Ah the beach. 'What would it be like to live here and be able to come to the beach every day if I wanted to?' This was my self-imposed question yesterday while lying on the sand hoping to dim the brightness of my skin.
While the spud threw pebbles at me I spent some time covertly eying up the beach populace and trying to work out who were the locals and who the visitors. Some were easy. Anyone pale was probably visiting. Anybody very dark was probably a local. The rest were harder to fathom.
One however stood out above and beyond the others. If she hadn't been sitting within 5 feet of me I may have missed her. Might not have been a bad move.
She looked as though in another life she is possibly someone's Grandmother and she mightn't even have stood out if she hadn't been naked and chain-smoking.
It was the scent of tobacco smoke that drew my eyes and then, to my shame, I could barely tear them away as she turned around to fetch her bikini out of her bag and her right nipple dipped itself... those with weaker stomachs may need to turn away... dipped itself, I tell you, into her belly button. Right in. It snagged for a moment and then she turned back and it bobbed out. It was at this point in what must only have been a two or three-second glance, that I realised her skin was the texture of an old handbag - leathery and cracked and rippled with sun damage.
I feigned interest in my offspring while thinking queasily 'This would be me if I spent every day on the beach for the next fifteen years'. And smoked.
A few moments later she walked past my toes, bikini-clad and without a cigarette, entirely un-remarkable amongst the other women on the beach. She stood for a long time facing the sea, her back and legs baking themselves even browner. She seemed happy.
I was just happy that her bikini had underwiring.
The spud was just happy to be by the sea.