Saturday morning was when I decided to bring up the trip. I should have mentioned it earlier, but nerves had made me leave it to the last minute.
Mom was in the lounge describing her workday. Dad was agreeing with her. I can never tell if he is interested in what mom says. He makes all the right noises, but he’s a clever man (it’s where I get from) and I always have the feeling he is doing it for appearances.
“Now Sandra,” mom was saying, “is in for a big surprise if she thinks she’s going to get that account.” She stopped as I bobbed into the sitting room. “Morning Shina. We thought you were going to stay in bed all day.” A grin flashed across her face.
“Only some of it,” I said. I was nervous , the words came out sharp, as if I was snapping. “I wanted to tidy up my stuff,” I continued quickly in a softer tone. “You know, get my clothes put away.”
It wasn’t a lie. I had done it partly to take my mind off asking for permission but mostly because I thought it might put me in mom’s good books.
For a moment mom was silent, then she asked, “What’s caused this? I thought you were going to leave your outfits floating around your room forever.”
I shrugged and headed for one of the chairs.
“Don’t complain, Pari,” my dad chipped in. He looked across the room at me. “But let’s see how long it lasts for.”
I ignored the comment and activated a screen. The projection appeared in front of me and I started scanning through notifications. Mom and dad began discussing where they were going for a meal that night.
“There’s that new place off Geyser Square,” I suggested from behind a flow of text and images. “Sukhum’s mom went there with her new boyfriend. She said it was really good; some exotic, air grown vegetables.”
Mom paused. “That sounds good. I remember reading a review about it the other week.” She turned to dad. “What do you say? Shall I get us a table?”
“Sure,” he replied. “If they have any room.” He glanced across at me, the grafted fin that ran across his head and down his back was twitching. “That’s very helpful of you Shina.”
I grunted. Mom threw up a screen and started looking at the restaurant menu.
“So, Shina, what’s wrong?” Dad’s gaze hadn’t left me.
I looked around the edge of my display. “Huh? Nothing. I thought you’d like it there.” I was sure he didn’t know. There was no way he could.
“Tidying your room, being helpful, heck you’ve even drifted into the same room as us. When does that happen?” Now he had a sly smile. “So, come on, tell me what you’ve done?”
“I haven’t done anything. Honest.”
“Well …” It was now or never. If I kept quiet I probably wouldn’t get another chance. “Sukhum is going trench diving tomorrow. I want to go with her.” It came out in a rush.
“Trench diving!” Dad’s fin flicked. “You want to go down there?”
“Some of the others might go as well.” I shifted, nearly bouncing out of the chair. “It’ll be safe. Loads at school do it.”
Dad gave a small shake of his head. “I bet they do, but their parents probably don’t know what they’re kids are up to.”
“What are you two arguing about?” Mom had finished using her screen.
“Shina thinks it would be okay for her and some friends to go diving into one of the trenches.”
Mom looked between the two of us. “Well she is fifteen and …”
“And therefore not old enough to go that deep,” dad interrupted. He turned from me to mom. “I know what it’s like down there – rip currents, thermal lifts, anything. Have you forgot what I do for a day job?”
“Your job makes you see all the bad things,” I pointed out. “No one else thinks like you.”
It was the wrong thing to say. Dad’s fin became rigid.
“You be quiet and don’t be cheeky.” He barely glanced at me. “On this subject I know what I’m talking about.”
I could feel my temper rising; another thing I had inherited from dad.
Mom tried a different tack. “If others are going, and she has a suit to assist her, what is there to worry about.”
“Plenty.” There was anger in his voice as well. Frustration at questioned.
“Oh, leave it mom, he won’t agree. I knew he wouldn’t.” I left the chair and headed for the hall.
“I’ve already warned you,” dad snapped.
“I don’t know why I bothered asking,” I fired off as my parting shot.
“You come back here.” Dad’s words echoed in my head, forwarded by the house network.
I cut the link and triggered the door to my bedroom to slide closed. There was no way he was going to say yes, and no point me waiting around for him to fight with me. The best thing was for me to put some distance between the two of us until things had calmed down. I left by the window, not even looking back to check if it had irised closed behind me.
The apartment blocks passed me by as I head out of the city. Soon I was in the open. It felt good. My anger started to subside. When I broke the surface I found the day above was grey and filled with rain, as if the sky had decided to top up the ocean. One day I’d get to into the trenches. If not tomorrow, then soon.
28 October 2011
Residents in Bangkok have had to evacuate the city as flood waters continue to rise.
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