Ronnie scowled at her blueberry pancakes. "I don’t see why Jim can’t come over."
Her parents exchanged a look. Her dad arched an eyebrow, and her mom shook her head. Ronnie sighed, knowing the answer, even before Dad turned to her. "It’s family day, Ronnie," he said. "It’s a day for just the three of us. You can see Jim every other day of the week."
Ronnie sighed and poked at her breakfast. She’d wanted to see Jim’s reaction to her mom’s pancakes. He told her that he’d never seen green pancakes before. It would be so strange to live on Earth, where flour was white. It’d make the food look so boring.
"I guess it’s okay," she said finally. "His parents probably want to spend time with him, too."
Her parents exchanged another look, then her mom clapped her hands together. "Let’s get this table cleared away, and then we can get suited up and head out."
"Can I take Jim outside the dome sometime, Dad? Not on a family day?"
"Sure, pumpkin," Dad said. "As long as his parents don’t mind."
"His parents won’t mind." Ronnie felt wistful envy of Jim’s lack of supervision. He said that his parents didn’t care what he did, as long as it didn’t make them look bad. Her parents wanted to know where she was every minute of every day.
"I’m sure they won’t," Mom said. She used the tone she normally reserved for Earth politicians during funding cuts. She dumped a load of plates in the sink. "Come on. Let’s go hiking."
Dad helped Ronnie into her suit. She didn’t need his help, but he would insist on double checking if she did it on her own, and that’d take twice as long. She wanted to get outside.
The tan sky stretched overhead, and the red dirt crunched beneath her boots. Her own breath was loud in her ears. Her mom took her left hand, and her dad took her right, and they went hiking. They liked the winding path that went up the Cliffside behind the dome. They’d get to the top and look down on it. Ronnie’s dad said that it helped to put their world in perspective.
After their hike, Ronnie and Dad made dinner. It was the only meal of the week that Mom didn’t have to think about. They usually burnt it, but Ronnie thought that they were getting better.
Then they played scrabble. She couldn’t wait till tomorrow, when she could tell Jim all about it.