kicked things off.
“So...you two wanted to talk...about me coming out.” I said, softly.
My father started. “Yes. Your mother said that’s what she thought she heard from you.”
“Yeah. I’m attracted to women. I have a crush on someone right now. I’m pretty serious about my interest in her.” I said, alternating between which parent’s eyes I was looking into.
“And you’re sure that’s all we need to talk about today?” My mother asked, with a tone that felt judgy.
“I mean, I might want to move back home to also pursue some career options, but other than--”
“Please stop lying to us. We’re not stupid, Nai-bu.” My mother suddenly blurted out.
“We know you’ve been visiting home, but not us. We know who you’ve been visiting.” My father said, keeping his cool like usual.
“...okay? And that’s why I wanted to--” I began, but they cut me off.
“To lie to us? Saying you’re a lesbian to distract us? So you can pretend we won’t notice what you’re really doing?” My mother was terrifying. I couldn’t understand why she was so serious.
“M-Mom! I’m visiting the girl I like! She’s--” I was cut off again.
“A monster, honey. Your childhood friend is a monster who almost took your life. That is why your mother is upset. I’m not happy about it either.” My father said this like it was nothing.
If my parents were saying Cryztal is a monster, that means they would know she transforms. But I knew pretty explicitly that they were not privy to that because Jason’s dad would always talk about how much he thought my parents would have flipped if they found out. I guess he was right, but I doubt he told them.
My mother reached for my hands, but I pulled them off the table. “We just don’t want you to get hurt! We understand you might have liked that boy when you were kids, but it must be hypnosis or something! We’re still trying to find that out!”
“Wait, are two even okay? Cryztal isn’t a monster, and she’s not a boy, Mom.” I was getting flustered. I wasn’t exactly prepared for this. “More importantly, hypnosis? She could barely handle the neighbor’s dog. How do you think she could hypnotize people?”
“We know your friend’s mother is a witch. Maybe she used magic to trick people.” My father was trying to present himself like he was being reasonable, but it wasn’t very convincing.
“If you want to pretend that your neighbor, a woman who would watch me while you two were doing overtime at work, was trying to manipulate me, that has nothing to do with Cryztal. We’re not kids anymore!”
“You’re not a child, but you’re our daughter! And that thing must be after you again now that you’re mature or ripe or something!” My mom was practically shouting. Did she really just call Cryztal a thing?
I stood up and pointed toward the door. “If you’re going to talk like that, we’re done here. You can leave.”
“Why can’t you see that we’re trying to protect you?” My mother pleaded.
“I don’t need protecting, Mom. I learned how to take care of myse--”
The door flung open. Sandra rushed in to stand next to me, then slammed her hands on the kitchen table.
“You heard her! Out! Both of you!” Sandra was absolutely shouting.
“You’re supposed to be at work!” I shouted at her.
“And you’re supposed to have a backbone! I’m here to make sure they don’t try anything funny!” Sandra really disliked my parents.
As my father began to walk my mother, who had started crying, out of the apartment, he began to reprimand me.
“We’re leaving because you need to be more respectful when talking to us.” Pretty normal start when Sandra gets involved. “And if you go near that house again, we will call the police, and they’ll help us ensure you’re kept out of harm’s way.”
“Go ahead! Call the cops! You’ve got no case!” Sandra shouted back, following behind my parents to practically push them out.
While her confidence was cool, I didn’t like the actual odds there. Not only was Cryztal now so hermitted that she’d likely be overwhelmed by the police, what if she couldn’t get enough to eat? Then she might transform at the police station or jail and then people would find out she’s an alien! Then I might really never see her again!
“Wait!” I shouted. “Let’s try taking a break!”
Sandra sighed. “Please don’t give in. Their threats are empty and they know it!”
“I don’t want to risk that.” I told her, hoping she’d understand. I looked at my father and said, “Why don’t we just drive to your place? Calm down and talk about it again after a drive, right?” He always said driving helped him relax.
My mother stopped crying and looked at my father. After a short moment of silence, they nodded. I grabbed my keys, purse, and phone and followed them out of the apartment. Sandra quietly stood there as I left. Maybe she understood what I was trying to do. Maybe she was tired of fighting my battles for me. I was just glad she didn’t try to insert herself again.
As we approached our cars, and I went to unlock mine with the key, my mom took my key from my hand.
“I’m driving.” She said, nothing more.
My father got into his car and I sat in the passenger seat of my own car. While my mother was becoming familiar with my car, even adjusting the seat, I took out my phone: my real phone. As I saw a message from Cryztal asking how things went, I reflexively opened it and began to respond, but my mother noticed my phone wasn’t the one they gave me and grabbed it from my hand.
“Seriously? You’re being this sneaky? Just to talk to a creep?” My mother never seemed so disgusting.
Before I could try to fight for my phone back, she responded to Cryztal’s message, threw my phone out of the car, and immediately sped off. I couldn’t see what she sent, but I doubt it was any good. I tried to press her to tell me what she said, but she refused to tell me, and it only resulted in us fighting during the drive. My plan to warn Cryztal about my parents was completely trampled over, but as we waited at a light, I could see Sandra step out of the apartment and pick up my phone. Maybe she saw what my mom said before the lock screen activated, but if not, it might be for the better.