My husband and I were basking poolside at our hotel last weekend. The chaise lounge chairs were lined up in tight rows. There was no room to squeeze in between. The only approach was either crawling up from the foot of the chair or crawling down from the head of the chair.
After the standard sunbathing preparation ritual – suntan lotion, book, sunglasses, hat, bottled water – we leaned back and settled in. I took a little more time to fluff out the skirt on my bathing suit bottom, pulling the edges wide enough to cover the most obtrusive parts of my upper thighs.
Me: (looking at my partially covered thighs) There, that’s not so bad.
A younger couple approaches. Skinny Girl is maybe 25, tops. Hungry Wolf is older, maybe 33. But who knows these days. She is pretty with brunette hair down to her waist. She takes off her wrap to reveal a sparse bikini with blue and green swirls. They make me dizzy. She walks in between the chairs (how’d she do that?) and sits in the one directly to my left.
Me: (I discreetly pull the edges of my skirt out a little farther) Really? Of all the available chairs and you have to sit here! – I want to be her.
Hungry Wolf takes the chair next to Skinny Girl.
Skinny Girl: (hands him a bottle of lotion) Put this on my back.
Hungry Wolf does what he is told, of course. They too settle back and expose their younger bodies to the sun. Hungry Wolf runs his fingers softly over the fine hairs on her forearm. I turn my book to page 162, where I left off, and pretend I’m reading. I’ve got good peripheral vision.
Hungry Wolf: Does that tickle? (hopeful smile)
Skinny Girl: (giggles) Yes.
She rolls over to his chair. The fronts of their bodies fit together like stackable measuring spoons. She’s one half to his full teaspoon. They kiss.
Me: I want to be her.
I roll over to my husband. He turns to welcome me. Our bellies kiss before our lips touch. It’s a short-lived effort. I roll over onto my back again and return to page 162.
Hungry Wolf: Want to walk on the beach tonight when it gets dark?
Skinny Girl: Maybe. (sits up to reapply lotion, there are no folds in her stomach)
Me: I want to be her.
Hungry Wolf: Do you have brothers and sisters?
Me: He doesn’t know? Oho. A first date and a hotel room. Ahhh, youth.
Skinny Girl: I have two older brothers. When our mother left, they did too. They moved to Texas with my father. I haven’t talked to them since.
I place my finger at the midpoint of page 162. I think it looks like I’m really into my reading this way.
Hungry Wolf: Would you like to see them again?
Skinny Girl: I have no idea where to look. They’re in Dallas. That’s all I know. I don’t want to talk about that right now.
Me: Good girl.
Hungry Wolf: I’ll take you there. I have a good friend in the Dallas Police Department.
Me: Sure you do. I can almost see him sneering as he twists the corner of his black, pointed mustache.
Skinny Girl: I don’t know.
Hungry Wolf: He can help us find them. Do you want me to take you there?
Me: No. I’ve seen that place in “Dallas” before.
Skinny Girl: (impressed) Okay, I guess. That’s so sweet of you.
Me: (turning to page 163) I’m glad I’m not her.