Transplanted Life
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Parents. I remember those.
Samantha Haskins's parents showed up at the hospital today. This was, of course, awkward because Carter had never met them before in his life, and said he didn't want them to know he wasn't really their daughter. This wasn't completely to be kind or anything like that - he felt that if he told them the truth, they would think he was crazy, and would have him committed to a mental institution. Most of us want to avoid that - Carter, who has been imprisoned for the last couple months, is downright adamant.

He told me later that if he had given the matter of Sam's parents any thought at all, he would have told the hospital staff not to let them come, but I'm not quite sure what they would have done. Once you know where a patient's room is, you don't have to sign in or anything. There's not a guard outside the door. All in all, the encounter made him anxious to get out of the hospital and go some place where he could put a lock on the door.

The Haskinses themselves aren't bad folks. Mrs. H is a little more religious than I'm really comfortable with most of the time, while Sam's father tends toward distraction. It's a Sunday and his cell phone rang more than a few times. Sure, a lot of that was family and friends excited about their daughter being found, but a lot was business. Certainly, being a newspaper editor can be a seven-day job, but still, I get a sense of why Sam ran away from home last year. Most parents don't get their kids, not totally, but if her father's general ignorance and her mother's disapproval were what I expect they were, home must have felt unbearable for her. Even the way Mrs. Haskins was talking to "Sam" today, you could hear it - it was all about how much prettier she was without the dyed hair and piercings, and how what happened was terrible but not unexpected when you take up with an older man. She was clearly also very uncomfortable with my proximity - I'd dressed a little more conservatively considering how Carter had reacted yesterday, but clearly having large breasts makes me some sort of godless heathen who would corrupt her little girl.

I felt really sorry for Carter. We're not actors, and I'd never really had to deal with someone who knew Michelle before. Sam's parents didn't seem to notice anything off, though - I think it was a case of how you see what you expect to see, and since their little girl had been traumatized, some distance was to be expected. And it's not like they had been close in recent memory, either. Carter mostly kept quiet, until George Haskins off-hand mentioned something about her coming home. Carter flat-out refused, but was forced to resort to "you can't make me" and "I left for a reason" when they asked why. Eventually, they admitted Sam was 18, but said they couldn't let her just live on the streets. Carter said he wouldn't be, until he remembered he didn't have a lease on a place in Jamaica Plain any more. I jumped in and said "she" could stay with me, which made Carter look relieved.

This, of course, led to the Haskinses demanding to have a look at my place, which, of course, led to them being appalled. It is only a studio, and there's hardly room for the futon I've got in there, much less another. I promised Mrs. Haskins that I'd sleep on the floor until something could be worked out, and though that didn't mollify her much, she did at least admit it was better than the street.

I feel really sorry for them. They're not perfect parents, but to have their daughter missing and now that she's found say she wants, in effect, to stay missing must be horrible. I suppose, though, that it's better than the truth, that their daughter's mind was apparently ripped from her body for being afraid of flying, and as a result of that is trapped in a comatose male body (well, I assume that's the case; I suppose it's an outside possibility that Sam's mental patterns are resident in a man whose name I don't know, somewhere in Eastern Europe). I suppose it's better for them to think she's safe and has someone to look out for her than the truth.

I can't help but think of my own mother, too. Which do I think is worse, Alexei Gubanov pretending to be her son or him cutting off contact with her? And which has he done?

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