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We were having supper and watching TV, my parents and I, when suddenly my mother said:
‘No, never in my lifetime.’ Her face was white like paper and she was gazing at the screen, motionless. It seemed the piece of chicken she was about to swallow got stuck in her throat. My father rushed to find the remote control but it was too late. Mum had seen a plane crash on the Discovery Channel and it was clear they wouldn’t go by plane to London.
When I learnt about this trip, I was surprised. I don’t remember them ever going on holiday. I mean – I remember them going on holiday with me – when I was five, when I was nine, when I was eleven. After that I protested and started going on camps with friends. When they had holidays they never went anywhere, but redecorated our flat. Or spent time in our summer house. But now they had to celebrate their twentieth anniversary and it was probably my Mum who finally managed to persuade my Dad that a trip abroad is the best they can do for their relationship. My father bought cheap Sky Europe ticket on the Internet, but when he showed my mum the printed information about the flight, she got completely hysteric. ‘I have never flown in a plane and I never will’, she shouted. Dad didn’t give in and after a week or so, he managed to convince her that this is safe. Now all his efforts were ruined. ‘Let’s go by coach’, she said. ‘This is cheap and convenient. How long does it take? Ten hours? Twelve?’ My father looked at her with pityful expression. ‘A day’ – he said. ‘Exactly twenty four hours’. ‘Ugh. That’s a lot!’. Now she didn’t seem so happy about the coach. ‘Well, we could take lots of books and read on the way. And talk.’ ‘I will lend you my MP3’ – I added, but now Mum seemed to be worried. ‘It means I would have to sit for 24 hours?’ ‘What would you like?’ – he became slightly angry. ‘This a coach and not the first class limo.’ She seemed to think about something.‘Why don’t we go by car?’ – she asked.

‘Because you can’t drive’ – my father reported. I could see he was angry now. ‘I’m not going to drive so many hours without break while you are sleeping at the back’. ‘Well, we could stay somewhere in a hotel, on the way to England, if you want.’, she said. He started to think. ‘Well, that will be more expensive, but perhaps it is a nice idea.’ ‘Yes, and we could take the car and go somewhere later’. She was really excited. My Dad protested. ‘Hey, don’t forget they drive on the right. I can’t do it.’ And he continued thinking aloud about his reshaped plans. ‘We set off early and spend a night in Germany, then we go to Calais…’ he turned to me and said ‘Olaf, please, check for me the prize of the ferry’ ‘What ferry!?’ Mum shouted. ‘What are you talking about’ ‘Mum’, I said. ‘Did you have Geography at school? You must go by ferry. England is an island.’ She was shocked. ‘No.’, she said. ‘A ferry can sink and what is going to happen with the kids’. She meant me, eighteen, and my older sister who graduated from university last year. ‘You know what happened with Estonia. And Titanic…’ ‘Titanic was not a ferry. It was a huge ship…’, I protested. ‘Yes, exactly.’ she said. ‘If such a huge ship could sink, a small ferry… they are sinking all the time, aren’t they? There is so much about it on television…’ ‘Because you watch programs about catastrophies on Discovery’, I said maliciously.

They had tickets for the following Saturday and hotel reservation, but, well, I was sure they wouldn’t go. I shrugged and went to my room and started doing my homework. I could only hear their angry voices. My father was laughing and suggested that my Mum should probably walk on water. She accused him of being cruel.

Then the next weekend came. They hadn’t exchanged a word during the week. I woke up in the morning and went to the kitchen to drink some water. There was a notice on the table: ‘I went fishing. I will be back in the evening. Dad. ‘ My Mum had just woken up and was struggling to switch on the coffee machine. ‘Hello, honey’ she said to me. ‘Look.’ I showed her the piece of paper. ‘Dad went fishing’. ‘What!!!!’ she shouted. ‘But our plane!!!’ ‘You said you were not going, so…’ ‘I changed my mind’, she shouted. And finally they went on their first trip, although she kept her eyes closed all the time. Next year they are flying to Spain and they are taking their new bikes with them. They are going to cycle there!

Improve your vocabulary!

gaze – wpatrywać się, gapić się
motionless – bez ruchu
got stuck – utknęła
rush – spieszyć się, pędzić
persuade – przekonać
convince – przekonywać
ferry – prom
sink – zatonąć
maliciously – złośliwie
graduate from university – ukończyć uniwersytet
exchange – wymienić
fishing – łowienie ryb
island – wyspa