Cloudy With A Chance of Sunshine

August 25, 2009
By Patrick Drown BRONZE, North Easton, Massachusetts
Patrick Drown BRONZE, North Easton, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 1 comment

“Well, it’s a beautiful day,” said my Dad lamely as he always did when there was nothing to say. I hated family beach trips. They weren’t fun, they caused extreme boredom, and I always ended up with a sunburn. I looked out onto the calming blue ocean and I listened to the periodic swoosh of the waves hitting shore. There was a bald man with purple goggles doing laps at a slow but consistent pace.

“Dad, would you care if I quit the swim team?” I asked. I was now sailing in uncharted waters. I hadn’t the slightest idea how my Dad would react to me quitting the swim team. Based on his exuberant enthusiasm at my competitions, something told me he wouldn’t be happy.

“No,” He replied simply, with a thoughtful look upon his face. He went back to reading the Movies section of The Boston Globe.

“Really? I thought you loved that I swim? Remember, at the last competition, you made that huge obnoxious sign with big neon lettering?”

“Devon, I love everything you do. That’s what a Dad is for, kiddo.” Replied Dad coolly. My mother slowly started to slowly fidget out of her slouched position in her bright yellow beach chair. She put down her romance novel, turned towards me, and adjusted her oversized sunglasses. Her hands were clasped together in her lap.

“Honey, are you quitting the swim team?” Asked my mom in a high, strangely polite voice. I could sense her unwavering eye contact even through those red sunglasses of hers. On my shoulder I felt a drop of rain, although the sky was still fairly sunny.

“Yeah, well I mean, now I’m class vice president, and I have a job this year. And then there’s college applications and well, swim teams not the most important thing. I think I’ll still do Drama Club though. That was fun.”

“Devon, see Yale isn’t going to care if you’re in Drama Club…They WILL care if you’re on the swim team. Now, maybe you should reconsider you options, prioritize you’re…”

I didn’t bother listening. Over the years I’ve became quite good at sensing when mother dearest was about to treat me to one of her long speeches about responsibility, purpose in the world, and other random subjects that supposedly helped me “better myself.”
My mom was staring directly at me with pursed lips and at was sitting at the very tip of her chair. Thankfully, I was saved.
“Sarah, Devon should do whatever he wants. If he wants to do Drama Club, let him do Drama Club. If he wants to explore professional water skiing, then hell, Let him water ski. What does it matter?”
My Mom cocked her left eyebrow and looked at her husband like he had just grown a few extra noses on his face.
“Rob, IF you were listening to me, I said that it’s in Devon’s best interest if he stays with swimming. You know those Ivy Leagues, if they see he stopped swimming his senior year, well they would question his lack of commitment. Then they would question his lack of enthusiasm, and his attitude, and then soon enough, those amazing grades don’t matter anymore. The stories I hear, they’re just unbelievable! Now, that’s the LAST thing we want, now isn’t it, Devon? ”
She asked her question with a creepy fake smile on her face. It was the fake smile that she used to conceal her anger, embarrassment, and hatred. I’ve seen that smile time and time again. Overhead there were clouds gathering and I could feel a cool mist coming from the ocean. I Answered,
“Mom, for the hundredth time, I don’t care about Ivy Leagues. I want to breathe. I want to do what I want to do. I want to do Drama Club.”
“Okay by me,” Said my Dad with a broad smile on his face. I looked down at his white sneakers and knee high socks and then looked back at his warm green eyes. As far as Dads go, he was a cool guy. I started to feel a light drizzle of rain. The rain clouds up above didn’t look like they were here just for fun.
“Devon! We’ve worked so hard for this! Think of those language classes when you were three years old! Or those math tutors! Devon, don’t waste all of our hard work. To just give up now, I can’t believe it, its just…it’s…its ridiculous!”
She flew her hands high into the air and she slouched back into her beach chair, like a bratty pre-teen girl, convinced that the world was conspiring against her.
I stared at her and then I said with the most conviction I’ve ever mustered in my life, “It’s ridiculous!? Mom, you know what’s ridiculous? You act like the world revolves around me getting into an Ivy League! I couldn’t care less! And did u say ‘we’? I have my own life! Stop trying to live your life through mine. Just because you wanted to desperately go to Harvard when you were my age, it doesn’t mean I do too! I will go wherever the hell I end up. I’ll be fine!”

I felt like it was the first time I truly ever voiced what I had to say. I was a child learning how to speak. My Mom took off her sunglasses and stared at me with crazed eyes. At this point it was down pouring but none of us seemed to notice.

Without any verbal communication, the three of us packed up our things simultaneously.

“We’re still not done,” Said My Mom softly, almost like a whisper. I decided to hold my tongue. We walked towards the blue and silver van and it was still raining, but I could have sworn I saw a small patch of sun among the thick gray clouds.

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