The Sequence of Kai
No response. I can see the top of her head peering over the couch, so it’s not that she’s not there or that she can’t hear me. She’s just sulking because I didn’t come over yesterday.
“Anything to do?”
“Will I go ask Paul for something? I’m sure he can find something worth doing.”
As I’m about to turn around and do that, Trish stands up and marches over to me, grabs me by the wrist and drags me towards the door.
I’m taken aback. I know Trish can be assertive, but she never is with me. The silent sulk is her go-to when I’ve done something to piss her off.
“You’re coming with me.”
She won’t answer me, she doesn’t even look me in the eye. She just keeps a firm hold of my wrist as she barges out the door.
It’s an awkward walk to Marina Square.
I wish she’d just told me where we were going but she said she was worried I’d say it wasn’t important. That’s why she didn’t let go of my wrist the entire way there. It didn’t make the stares and giggles retroactively more comfortable though.
She still hasn’t told me what we’re doing at the Marina yet, but she did at least let go of my wrist when I promised to not leave if she did.
“Here we go.”
She stops us in front of a shop that sells all sorts of things for ocean-related activities. The important products for Trish, I assume, are the wide range of swimsuits they have displayed in the store windows.
“You brought me with you to buy a bikini?”
“Does your old one not fit?”
“Of course it does! I just want a new one.”
She walks in the entrance but stops when she notices I’m not following her.
Trish grabs me by the wrist again, sensing my apprehension at the thought of entering a store like this.
As soon as we reach the swimsuit section, I slip my hand free. She looks a bit annoyed but quickly turns her attention to sifting through the swimsuits.
“Ooh, this one is cute.”
She picks one off the rack and holds it against her body before draping it over her arm. Immediately she’s back to searching through the offerings.
I keep scanning the shop with flicks of my eyes. I’d hate to see someone I knew here, I’m sure a few of the invitees have had the same idea as Trish.
“Kai? Are you listening?”
I snap back to Trish’s bent over form; she has 4 bikinis over her arm now.
“No, I zoned out.”
What’s with her today? She knows I do that; she’s never gotten annoyed before.
“I’m listening now, what was it?”
“I asked if you had anything to say to me.”
She’s not turning around to face me but her back has clenched up slightly. She’s angry for some reason.
“Nothing in particular.”
“I don’t know.”
“Then why are you asking?”
Trish sighs as she picks another swimsuit off the rack. She turns around and grabs my wrist again with her free hand, bringing me over to the changing rooms.
“Wait out here, I’m going to get changed.”
She parks me outside one of the booths and leaves her stuff with me, apparently, I’m needed for a second opinion.
Every couple of minutes the curtains are drawn back, and Trish appears modelling one of the swimsuits.
A sleek black one, a white one with frills, one that’s a striking red, one that’s a subtle pink. In truth she looks good in all of them, if there were any boyfriends in here right now, I’m sure I’d be seeing jealous girlfriends. Not that I can say that to her, she doesn’t need more people stroking her ego.
I cut to the chase when she asks which one suits her best.
“The last one.”
“The turquoise and green one?”
“It’s colourful. It suits you more than the rest of them.”
“OK, turquoise it is. That was my favourite one too. I’m gonna change, I’ll meet you outside to pay”
She closes the curtain over and begins changing back into her clothes. I head back into the shop proper.
I find myself standing in the swimsuit section. I don’t want to think about it but I am. Even if I wanted to go to Trish’s party, which I don’t, I don’t have a bikini that fits me. I haven’t worn one since I was 16 and I’ve grown a bit since then.
I’m not like Trish, I can’t just wear anything and have it look good on me. I used to wear a plain white two-piece but now my hair is white too, it’d be too much. Black clashes with me. I’ve never looked good in blue. My mother’s favourite colour was green. Pink is too girly for my body. Yellow is an ugly colour. Red…..
Maybe I wouldn’t look good in red but red suits me.
“You like the look of that one?”
The instant I hear her voice I let the red swimsuit I was holding fall back into place on the rack.
“You ready to go?”
“I just need to pay for this.
She says that but she doesn’t move towards the tills. She’s angling for something.
“Do you want to try that on? We can pay together if you get it.”
“I was just looking at it, I thought it might suit you.”
“Red? That’s more your colour.”
“I’ll be outside whenever you’re done.”
I don’t want to hear her protests, so I walk quickly through the aisles and out of the shop.
She found me outside a little while later with a paper bag on her arm.
“There you are.”
She has a soft smile on her, the one that she puts on when she wants to be angry but can’t.
“Want me to carry something?”
“No, it’s fine.”
By the time we start walking back to Paul’s the sun is beginning to set. I arrived over later than I normally do so we went out pretty late.
The shop was waiting for Trish to finish so they could close up, it’s a good thing they stay open late on Friday. Seems odd to have left it so late if she wanted a new one but things like that slip her mind all the time.
“This is my turn, if anything comes up you can call me.”
My turn was at the marina, not the turn just before her house, I think we both know that.
She wants to say something to me. I’d like to apologize for what I said to her. She’s not shy about saying things, I’m not good at apologizing but I’m not above it either. Neither will happen this time anyway, neither of us will say what we want.
If I apologize, she’ll ask if that means I’m coming to the party, which I won’t. What she wants to say is the same thing but without an apology, she’s not going to expect a different answer.
“I’ll see you on Sunday.”
“See you Sunday.”