September 27th, 2013

The Cadet: Part 1

“I’ve been thinking about applying to the Naval Academy,” she dropped that into the dinner table conversation like a stone into a calm pond.

“It would certainly be something to do with yourself,” her paternal grandfather agreed slowly, trying the idea on for size.

Her maternal grandmother was the first to follow him. “But we’ve only just got you home after years of thinking you were lost with your parents.”

“Couldn’t you do something closer, dear?” That was her paternal grandmother. “Perhaps a nice Arts degree?”

“I passed my high school equivalency exams,” Parthi replied glibly, “but that doesn’t mean I’ve matriculated. I have to do something and the Navy is a profession.” And, she added silently in her head, if I go away to the Academy we don’t have to discuss why living with my nearest living relatives isn’t really working out.

“That is true,” her maternal grandfather nodded approvingly. “You need to be able to support yourself – it’s good to see you’ve been thinking about that.”

“And if it turns out that being in the Navy isn’t your thing, Pallas,” added her paternal grandmother, using Parthi’s first and “proper” given name, as always, “perhaps being a Navy wife might be. Some of those cadets must get married!” She beamed at everyone around the table.

Parthi repressed a sigh and said prosaically, “Well, I won’t find out anything unless I sit the Board examinations. Apparently applications close in two days.”

“Well,” said her paternal grandfather, “you’d better get cracking, hadn’t you?”