Don't move. Don't make a sound. Smile.
It has been embedded in my mind since I was five years old. Since they adopted me.
"If you can't be of use to us, we will have to abandon you. Just like your previous mum and dad did."
They loved to remind me that I had been abandoned before and could happen to me again.
"How can you be so clumsy! Do you know how much this vase cost? No wonder your parents gave you up!"
Stand straight. Be still. Be cold.
I tried so hard to earn their love, but it was never enough. I was never enough. Something must be wrong with me.
"Fuck those cunts! You're perfect as you are, love."
Becky's voice suddenly rang through my head. She hates it when I start to be all moody and depressed. She hates my adoptive parents even more.
"If they can't see how fucking amazing you are, that's their loss! And who cares about their opinion? Your mother is a tramp and…"
She could rant for hours about how terrible my adoptive parents were. At first, I would try to stop her, but after some time, I learnt that it was quicker to let her finish.
I miss Becky so much right now. She was a breath of fresh air in the rigid posh environment I grew up in. It was so funny to see she acted all proper in front of some people and then swore like a sailor when we would hide in a room to avoid our parents.
We both hated pompous parties, so why am I here?
I came to Italy to discover more about my biological family, but here I am at a party organised by a friend of my adoptive parents.
I didn't hear directly from them since I left home when I was sixteen. That's why I was surprised when I received an email from them yesterday.
Well, not exactly from them. From William, their butler.
Apparently, some of their friends learnt that I was in Italy and asked them what I was doing there. In order for them to save face, they didn't say that I was there to learn about my past but to create some connections for my work. So, their friends told them that this prestigious friend was having a party and that it would be the perfect occasion for me to network…
Why didn't I tell them no?
Don't ask questions. Be quiet. Obey.
Am I still their little doll without my own will?
For nine years, I thought I was free from their grasp, but as soon as they call, I am at their feet?
Becky would be ashamed of me. Or maybe not. Maybe I am the one ashamed of myself.
I continue to talk and smile at people I don't know, and I probably won't remember the name of tomorrow. It's my last day here, and I am wasting it by attending a party I don't care about. Maybe I should go back to my hotel room, remove all these fancy clothes and read a book. Or contact the little group of friends I made while staying in Venice?
So, I do just that. I leave without telling anyone and go back to my room. I removed the overly complicated make-up that I was wearing and the over-the-top ornaments. And I finally feel like myself again.
I look at the time, and it's not too late to call my friends. However, when I am about to dial their numbers, I suddenly have an incredible urge to go to the bar they kept ranting about two days prior.
I never go alone to bars. All the more in a foreign country. That's the best way to be bothered by creeps.
I try to dismiss the idea, but it keeps coming up again and again until I find myself at the entrance of said bar.
What am I doing here? I don't know, but it just feels right.
Hopefully, I won't regret my choice to come here tonight.