She smoothed the hem of the dress her mom had dutifully chosen for her. He will be perfect for you, she had said, her eyes gleaming. Oblivious to all this, her dad rocked in his chair smoking his pipe. She looked around the study, feeling the walls closing in. That familiar feeling from her childhood. Closing her eyes she imagined herself running through a field of lavender and her breath grew steady. What was it about the lavender, she wondered, realizing it was not just the fragrance that calmed her.
She heard the door bell ring. On cue, her mom and dad moved to the living room and positioned themselves to welcome the guests, a smile plastered across their faces. She only knew too well the scene unfolding in front of her eyes. She followed, taking her seat next to them. A tableau of a perfect family, much like their life-size portrait hanging in the study.
In came the guests and she was amazed at the familiarity of the family that walked in. It was exactly like hers, only she was replaced by a guy few years older. Her parents found alliance in maybe the only other family in the planet like theirs and deemed it her future. How typical of them, she frowned.
The prospective groom was dressed to a tee. No doubt in clothes his parents chose for him. Spineless, she thought. Hypocrite, another voice accused her. The conversation around her eased into wedding arrangements as though scripted. She felt like a character in a play her parents had directed. Was this how life was meant to be? She sat through the whole charade stroking the strand of lavender she had picked from the vase earlier, ignoring her mother’s disapproving glances.
Never in her life had she disappointed them. But all of a sudden it felt too much. She doesn’t remember what triggered it, but the next moment she was out the door with her getaway bag she always kept ready under her bed. Her male version sat with his mouth open, but she caught something in his eyes before they saw the last of her. Admiration?
The outside air felt good on her skin and she had her first breath of freedom.