It’s summertime now. Next year, Lexi starts high school.
Each year has been like a wave; they’ve come in gently and receded with deliberation, gradually giving way to the next one.
It was early afternoon, and her mother was looking at baby photos, remembering with fondness what her daughter’s smile looked like before she had teeth. Her father was absentmindedly reading an NBA playoff summary, all the while hearing echoes of what his daughter’s laugh had sounded like before her voice changed.
Lexi’s birthday had been the previous day; plastic plates with bits of cake stuck to them were overflowing from the kitchen trash can. She herself was still in bed, a place she would occupy for roughly 20 more minutes.
The birthday party had been a simple affair: her mom and dad, cousin Derek, and her four best friends from school. The singing of Happy Birthday and present opening involved everybody; after that, she and her friends went waterskiing on Derek’s boat, which had been a blast. She’d never been able to slalom before, and it was pure joy dropping a ski and negotiating the waves on just one.
When they finished skiing, it was almost eight o’clock. The boat pulled up to the smell of her dad’s grilled shrimp. They ate dinner with the gusto that only fourteen-year-olds have, including multiple slices of cake ; her friend’s parents had then picked them up around ten, and she was asleep not too long after, as she was completely exhausted.
But now, it was 12:32 in the afternoon, and bright light was streaming in her bedroom window. Today was also a big day, as she was starting her first real job that evening.
Lexi also smelled coffee, the presence of which always made getting up so much easier.
Lexi’s mother placed a cup in front of her as she sat down at the kitchen table. Her father touched her lightly on the shoulder and kissed her hair as she squeezed his hand back.
“Are you leaving already?” she asked.
“Yes. You have been asleep for awhile,” he said, with a smile in his voice.
“I have to be there at 5:30. I don’t want to be late my first day.”
“You won’t be, I promise.” He then left the room.
“What are you going to wear?” her mother asked.
“The long skirt we talked about. I mean, I’m hostessing, so I just need to smile, and greet people, and assign tables. I don’t have to pick up dishes or anything.”
“That will look great. I was really proud of you yesterday, watching you ski,” her mother added, changing the subject. “It’s hard to believe fourteen years have gone by.”
Lexi had leaned back in her chair, feeling the sun coming through the window as she sipped her coffee. “Waterskiing is so much fun. Seriously.”
“What do you plan to do today?”
“Oh, not a lot before work. I told Anna I’d call her; she wants to get an early start on discussing our summer reading. UGH. But you know Anna, she’s very enthusiastic. I told her my books hadn’t come in yet.”
“They have, though,” her mom said. “They came the day before yesterday, I forgot to tell you.”
Lexi laughed. “Fine, then. How many are there again?”
“Braille or audio?”
“Three of each.”
“Give me the longest of the audiobooks first, those take will take the most time,” Lucy sighed thoughtfully, after pausing to listen to the slow sound of the waves through the open window.