Sally stepped into her apartment, leaned her bike against the wall and dumped her backpack onto the floor. ‘Mum, Dad, Sis and your latest boyfriend, and Mr Jamieson my school principal, and… who are you?’
‘The lady at the local milk bar.’
‘Thought you looked familiar. Why are you all sitting in my living room?’
‘Good question.’ The little old lady looked to those seated in fold-up chairs.
‘We’re here to talk to you,’ said Mr Jamieson.
‘Will this take long? I need to download these photos from my mountain bike ride to create content to meet my deadline. Then I’ve got to get ready for my date with this amazing guy I met falling off a mountain-–literally. He’s my new para-gliding instructor. I’m teaching him to surf, which he wants to incorporate in his next jump, and I’ve agreed to –’
Mum, placed her palms on Sally’s shoulders and guided her to the spare camping seat, then scooped up her large wine glass. ‘Honey, how long have you lived here?’
‘Don’t you have furniture? We had to bring our own chairs.’
‘Cannibalism, you say?’ Called out the little old lady.
‘Baby sister, we’re worried about you.’
‘Why bring your boyfriend. Who are you?’
‘I’m Rick, remember?’
Sally twisted her mouth to the side. ‘The creative entrepreneur?’
‘Where did we meet?’
‘At the milk bar.’
‘Oh, that’s me.’ The little old woman waved a frail hand in the air. ‘You’re the sales thing-a-me-jobby for insurance.’
‘Now I know why I don’t remember. Why are you all here in my apartment?’
‘Honey, this is an intervention,’ announced Mum.
‘But I don’t drink, don’t smoke–’
Mum poured the last of the wine bottle into her glass. ‘Honey, we’re here because you’re having fun, running out the door, chasing your next adventure.’
‘You should be like everyone else,’ Sis said. ‘Trapped in the 9-5 world of rooms and partitioned office cubicles. You should be spending your day staring at shiny screens under fluorescent bulbs while hiding from fresh air and natural light, where you need to be told what time to eat, and learn of peak hour traffic stresses, and –’
‘Be like us, honey,’ said Mum, nudging her husband.
‘It’s tradition,’ Dad mumbled with a deep sad shoulder sagging sigh, staring at his hands in his lap.
‘Honey, you don’t need to trip around meeting new people because young Ricky, here,’ as Mum patted his shoulder, ‘can get you in at his work.’
‘It’s where you’ll be strapped to the one spot for eight hours,’ Sis said. ‘Speaking to lots of upset people over the phone discussing their poor lifestyle choices at the insurance company–it’ll make you feel good.’
‘We’re only doing this for your own good, honey. Being an adult isn’t meant to be fun, and it’s time you grew up.’