by Restina Pembroke
Sara hated these days; Derek's moods, everyone expectant, on edge, the smallest things creating the largest reaction.
The air itself - tainted. The car journey; prolonged in silence.
"Did you see that?" Derek pointed.
"Jumped the lights. Wanker. If I did that I'd get nicked!"
Sara knew this was the build up.
"Will the water be warm?" Asked young Charlotte, her sister Isabelle remained mute.
"I’m driving on a Sunday after driving all bloody week. You’re gonna swim, warm or not!"
This was how it started; grumbling about the world, idiots, the 'great unwashed' (as Derek called them) - then work. The extent of his week's frustrations aimed unashamedly at the kids.
Sara couldn't bear this part – father or not.
Having agreed his fatherly duty - swimming it would be - no deviation. Stubbornness or pride?
Pride? Sara doubted he was capable.
"Rain," placated Sara.
"So what? It’s an outdoor pool!" Sneered Derek - smothering all in a cloud of antipathy. "Christ, you’re stupid."
The girls dipped their heads, mutually dissolving into their seats.
Sara's teeth felt they might retract under the pressure; her jaw muscles beginning to ache.
"You've got your keys and mobile. Ring me when it’s over. You can watch, play happy families! I'll be in the café filling paperwork. Shove their towels in the boot - chlorine makes me heave."
It wasn't chlorine that made Sara sick.
Sara would ring him alright - when they were all safely in the car and happily half-way home.