Despite saying that he would allow me home the next day, in fact, the doctor insisted on my staying in the hospital for a few more days. Doctor Hale told me that he needed to carry out a series of tests on me to make sure that I was really healthy before being discharged from the hospital. I had no choice but to comply with the doctor because my parents had given their consent.
After undergoing a battery of medical tests, I finally got my test results. The medical tests revealed that I suffered from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Doctor Hale explained to me that PTSD was a mental disorder that could develop after a person was exposed to a traumatic event in their life. According to Doctor Hale, the individual with PTSD usually avoided trauma-related thoughts and emotions, and discussion of the traumatic event, and might even have amnesia of the event. That explained why I wasn’t able to remember any details about my kidnapping. It seemed that I just couldn’t cope with the terrible ordeal I had been through during my captivity. Therefore, I subconsciously blotted the whole experience out of my memory.
Doctor Hale then referred me to a psychiatrist. Of course I objected. I told him that it wasn’t necessary for me to see a psychiatrist because I wasn’t insane. But the doctor stressed that it was important for anyone with PTSD to be treated by a mental health care professional, who’s experienced with PTSD, to make sure the traumatic experience that they had been through wouldn’t leave them scarred for life. At this point, I was too tired to argue with the doctor, so I decided to play along with his reference.
For the next few days, I received psychological counselling and therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder under the care of a psychiatrist. In that way they hoped to help me retrieve my repressed traumatic memories. However, those therapies didn’t seem to help. I had shown no signs of improvement yet so far. Knowing it would be a long process, the doctors finally decided to allow me home, and my treatment would continue on an outpatient basis.
Today was the day I would be discharged from the hospital. It was a relief to be able to go outside and get some fresh air after being cooped up in this hospital room for days. I thought I might go insane slowly if I didn’t get out of here soon.
I had packed my things this morning and now I was waiting for my family to pick me up. My parents and sister went home last night. The three of them hadn’t left my side since I’d regained consciousness. And while they were in the hospital, they left our house empty and unkempt. That’s why they needed to get home to clean and tidy up our house before I returned home.
“Morning, Sister!” Marirosa chirped as she entered my hospital room.
I frowned in puzzlement when I saw my sister arrive alone. “Where are mom and dad?” I asked curiously.
“I’m sorry, Sis, but Mom and Dad didn’t come with me,” Marie replied apologetically.
I tried not to let my disappointment show when I found out that my parents didn’t come to fetch me from the hospital. “Why didn’t they come with you?” I asked as casually as I could.
“As you know, Sis, Mom and Dad had absented themselves from their offices since the day we found you. So, they must go back to work today because both of them have a mountain of work to catch up on,” Marie explained.
‘It’s really weird!’ I thought, ‘For my parents, family always comes first. But now, why all of a sudden did they put their work before our family?’
‘Oh yeah, how could I forget the fact that I’m just their adopted daughter? So it’s perfectly understandable if they don’t give me a top priority,’ I said to myself sadly.
“Have you packed yet?” Marirosa’s question jolted me out of my trance.
“Yes, I have,” I replied, nodding towards the duffle bag that I put on my hospital bed earlier.
“OK then, let’s go home now, shall we?” my sister suggested.
Getting to my feet, I grabbed my duffle bag from the hospital bed, and lastly answered her, “Okay, let’s go! I can’t wait to get back home.”
Finally, Marirosa put her arm around my shoulders and led me out of the hospital room.
My sister and I had to exit the hospital by the back door because there were a large crowd of reporters collected at the front of the hospital. Marirosa told me that there had been a great deal of publicity surrounding my disappearance. It’s because I had mysteriously disappeared along with dozens of other girls from all over the world. Thus, most journalists were understandably eager for any news of the only missing girl who was found alive after one year. I just hoped that the word of my discharge from the hospital hadn’t reached those reporters yet, or else they would certainly follow us home. I wasn’t really ready to talk to the press now.
I and Marirosa strode briskly towards a red car that was parked behind the hospital. I recognized it as my mother’s car.
“So, where is our driver for today?” I asked, looking around our surrounding.
“There driver is here.” My sister pointed to herself.
I looked at my sister aghast. “What?! You drove to the hospital by yourself?”
“Yes, I did.” She gave a broad grin.
“But you don’t have a driving licence yet, Marie,” I protested.
“Actually, I’ve passed my driving test,” she announced.
I gasped in astonishment. “Oh, really?”
“Yeah. I’d been trying to pass my driving test for the last six months, and eventually I succeeded,” my little sister crowed.
“Apparently, I’ve missed a lot of things during my disappearance,” I sighed.
“Don’t worry, Sis! We’ve still got plenty of time to catch up on each other’s news,” Marie said reassuringly.
I smiled weakly at her. “You’re right.”
“Well, we’d better get moving now, Sis,” said my sister.
“OK,” I agreed.
Marirosa opened up the boot of the car. Directly after I put my bag into the boot, she slammed it shut. The two of us then walked to the front of the car. My sister climbed into the driver’s seat while I wedged myself into the passenger seat.
“Don’t forget to belt up, Sis!” Marie reminded me after she strapped herself in.
“Yes, yes, I know,” I said as I fastened my seat belt.
“Are you ready?” she asked me.
“Yep.” I nodded.
“Okay then, let’s go!” Marirosa started the engines, then pressed down hard on the accelerator, and the car finally shot ahead.
I panicked when our car began to pick up speed. And now, my sister was driving really fast.
“Can’t you drive any slower? You’re driving too quickly. It is very dangerous, you know,” I chided her.
“Sorry.” Marirosa gave a cheeky grin. And much to my relief she finally reduced speed.
It took us at least half an hour to get home from the hospital. As soon as Marirosa pulled the car into the driveway of our house, she turned the car off and unfastened her seat belt. Then, she opened the car door and swung herself out of the car.
Quickly, I unbuckled my seat belt and hopped out of the car after my sister.
“At last I’m home!” I mumbled to myself as I gazed at the beautiful double fronted Georgian terraced house before me. Even though I’d left it for over a year, but this house hadn’t changed at all. This house still looked exactly the same as the last time I saw it.
“Let’s go in, shall we?” Marirosa smiled.
I returned her smile. “Yes, let’s!”
My sister and I ascended a short flight of stairs led up to the front door. Marirosa unzipped her handbag and fumbled around in her handbag, looking for her key. Once my sister found her key, she took it out, then inserted the key into the lock, and finally pushed the door open.
I and my sister walked into the house and went straight to the living room only to find that the room was in pitch-darkness.
“Why is it so dark here?” I asked.
“Your guess is as good as mine, Sis,” Marie answered.
“Could you turn the light on, please, Sis?” I requested, “You know, I’ve always been afraid of the dark.”
“I don’t think I can’t find the light switch, Rosanne. It was too dark to see much of anything here,” said Marirosa.
“OK then, why don’t we try to find the light switch together?” I suggested.
“OK,” she agreed.
Marirosa and I felt around for the light switch. After a while, I finally found it first. Without wasting time, I flipped on the light.
Once bright light illuminated the living room, I was astonished to see this room was decked out in flowers and balloons. There was also a huge banner on the wall saying ‘Welcome home Rosanne’.
At that very moment, my parents and friends along with near neighbours of ours crowded into the living room.
“Welcome home, Rosanne!” they all chorused.
I looked at my parents. Tears misted my eyes. I felt guilty for ever having bad thoughts about my adoptive parents. It was apparent that the reason why my parents didn’t pick me up from the hospital wasn’t because they put their work before me, but because they were preparing this special celebration for my homecoming. I should have known even though I wasn’t their biological daughter, but there was no doubt at all that they always loved me like their own flesh and blood.
I ran up towards my parents and wrapped my arms around them. “Thank you for throwing this homecoming party for me, Mom, Dad. I love you,” I said in a tearful voice.
“We love you too, Sweetheart,” they responded in unison.
After the three of us pulled away, my best friend, Valerie approached me. She threw her arms round me, and gave me a hug. “Welcome home, Rosanne. I’ve missed you terribly!” she said softly.
I returned her hug. “I missed you too, Valerie.”
As soon as the two of us broke our embrace, a teenage boy with straight blonde hair came up to me and said, “Welcome home. It’s lovely to see you again, Rosanne.”
I smiled at him. “I’m glad to see you too, Josh.”
“I think I owe you an apology, Rosanne,” Josh said. He had a guilty look on his face.
My eyebrows lifted. “Apology? But why do you think you need to apologize to me?”
“I’m terribly sorry, Rosanne. I’m responsible for what happened to you. You would never have been kidnapped if you hadn’t gone to my birthday party that night,” Josh said regretfully.
“No, Josh!” Valerie chipped in, “If anyone’s to blame, it’s me. I was the one who had persuaded Rosanne to come to your birthday party.”
“Look, Guys! I don’t blame anyone for my kidnapping, so just forget it, okay?” I talked to them.
“How can I just forget it? Your kidnapping was my fault it would be foolish to pretend otherwise,” Valerie insisted.
“I am also partly to blame for your abduction,” Josh added.
I sighed. “Oh Valerie, Josh, how many times do I have to tell you that it’s nobody’s fault? So stop blaming yourselves, okay?”
Valerie and Josh said simultaneously, “But Rosanne--”
“Look, Kids!” my mother interrupted, “Let’s forget about who was more to blame. It’s all past history. The only thing that matters is that Rosanne has returned home safely now.”
“My mother is right,” I concurred, “Let bygones be bygones!”
“Thanks you, Rosanne,” Valerie said as her eyes were glistening with tears.
“Hey, no sweat!” I responded.
The two of us finally put our arms around each other and hugged.
“Okay, everybody,” my father tried to attract all our guests’ attention, “Let’s go outside now! I’ve prepared an outdoor barbecue for all of us.”
Everyone cheered and then we all herded into the kitchen which had French doors leading onto a small backyard surrounded by a high brick wall behind our house.
Directly after we all reached the kitchen, my father pushed the French doors open, and all of us finally spilled out into the back yard.
Dad and Marie helped Mom cook foods on the barbecue. The barbecue menu included steak, chicken, fish, vegetarian dishes, and salads. Meanwhile, I walked around the back yard and talked to my friends, catching up on all the news. I was thankful that there was no awkwardness between me and my friends though we haven’t met for ages.
When the food’s ready, the guests headed straight for the table and queued up to heap their plates with food. They thereupon sat themselves at the tables that were set up in the back yard for the barbecue and lastly tucked into their food.
After making sure that all the guests got food, my family and I each took a plate of food before going to our reserved table and sat down to feast on our barbecue.
My mother received many compliments from our guests for her delicious cooking. I couldn’t agree more with them. Mom was indeed a great cook. My mom’s home cooking was the thing I always missed the most whenever I was away from home. I felt lucky because I could taste it again after more than a year.
Following the barbecue, there was an entertainment. Apparently my parents had booked a pop band for my homecoming. As the band started to play one of my favorite songs, some of us danced to the beat of the music, while others just sang along to the song.
Third Person’s Point of View:
None of them were aware that there were some hooded people watching them from the rooftop of a building opposite their house.
“Apparently Prince Xavier was not lying. He really sent Princess Mirabelle back to her family in London,” one of them said.
“Her adopted family,” the hooded man beside him said through clenched teeth.