“That’s for him to explain. There are multiple reasons. But for one, I don’t think he sees me as ready for marriage and for the responsibility that comes with it. So, you dodged a bullet.” She winked.
God, she was beautiful. I needed to leave. Instead, I shook my head and asked, “What is it about you?”
“What do you mean?”
“What is it about you that makes me want to tell you all my secrets?”
“I feel kind of like that about you, too.”
“You might think I’m strange for saying this…”
She interrupted me, “We’re past that point. I’ve thought you were strange from the moment I met you, Sevin.”
“Maybe that’s why we get along so well. Freaks of a feather…” I joked.
She chuckled. “What were you going to say?”
“Something about you reminds me of what I imagined my mother was like.”
“In what way?”
“Just a free spirit, someone who cared about people, who didn’t discriminate, someone who was passionate and beautiful…inside and out.”
Someone who would have loved me unconditionally.
“Wow. Thank you. She must have been something…”
“I don’t really know. I never had a chance to meet her.”
A look of shock washed over her face. “What?”
“I never met my mother.”
“You mentioned that she passed away, but I don’t understand. What happened?”
I couldn’t believe what I was about to admit. It was the first time I uttered the words that were responsible for everything that was ever wrong with me. The words that defined me.
“I killed her.”
Sevin’s eyes were watering when he’d said it. Shock and sadness ran through me, but I didn’t say anything, knowing that he needed to find the words at his own pace.
My heart was racing. He’d killed her. What did that mean? He’d never met her, yet he’d killed her. Just as I started to figure it out, he resumed speaking.
“My mother died giving birth to me.”
“Oh my God. I’m so sorry.”
“I still don’t know the details of exactly how it happened because my father always refused to talk about it. It was too painful for him.”
“Does Elle know?”
“I’d told her my mother died when I was little, but we never discussed the details. That’s partly my fault, because I always change the subject. I’m not sure if my father ever told Lance exactly what happened, either. If Elle didn’t know, I suspect he didn’t.”
“You can’t blame yourself for what happened.”
“Deep down and logically, I know it wasn’t my fault, but I spent most of my life wishing I were never born, wondering what she’d be like if I weren’t here. It didn’t help that my father was just a depressed shell for most of my early childhood. Then, he met Lillian and allowed her to basically kidnap his brain. In a weird way, he needed that. He needed direction, someone to take over, because he was just so lost. The one good thing Lillian ever did was save my father from the depths of despair. She just made everyone else miserable in the process.”
“Your father loved you.”
“I think he tried. He really did, but I never felt it. I look just like her. I can’t imagine what it was like for him to look at me, a constant reminder of her, of the pain.”
“She must have been really stunning.”
I immediately felt embarrassed, realizing that my comment was basically an admission that I found him stunning.
Sevin’s mouth spread into a smile as he also apparently drew the same conclusion. “Yeah, she was.”
“What was her name?”
“That’s so beautiful.”
“My father loved her so much. That’s the scary thing about loving someone like that, though. When they’re gone, it feels like your entire life is over.”
“I know. It’s like what Adelaide is going through right now, but I know that she still would never trade her years with Lorraine to escape the current pain.”
“Maybe one consolation is…I like to think my parents are finally together again now…where they belong.”
“I definitely think they’re together.”
“Lillian and your parents would say with absolute certainty that they weren’t in the same place. They’d say my mother was in hell because she wasn’t a Christian.”
“Well, I don’t believe everything my parents say. In my heart, I know that things aren’t as black and white as they’ve painted. There’s got to be more to life than living in fear of punishment. It’s such a shame. I just believe if you’re a good person, God knows it. I don’t think going to church every Sunday or saying you accept Christ makes a lick of difference in the end.”
His next question startled me. “What do you want out of life, Evangeline?”
“That’s a tough question.”
“I know. I asked Elle the same one earlier.”
“What did she say?”
“She said she wanted to be married to me, and that was enough for her.”
“Elle is different than I am. Don’t get me wrong, she’s the best person I know, but we have different wants and needs. I truly believe she meant what she said to you.”