Chris is the only woman who works in the Radar Room. While her parents seek her a suitable marriage, Chris looks for an escape. One suitable suitor later, and Chris wonders if the freedom she dreams of may be within reach. SY
I love the Radar Room; I can be alone here. Away from my parents’ constant needling, away from the glares and the whispers behind my back; away from the oppression of doing what is expected. In the Radar Room I am free to be myself.
They only let me work the night shifts because I am not supposed to be here. They can pretend I am not here, cover the shame of a girl doing a man’s job. I pretend there is nothing else, just me and the Radar Room. No expectations, no need for propriety, no pressure to marry.
Just the job and me. The radar is my window to the world outside.
My shift ends when Mr Grumpy arrives.
‘Quiet night, Christine?’
Christine is his label for me; I am just a silly girl in his eyes. I have a label for him, he is Mr Grumpy, but I keep it to myself.
‘Yes.’ I look towards him. ‘Henry, can you please call me Chris?’
‘No girl, I won’t be doing that. It not be a proper name for a girl. It’s bad enough that you’re doing a man’s job, instead of getting yourself married.’
I stare at the radar screen, pretending to check it is clear so I do not have to look into his judgmental eyes. ‘I am not ready to be married.’