The idea of having two parents is very foreign to me. It really snuck up on me, but it shouldn't have. A lot of things have happened since last summer.
It started on a normal day. Mom and I had just been out to practice some metalbending at the Republic City scrap yard. We walked in the house and plopped down on the couch.
"Lin, go get the mail." Mom commanded lazily.
"Moooooooom. I just sat down. Maybe in a little while." I moaned.
"Lin. Now." She flung a rock from our earth covered floor at me.
"Fine!" I said, standing as I blocked the rock and sent it back to the floor. I huffed out of the house, causing the ground to shake a little with my anger. I walked out to the porch and reached into our mailbox. I flipped through the mail as I walked back to the couch. Bills, bills
and a letter.
"Anything good?" Mom asked.
"Mostly bills. But there's a handwritten letter here too." I said, studying the envelope.
"Read it to me." Mom said as she adjusted to a more upright position in her seat. I opened it and cleared my throat.
I'm coming down to Republic City in the next weeks. This time, I think it's permanent. The Southern Water Tribe is completely self-sustained now, and there's not much holding me here without my father. I'm sending a letter to Aang and Katara too; I'm so happy to see you all again. Have the oogies stopped with them yet? They've been married for how many years? Yet, the last time I saw them, just eight years ago still oogie. Hopefully we can get up to some of our old shenanigans and avoid them.
I can't wait to see you again.
"Well, Uncle Sokka seems excited to see you. What does he mean by 'shenanigans', Mom?" I teased her. She blushed, which is something I didn't expect. However, she recovered quickly.
"Don't you have a date with Twinkletoes Jr.?" She sneered. It was my turn to blush.
"It's not a date!"
"Don't lie to me, Linnie. I can always tell." Mom laughed.
"I have to take a bath." I said scampering quickly down the hall.
"Oh? He's got you cleaning up for him? You must really like him, Linnie." Mom called after mean. I slammed the door in response.
Sokka came into town two weeks later. Mom and I were staying at Air Temple Island so we could all be together when he arrived. Tenzin and I were sitting by a tree outside.
"That must be his boat." Tenzin said, pointing at the Water Tribe ship looming on the horizon.
"Do you remember him much?" I asked, staring at the boat.
"We were nine when we last saw him. So I can recall being with him. But eight years is a long time." He looked at me with the serious stare he has. I had to blush, but I was determined to keep his gaze for once. He leaned in closer and I did the same. But, before our lips touched, a rumbling sound stopped us. A huge chunk of earth rose from beneath us, sending us sailing in opposite directions.
"If you little lovebirds think you can do anything on this island without me sensing it, you're wrong." My mother walked toward us. I groaned and buried my head in my hands. There was no way I was ever getting up. I would just lay here in my shame and humiliation forever.
"We were only watching Uncle Sokka's boat come in." Tenzin tried to cover.
"I can tell you're lying." Mom smiled, and then what he said dawned on her. "Can you see his boat?"
"Yes, it'll probably be in the harbor within the next half hour, judging by distance." Tenzin replied quickly, obviously frightened of my mom.
My mother walked very quickly down to the edge of the island, where she sat down near the wooden dock.
"Lin! Get Twinkletoes and Sugar Queen!" She called up.
"She's insane." I grumbled from the ground. Tenzin used his airbending to put me upright.
"Perhaps Uncle Sokka will be sane." Tenzin offered as we walked up to get his parents.
By the time we were bringing Uncle Aang and Aunt Katara down to the docks, Uncle Sokka's boat was already there.
"Toph!" A voice called out. A man was getting of the boat. I assumed he was Sokka from what I remembered of him.
"Sokka! Get your lazy ass on this island so I can see you!" Mom called back.
"I don't think either of them ever grew up." I heard Uncle Aang whisper to Aunt Katara.
Uncle Sokka walked to the edge of the dock and looked at my mother for a moment.
"It's great to see you, Toph." He said.
"I'd say the same, but you need to get on the ground." Mom replied.
"You look lovely." He said, not moving, teasing her.
"I've really missed you."
"Really. How long has it been?"
"Ages it seems like."
"Alright, alright." He stepped onto the island. Immediately, my mother's head whipped in his direction. She began punching his arm heartily.
"You big jerk!" Mom was laughing. She practically tackled him as she hugged him.
"I try." He smiled back, rubbing his arm.
"This doesn't bode well for his sanity." Tenzin commented. I sighed.
Sokka stayed on Air Temple Island until he could find a house. This meant my mother and I became very frequent visitors. Not that I complained, because I could see Tenzin. I hadn't known how close my mother and Uncle Sokka were until then. They always sat around reminiscing, making jokes, and acting completely ridiculous. My embarrassment abounded.
Eventually, Sokka got himself a house in the city. He started throwing around this idea of a council instead of the mayor Republic City currently had. My mom thought it was a great idea, but mostly because she couldn't stand the mayor. I also had a suspicion that she knew if Sokka made a council, the chief of police would have to work with him to enforce it. And it was more than a suspicion that she enjoyed spending time with him.
It was strange watching my mother fall in love.
One night, she came home while I was sitting at the kitchen table. Mom opened the door, facing away from me, and I saw Uncle Sokka behind her.
"See you later, Bandit. Try not to cause too much trouble without me." He smiled.
"Oh, I always save the troublemaking for you, Snoozles." Mom punched him and closed the door. She stood there for a moment, obviously sensing him as he walked away.
"How was your date?" I asked sneeringly.
"It wasn't a date." Mom walked to the couch.
"I don't need to sense your heart rate to know you're lying." I responded, smirking. I had to duck from all the rocks that came flying at my head. It's a good thing we don't keep breakables in our house.
A few weeks later, I was sitting on the wooden balcony outside my room with Tenzin. It was the only place in the house my mother couldn't sense us. He had flown over on his glider. We were watching the lights of the city together.
"It's incredible to think our parents practically built this place." He said.
"It's a lot to live up to." I said, twirling my hair with my finger. Tenzin turned to me.
"I'm sure we'll both rise to the occasion." He kissed me. A whistle from below broke us apart. Uncle Sokka was walking down the street toward my house. Tenzin and I froze. But Sokka had seen us, and now he was laughing and waving. He walked up to the door and was about to knock, when my mother opened it.
"Toph," Sokka said, looking up at us, "did you know that your daughter " he was silenced by my mother practically jumping on him and kissing him.
"Come in." Mom said. "I can't sense Lin right now, so she's probably asleep on her bed." My mom went inside. Sokka stood there for a moment and looked at us. He put a finger to his mouth and smiled as he followed my mom in.
"This is the most disturbing moment of my life." I said to Tenzin.
"I'm feeling quite uncomfortable myself." He replied.
Sokka never told my mother he saw us, and that much I was grateful for. At that moment he was still the estranged family friend who kissed my mom. But I grew to like him a lot more over time. I remember when Mom and Sokka tried to tell me they were dating.
"Your mother and I
" Sokka stuttered.
"You'll be seeing him a lot more often now, is what he means to say." My mom tries.
"I already see him here practically every day already." I said, being difficult. I knew completely what they were trying to say, but I was angry at my mom that day. She had made me go to the grocery store for food so that we could have dinner with Sokka. And if this is what the dinner was about, I was going to make it as difficult for her as possible.
"Stop being a smart ass. The point is, he's going to be around the house a lot, and I want to make sure you're comfortable with that." Mom said.
"Calling me a smart ass always makes me really comfortable, Mom." I snapped.
"Alright, maybe I should go home
" Sokka muttered, feeling awkward.
"No, Sokka. I think Lin should go to her room." Mom snarled.
"Please, Mom. What am I? Five?" I crossed my arms.
"Don't make me earthbend you in there!" she bellowed.
I reluctantly went upstairs to my bedroom. I collapsed on my bed and let out a long sigh. I was mad at Mom about the groceries. But there was something else too. Why couldn't my mother just tell me she wanted to date someone? Why did she have to pretend like nothing was happening?
I heard a knock at my door.
"What?" I spat out angrily.
"Can I come in?" It was Sokka's voice. I took a deep breath.
"Sure, I guess." I sat up. He opened the door and walked in.
"You look a lot like your mom." He said, smiling. "Especially when you're angry."
"Thanks." I pouted, annoyed.
"You've grown up a lot. I remember when you were just a little girl
" I glared at him and he stopped. "But I guess you don't want to hear that. The point is, sometimes I forget you're not little anymore. And I think your mom does too. She had to raise you all by herself, and I think it's hard for her to imagine you don't need her anymore."
"I can't help it. It's not like I can stop time." I said, softening up.
"I know. But I just wanted you to understand. I'm very happy with your mom, and I hope she's happy with me. I was also hoping you could be happy with us." He smiled.
"As long as you never tell her about the balcony." I said jovially. He laughed and agreed.
Sokka continued to be a good mediator between my mother and I. He seemed to know my mom better than I did, which freaked me our sometimes. He also seemed to know me very well, which freaked me out more. But it was a good thing. Mom and I are very stubborn people, and Sokka helped us see that sometimes you had to give up the fight and make-up. The house had a lot fewer flying rocks when he was there.
Months later, Sokka and I went to run errands together. Mom was sick and she needed some medicine.
"Do you think Mom wants us to get food?" I asked.
"Probably. Maybe some soup will make her feel better?" he suggested. I nodded and we walked toward the market to get some ingredients.
"What would you think about me being your dad?" Sokka asked suddenly. I looked up at him, surprised. "I know I'm not your father, and I won't ever be. But maybe you'll settle for dad?" he looked at me hopefully. I smiled.
"I think you pretty much became Dad a while ago." I hugged him in the middle of the sidewalk. He looked very happy when I let go. "I think you'll have a harder time convincing Mom to be wife." I added, smirking. Sokka laughed.
"I may come out with a few bruises, but I think she'll give in." We turned into the market.
Last year I was glad I didn't have two parents, because my mother was definitely enough embarrassment and yelling for me. But I have to say, having two is really nice. My mother never needed a father to raise me, but I think it's good she has Dad for when I leave.