She poured her daughter another glass of sangria, spooned out all the apples from her own glass to put into the younger girl’s, then told her to be sure to eat the fruit as well.

“Won’t the waitstaff come around and card me? I mean, I can’t look old enough to drink,” the girl’s eyes darted everywhere, looking for one of the seemingly ever-present waiters to come by.

“This boat is filled with 11-year-old Italian children smoking imported cigarettes, I doubt they care if one teenager is drinking a glass of wine with her mother during lunch.”

Paula, in recent years, had come to follow her daughter’s example and not give a shit what others were doing. If she felt that she wanted to do something, she did it; middle age wouldn’t stop her from going back for her PhD and it certainly wouldn’t stop her from lessening her daughter’s tonsillitis.

Of course they had taken an ill-advised cruise during Holy Week and she had forgotten to bring ibuprofen, so here she was plying her daughter with alcohol and fruit while she was living it up at the buffet. They had tried honeyed-lemon tea, but it had gotten nowhere. That girl was, after all, a child after her parents’ own hearts.

She looked out over the railing of the cruise ship knowing that her daughter hated how manufactured cruises were, but she really did love just being able to sit on a deck chair and do nothing for a week while getting all kinds of sun and having someone else take care of her youngest. And no matter how much her oldest protested the cruise itself, she never passed up Easter in Mexico.

Knocking back the last bit of the wine in her glass, her daughter stands, smoothing down her skirt, “I’m gonna go find that boy of yours. I think we are gonna go swimming up at the beach since we’re at port today.”

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