David paused. James had just asked him if he wanted to go fishing Saturday afternoon, a regular thing they’d been doing for a few years. David realized he was going to have to tell James at one point or another that he had found a new girl. He’d known James since they kept tadpoles as pets. Since their mothers arranged birthdays for all the neighbourhood kids and the present of their dreams was a caterpillar tracked remote controlled car rumoured to be capable of 80km/h. They had played under 12, then under 16, then senior cricket for their hometown together, David batting 5th and a fairly average fielder, James a wicketkeeper who batted third, on after the first wicket. They had fought over a simultaneous crush as 10 year olds, their friendship untouched only because both were rejected. Fishing was the salve of their souls, the centre of the week even though it was on a weekend. It didn’t need to be a huge adventure, it just needed to be a simple short boat trip followed by a lot of drifting on the water. The occasional shout across to another bunch of mates doing the same thing. The occasional whir of line chasing a fooled fish. The occasional shark stealing the catch, uncaring at their curses.
“Yeah see you 4 o’clock”, he said.
Simin flipped through her book with a sigh. She usually loved Gabriel García Márquez but Chronicles of a Death Foretold was just a bit too violent at the end. What was with the depressing, desperate string of love letters mentioned then too, she thought. Nothing in the story beforehand really supported such a display of devotion. Simin had grown up in Shiraz, Iran and moved to Australia last year. No one knew about Iran here, except that they were trying to bomb Israel. And that her hometown has the same name as a wine grape, something they all thought rather funny because Muslims can’t drink.
She and David had met, of all places, in a drive in cinema. She had learnt that these were very popular when researching Western culture before emigrating but on arriving found that they were very rare now. He was the manager of Salisbury Heights Drive In and handed over her and her friends’ tickets to the first Hunger Games movie. He had paused giving them to her, like a lot of Western men tended to briefly halt their activities when she was close, a look of curiosity flashing across his face. “If you wait 5 minutes, can I show you something?”, he ventured, playfully withholding the tickets. She noticed his broad hands. He was wearing Old Spice, a quaint choice. His intent was completely clear but, somehow to her on that night, probably because she’d never been propositioned so hilariously straightforwardly and also because she found herself sinking involuntarily into his green eyes, this one seemed less than half obnoxious. Explaining to her friends soon after they’d found a place to park in front of the screen that she needed to find the bathroom, she made her way back to the ticket office, where they watched the movie for a few moments from the projection room, which comically enough had a poster of Ingleurious Basterds on the wall.
She got up off the couch and unplugged her phone from the charger, wondering what David was up to.
“Simin,” muttered her father from the other side of the living room. She turned her phone so it wasn’t visible from his direction. “Mmm?” she asked, on Whatsapp with David at the same time seeing what he was up to tomorrow. “You seem different lately azizam” he went on, this time lowering the paper so she could see his face. This also meant he could see her attending to her beloved smartphone. “If it’s another one of those disgusting, beer swilling, foul mouthed Aussie blokes with one of those loud cars you know what I’m going to say.” Simin rolled her eyes and went on typing to David. “But daddy, I love him!” she cynically retorted, walking into the kitchen to fix some coffee.