I pulled through the silent streets of the more affl uent areas of historic Newport, just as the sun was setting on
he horizon, painting the whole town a delightful orange color that really set off the falling leaves from the
trees. Autumn had always been my favourite season, and spending it in New England was a pleasure I’d never imagined I’d experience. Since the transformation I’d been thinking less and less about my former life, until
here were some days where I just thought purely as ‘Brandy’. That isn’t to say I was losing my identity. More
making a new one. I could still be the computer kid, I could still be antisocial and weird, I just had to be some-
hing on top of that also. I had to be Brandy Svenning, hottie, underachiever, and all around ‘good girl’.
he house was just as silent as the streets, which troubled me as the car rolled into the garage. Normally
Simon, our attendant, was outside in circumstances like this to take the car. He wasn’t there, nor were my
Family. I was alone, and it was getting dark Thinking something awful may have happened, I gripped my
I – pepper spray in my hand while walking through the empty gardens, every hedgerow and lawn sculpture sud-
denly a villain in hiding. l rapped on the door but found no response, so jingled my keys hurriedly opening it.
No lights on inside either, I considered rushing to my bedroom, my safe space, but I stayed. Lingering at the
bottom of the stairs, I heard a tinkling coming from the living room. Glass on glass. I didn’t want to investigate
further, but after a slight shuffling sent the hairs on the back of my neck into erect overdrive, I didn’t have
much other choice. I stalked the corridor, and then foistered the door open.
he lights came on, and I almost had a heart attack The whole town had come out to celebrate me turning my
Grades around! And at the centre of it all were my loving parents, my Mom and Daddy, beckoning me forward.
ears in my eyes, I crossed the room of smiling faces to embrace them. How had they known my grades to
u ut this together? Daddy had called in a favour with one of the chancellors to get the envelope released early.
He was so proud he’d been unable to stop himself putting something like this together for me.
here was champagne and a cake and everything. All of Brandy’s friends, my friends, were there to congratu-
ate me. I didn’t know what to say, how could I thank them? I couldn’t. There was nothing I could do. They were
my parents and they loved me. The best I could do was stammer a thank you, which brought out a wave of
gentle, endearing laughter as it became clear I was getting overcome with emotion. No one had ever done
anything like that for me before. few hours into the revelry, my father sat me down on the lawn, just the two of us, the murmur of merriment secluded behind double glazed glass. He handed me a champagne glass, and gave the warmest smile I’d seen.
Baby, you know I’m proud of you right?”
Your mother and I aren’t going to be around forever. But it makes living just that little sweeter to know that
hen we’re gone, we’ve left behind this confident, capable, excelling, beautiful young woman.”
He held my hand.
That’s all I need.”
he moon shone down on the Svenning house that night, but the true light came from within, from the bustle
of relatives and friends and supporting parents and love above all. And it wouldn’t have been possible for
nyone other than Daddy’s special girl.