Elise wished she could talk to Amanda. Wished she could just keep laying there on the bed with her and not think about her day. But the Australian was still on the tournament site playing an evening match today.
After her loss, Elise had had a long conversation with her father. There were some crucial flaws in her game he had tried to address in previous matches but today they had again surfaced and had cost her the win in the end. At least, that was what he believed. She had agreed, of course, knowing however, that today the loss wasn’t due to the lack of a middle game or losing the big points and the lack of concentration wasn’t due to endgaming or fear at facing match points.
She hadn’t slept well at night. She might have told her friends in the restaurant boldly about her determination to tell her parents but she hadn’t really bothered to really do it. The surprise visit by her mother had pushed the situation she had been in for the last couple of weeks on the brink.
“Your mother didn’t look too shocked,” Amanda had said in the morning when they were getting ready to go down to breakfast where they would sit at different tables with their teams.
“Because she didn’t understand,” Elise said. It didn’t make the prospect of telling the truth to her apparently clueless and innocent parents any better.
“Yes,” Amanda shrugged. “Maybe.”
Elise had looked up. “You mean she got it?”
“Well, I think there was no way she did not see my shorts on the TV set.”
Elise had breathed in deeply but hadn’t replied. During their breakfast she had watched her parents closely, if they showed any differences in reaction towards her, but everything seemed perfectly normal. But all the time during the match she couldn’t help wondering if her mother had understood the late-night situation and probably had told Elise’s father about it and what they were thinking now and why they didn’t say anything.
Elise had been lying on her bed for the past two hours but now it was time to get up and have dinner with her parents. After their post-match talk her father had put his arms around her and had promised to take them out to dinner. On another day she would have appreciated his effort to cheer her up, but today it only meant another two hours with her parents in which she would struggle with herself to tell them or not.
She got up with a sigh and not bothering to dress up she went downstairs to meet her parents.
She didn’t say much on the way to the restaurant and even when they were seated she remained thoughtful and a bit grumpy.
Her parents obviously felt her bad mood was still the result of the lost match.
“You had several great weeks since the grass season,” her father said confidently. “Don’t focus on the loss, but let’s work on the things we need to improve.” He nodded in encouragement.
After they had ordered they talked about the next journey, the next tournament. Her parents planned to leave Cincy as soon as possible and head back to their base in Florida. They had already booked flights for the next day. Desperation crept up inside Elise. After two weeks apart she and Amanda would only have had two nights together due to Elise’s unlucky loss. Would they ever be able to spend more time together?
The food arrived. And while her parents started eating, Elise stared down on her plate. Tears had filled her eyes.
“I wanted to tell you something,” she finally said with a small voice.
Her parents stopped eating. “Of course,” her father said, nodding to her. They were waiting.
It seemed like ages that Elise was plucking the napkin, playing with her fork and knife and chewing on her lip. Her mouth moved like she was juggling marbles inside.
She had started the sentence she had prepared several times but the words got stock in her throat. Her parents had grown very still, waiting patiently.
“I wanted to tell you,” Elise began again “that I’m with Amanda.” There, she had said it. She looked up timidly to catch her parent’s reaction. They looked at each other but didn’t seem to understand.
“I mean, I’m in a relationship with Amanda,” Elise clarified.
In the long night she had had, she had imagined a whole range of reactions from her parents but what happened next she hadn’t foreseen. Both her parents got up simultaneously giving Elise a terrible fright whether they would abandon her right here and now.
But instead they sat down next to her on the bench and Elise’s father laid his arm around her back.
“Elise,” her mother said, shaking her head with a chuckle. “We might be old but we are not stupid.”
“Nope,” her dad confirmed. “You see, we know about Amanda since Wimbledon.”
Now Elise was mortified. All the secrecy and lies in vain. She stared at her parents in disbelief.
“And did you really think, I didn’t see Amanda’s pants hanging from the television?”
Her mother had started laughing at the thought, and her father joined in. Elise couldn’t believe it. Her parents were having a ball while she was coming out to them. She felt indignation rising inside. But then she also had to giggle. That was probably not as good as Amanda’s head-between-legs story but it would hold up pretty well she thought.