Her mother eyes are sparkling, which can only mean one thing: it's time for another relationship talk. Tosh hates this moment.
"So, honey - her mother says - Are you seeing someone now?"
Tosh is about to give her standard answer, the usual 'My work keeps me too busy' speech, but her traitorous mouth is totally disconnected from her brain, so what comes out is a 'Not anymore'. Oh, fuck.
The problem is, how many times should you come out to your parents? She already told them she was not their son, but their daughter. It was not an easy conversation, but she survived. And now, thanks to her bloody mouth, she is going to have another embarrassing conversation, this time about her sexuality. Fantastic!
It's not too terrible, though. The words rush out of her, like a confession, and she tells her mother about Mary and how weird it was to be attracted to someone of her own gender and how hurt she was when she discovered Mary had lied to her and then she is crying, sobbing heavily with her face in her hands and she feels so ashamed.
Her mother surprises her, giving her a fierce hug and not letting her go until she is calmer. She fetches her a glass of water, petting her hair like she used to do years ago, when Tosh was a child. A few tissues and lots of hugging later, Toshiko is able to talk again. Her throat hurts, but her chest is less constricted, so that's okay.
"Remember when you were in third grade? - her mother asks, out of nowhere. Toshiko blinks, perplexed. Her mother goes on - You came home one day crying because your teacher had scolded you."
"Yes - Toshiko interrupts - She told me I couldn't write a Valentine card to Eliza, that I had to give it to another boy."
"And I told you that your teacher was silly and you should be able to give your Valentine to whoever you cared about."
"It was a long time ago..." says Tosh, her eyes prickling again.
"But I still firmly believe it, love."
Toshiko is crying again, but this time it's pure relief, love, and she remembers why she was always so fond of her mother.