I smell like holiday.
There have been warm days but today is hot. We’re on the roof in our sun chairs.
I’m wearing the year’s first pair of shorts and am trying to get some colour on my spindly white legs. I open my eyes and the world is bleached out like a photograph taken in the seventies.
The floor of the roof is green and everything else is blue or white apart from K’s maroon bikini.
I let out the same rasp of panicked hopelessness I let out every week at about this time. She puts her magazine down and looks at me, silently. I make my noise again.
“What is it?”, she asks, knowing what it is.
“What can I post about this week? I haven’t a clue. Nothing. Why is it always like this?” I let my gaze fall to the floor and effect a posture that I hope encapsulates both artistic angst and profound ennui.
“Why don’t you do one”, she replies, pouring us both another glass of white and returning to her magazine, “about me, and how beautiful I am?”.
“Mm, because that wouldn’t…”
“And the things that I say?”, she continues. “I said that thing to you yesterday and you thought it was quite funny. Put that in.”
“But why would…”
“Only if you’re going to make me seem daft and vacuous make sure you tell them how many times a day I need to tell you to go fuck yourself”, she turns a page, eyeing up some handbags. “Make sure to include that. Tell them it’s a lot of times”.
It’s a lot of times. But she does say a lot of stuff. Like the time we were in the thunderous and smoky streets of Carnaval, surrounded by comic strip characters and Napoleonic footsoldiers with canons. She leant in, her lips almost brushing my ear.
“Animal prints are back in this season”, she yelled.
My first thought was Girlfriend, you need a girlfriend, but I just smiled and nodded.
Yesterday I went to the bedroom to discuss whether I would be putting any garlic in the tagine and I found K photographing a dress. I didn’t even need to formulate the question; my face must have done it for me.
“I’m categorizing my wardrobe”
Half an hour later as I was rooting through cd’s on the living room floor she emerged and stood triumphantly over me.
A dangerous moment. I searched everywhere. Hair? No, nothing different. I’d seen the top before, and the skirt, so it wasn’t those. Christ.
Ah, the sandals.
“These are back in”
“I see. They’ve been out, then?”
“Yes, but they’re back in. It’s all about tropicana this year. That and animal prints. And florals”. She fixed me with a cold stare. “Not to be mixed, of course”.
Not that she is to be written off as an amalgam of random girlishness. Oh no.
I recall watching a rom-com with her, all curled up on our couch about two weeks ago. Something must have happened in the movie; one of those cynical tear jerking moments. I’m a sucker for them and I turned toward K – my eyes filling up in silent appeal for a moment of our own.
“What the fuck is the matter with you?”, she managed to get out through a mouthful of laughter and crisps. “Are you hormonal or something?”…
I open my eyes again. K has disappeared beneath the wide brim of her floppy sun hat. It’ll be time for me to get the barbecue going in a little while. I check my legs out. Still white. Still spindly.
She sits up a little to sunblock her legs.
The love of my life lathering herself in lotion.
Better than telly.
In a moment she’ll ask me to do her back.
She’ll smell like holiday too.
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