"Annalies!" my brother Josh called. He was two years younger but acted like he was the boss.
"I'm almost ready!" I yelled back, quickly yanking the brush through my long white-blonde hair.
We were going for a dive, the first one this year. Josh always liked to head out early to avoid the never-ending surplus of clueless tourists. I was excited beyond belief. Diving was my passion - I lived and breathed the dive. I had been diving for as long as I could remember. It was my dad who got Josh and me into the whole thing. He was diagnosed with cancer a year ago so he couldn't come with us on anymore dives. But we took countless pictures to make up for it.
Diving was my way to escape, to get away from everything that was going on with Dad. Just feeling the cool water surround me was enough to make all the pain wash away with the waves. When things were almost unbearable, I snuck out at night to go for a swim.
I tugged myself out of my train of thought only to find tears pooling up in the corners of my dark blue eyes. "Don't think about that stuff," I muttered to myself.
Josh was on the brink of a total melt down when I finally exited the bathroom. "It's about time, " he growled, eying me.
I grinned at him. I loved toying with his frustration. "Well, " I said in a sing-songy voice, " I haven't put on any make up yet....."
He just rolled his eyes.
Slowly, I made my way to the kitchen with Josh as my shadow. You would think that at 15 he wouldn't do that. But he does - only because he has the hots for my best friend and fellow diver, Sadie. I guess its just become habit.
As I opened the fridge, Mom emerged from her room. Her sleek brown hair was styled to perfection in a high bun. She barely looked at Josh and me. "Yes, Curtis...... yes, I know that....... Alright, five o'clock then," Mom said all business like. She reached up to her ear - turning off the call from her blue tooth, I guessed.
"Morning, Mom," I said with as much cheer and love as I could muster.
She barely looked up at me. "Morning," she echoed back, almost silently as if I wasn't worth her time. She moved brusquely into the living room.
Having turned my attention away from food, I focused on Mom. She was perched on the couch, clad full out in her gray business clothes, already turning on her Mac. Diving was my escape; work was hers. I guess her business was something she could control. Mom tried to support us, a facade of "Everything's just fine" plastered on her face, but I knew inside she was dying.
"Mom," I said in a hushed tone, fearing that she was on the phone again. I had wandered to the living room as well. She wasn't on the phone, so I repeated myself, more loudly this time. She gave me a quick smile in return, only ceasing to type for a split second, then beginning again.
I looked at Josh for support, but he was busy rummaging through the fridge. Of course.
I plopped down on the couch next to her. Sighting pointedly, I continued, "Me and Josh are going to go for a dive. But we'll be back by tonight so don't worry." My mom was also the type of person who needed to know every detail about everything. If she didn't have all the information she needed, she usually went berserk.
This made her look up. "Your father loves diving," she said softly, then began, yet again to type at a furious pace.
I smiled, remembering treasured memories of diving with Dad. "I know," I replied.
"Well, have fun and be safe, " she said dismissively, halting her work to give me a quick peck on the cheek, indicating that the conversation - to her - was over.
I felt something small hit the back of my head. I turned around, the death glare painted on my face.
"What?" I mouthed.
"Let's. Go, " Josh whisper-yelled. He held up two plastic bags that had our food for the rest of the day in it.
I nodded, annoyed. "We will, " I said curtly. I stood up quickly and left, not even telling my mom I loved her.
On the way to the reef, Josh and I blared the music. Our tunes caused countless tourists and locals alike to yell and honk at us. This, of course, only fueled our laughter and the sense of a good time.
"Sooooo, " Josh mumbled as I pulled the car into what seemed like the only vacant spot along the beach. " Is Sadie coming?"
I had just recovered form my latest laughing attack, what did he want me to do, pee in my pants?