The End of Forever, chapter eight
Posted May 23rd, 2008 by clarissag
in the middle of the road, staring at a pretty bird
The sound of running water in the bathroom stops, and a minute later Aaron is in the kitchen with a towel around his waist. “What were you guys shouting about?” he asked.
“We weren’t shouting,” I protested, wishing I had been speaking just a little softer. One thing I should have learned about living with Aaron – if you speak in a voice any louder than a whisper, he hears you, a trait that recently earned him the nickname “radar ears.” Funnily enough, he can switch from ‘all hearing’ to completely deaf when you discuss topics such as homework and room cleaning.
Mr. Radar Ears rolls his eyes. “What were you talking about then?” he asked.
“Nothing,” Dad says, before I had time to reply.
He shouldn’t have bothered. Aaron catches Dad’s nervous glances at the vacation list and looks down at it. He’s a fast enough reader, and the list is pretty short, so he manages to read the whole thing before Dad notices where he’s looking and slams his hand over it.
“We’re going to the beach?” he inquires excitedly. I can barely suppress a smile. Aaron might help me talk Dad into going. Despite his habit of eavesdropping (not to mention being annoyingly good at everything) he can be very helpful in an argument. Not only does he play football, he spent a few years on the debate team, and got pretty good before quitting.
Dad looks directly at him. “No, we’re not,” he replied with astonishing finality.
“But, you said –“
“We’re not going!” He was starting to scream again, and my desperation to go was mounting. Come on, Mr. Debate team, do your stuff…
“Why not?” Aaron demands, making me wonder how good he had gotten at debates after all. But pathetic as the question is, Aaron manages to accidentally leave Dad speechless. Dad didn’t want to explain 'the why' not, and he was at a loss.
“The beach is dangerous,” is the answer, but you can tell he is floundering. Without the full story, which he is refusing to give, the answer sounds stupid, not to mention false.
There is a pause. The silence gives Dad a chance to see how dumb the excuse sounded. “All right,” he finally says in defeat. “I’ll talk to your mother about it.”
It was as close to a ‘no’ as you could get, but it released a tiny glimmer of hope. Maybe, maybe we could go. And I had a feeling that if we did, things finally might start to make sense.
“What are they talking about?” It is a half hour after the conversation about the beach and Mom and Dad are still talking. The suspense is killing me, so I'm taking advantage of Aaron’s presence to find out what they were saying.
He looks confused. “I don’t know. Something about riptides, and how dangerous the beach is. And they said that ‘we might get suspicious’ if we DIDN’T go, or something.” He pauses. “Oh, and Gretchen. Something about someone named Gretchen. Who’s Gretchen?”
I don’t answer.
When Mom and Dad come out of the bedroom, Aaron practically football tackles them. “Can we go?” he asks excitedly.
Dad sighs. “I suppose. But just for a day. And stay away from the ocean!”
That’s the point of the beach, isn’t it? I think. To go swimming in the ocean? But I’m so happy just to be going at all to complain. Besides, I’m not sure if I’m ready to go in anyway just yet.
“When are we going?” I ask instead.
“Over the Memorial day weekend. That’s in a week.” To Mom, he adds, “so we’ll be able to get it over with before the summer begins.”
She doesn’t look so sure.
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