Aha. OK. I get it. I understand the reason why things have hit a recent trough on Quest. I mean, besides feeling a bit homesick, adapting to a new and rather laborious school routine, Quest waiting to go back into the water and Jack breaking his tooth and having it drilled out of his mouth. Like all of that wouldn’t have been enough.
Nope, there’s another reason. And this is it: the shit still hasn’t been cleared out of the air since the last time we were on Quest.
What went down, you ask? Well, it was the very reason why most people don’t live on a boat together.
‘Can you blame me?’ Lulu said. We were sitting together in the saloon. Jack was crashed out in his cabin and Delph was in hers watching Netflix. Lu and I were talking about regrets – what we wished we’d done differently last time on Quest.
‘I haven’t changed,’ Lulu said, ‘I’m still that 12-year-old kid. Remember the one? The one who got told loads of times that if our trip on Quest fell apart, it would be my fault.’ Her gaze shifted down.
My eyes got big. I did remember. I remembered the chaos. Jack’s dad had just died. He’d been a massive stabilising force in our lives. We’d sailed to the Caribbean when our business suddenly needed to be re-structured. Instead of going home, Jack had organised the re-structure from the Caribbean. It was intense. We were in new place and floating out of our depth. And on top of it, Lulu wasn’t happy. She wanted to go home.
I can see now, that because of these difficulties, she became the focus for our wrath. She was so difficult to live with. Up and down like a dragonfly. You never knew when she’d have a meltdown. She didn’t smooth things over like children sometimes do. Not how I’d tried to with my parents and Jack had tried with his. We’d been the peacemaker kids. Delph’s the peacemaker kid. Not Lu. She was both defiant and critical of us. A brat basically. But she our brat – and we never stopped to see things from her point of view.
Well, we’re seeing it now. I’m learning at breakneck speed. I’m learning you can’t be mad with each other while living on a boat. It doesn’t work… and it doesn’t have to work.
About half-an-hour later, I knocked on Lulu’s door.
She was lying in bed, the fan whirring. ‘I’m so sorry,’ I said, ‘I’m sorry I made you feel responsible for the difficulties we were having at the time.’
She grunted a teenage grunt. ‘It’s ok.’
I smoothed down her bedsheet. I wished that was all. The truth was, I was guilty of an even worse crime. I took a breath. ‘I used to get so frustrated with the way you felt and that wasn’t right of me. I didn’t give you the freedom to feel the way you wanted to feel. I’m sorry, Lu. I didn’t understand it then. But I understand it now – and I promise it won’t happen again.’
Another grunt. Softer though. ‘Well, now you can understand why I’m a depressed teenager.’
I nodded and felt myself smile. ‘Yep. I can understand.’