If I close my eyes long enough, turn my head away, if I lay here long enough without moving, maybe everyone will just leave me alone for one friggin minute. Every time I move something, even just my hand to squat a fly away everyone becomes very aware that I moved. I can feel the sun burning my skin, it will hurt tonight, I’m glad, the pain will make me feel something, any thing. Pain reminds me I'm still alive. My skin burnt, my fingers sore from picking my nails down to core, even scratching a mosquito bite for long enough feels better. But nothing on the surface of my body helps the pain I feel inside. My heart aches. It is full of blame. It was all my fault and I don’t know how to make it stop.
I stay still. I listen to the waves lapping at the shore a few feet away from me. I feel a small breeze blow across my shoulders, down my back, tingling the back of my legs. It is a second of relief from the hot sun. I turn my head to see what my Dad and Mum are doing. Dad is reading a car magazine. He glances over to me and smiles. Funny how he knew I was looking at him. Mum is reading her I-pad. Without taking her eye off the screen she picks up a tropical looking drink with a little umbrella sticking out the top and sucks on the straw. She doesn’t check if I’m still here. My younger brother is busy playing a car game on his phone. His skinny arms flay around like he is in the drivers seat. Once that would of made me smile.
I look a few deck chairs over to another family who have just arrived. The mum is busy putting sunscreen on a curly haired little girl. The Dad is busy hanging towels on the backs of the chairs. I have had enough of the sun. I roll myself off the side of the pool and quietly plop in to the water silently, hopefully no-one knows I'm under the water. I hold my breathe to stay underwater as long as I can. My body instantly cools down. My long hair floats all around my face. I look up seeing the blue sky thru the crystal clear water covering my eyes, letting out some air I watch the bubbles rush towards the surface but I try to stay under. I particularly don’t want to be here, but honestly I don’t want to anywhere, so I suppose this is as good as any. I quietly poke my head back into the air, not looking around me I pull myself back up to where I was before. This time I lay on my back. I pull my t-shirt over my face to block out the sun. I don't mind burnt skin but can't handle a worst headache which I continually have these days. I can feel the trickles of water rolling down the side of my body, legs and arms. It tickles a little, I take a big breathe holding back a good emotion, it doesn't change the way I feel.
I lay still in this position. I would love to sleep here and never wake. I can hear the little girl giggling but their is not much splashing around. The minute it starts getting happy out here I’m going. A little while longer I hear a little puffing sound approaching me. I don’t move, not even turning my face sideways. The puffing gets louder. I can feel breathing at the side of my head.
“Scuse me, can I get pass pwease...Mum says I have to hang on to the side if I’m down the dweep end...and your wong hair is in my way” I hear. I turn my head looking sideways, very close to two big blue eyes smiling at me. I lift the shirt off my face, pick up my hair that actually was hanging off the edge and dangling in the pool and put it above me on the pavers that surround the pool. “Sorry” is all I say. I turn my head and look out over the lagoon. “Thanks” I hear in a boys voice. I want to turn and see who just said that but I just can’t. I am trying to avoid humans. I lay there listening to her huffing and puffing trying to keep hold of the edge of the pool. I can hear that deep voice chatting to her but can't quite make out what he is saying. I can feel the sun burning this side of my body now. Then I hear Dad talking to me, it is coming from the same spot as the little girl was slightly above my head.
“Want something to eat pumpkin? We are going to order food soon.” I sit up without acknowledging him. I swing my legs over the lagoon side of the pool so my back is to everyone sitting around the pool, including my dad. My wet hair falls down my back. Dad pulls his elbows up above the edge of the pool. “What do you fancy?” Dad asks me. “Just fruit will do” I answer like I usually do with just one sentence. I haven’t spoken more than one sentence to anyone for so long. Pfft he was lucky to get even those four words out of me. “You need to put some sunscreen on too” he says before he slips back into the water and swims over to the other side. I sit up straighter and pull the hair-tie off my wrist, twisting my hair up into a bun, I pick up my phone, which has earphones permanently attached to it, put the plugs in each ear, tuck my phone into the top of one of the triangles of my bikini top and get up.
I stand looking out at the lagoon. I watch a couple of people laughing at each other as they try to get their sailboards in the upright position. Another family are all giggling busily racing each other on paddle boats. I bend my neck either side, I twist my body a little then stretch my arms up above my head straightening my back. I listen to all the bones creaking and the muscles cracking. My back tends to seize up when I lie flat on it for too long nowadays. Maybe because of the accident, maybe because I keep so much emotion inside of me now it is all the nerves jumbled up inside there. I glance over to my right at a huge tree that I hadn’t noticed before. This spot will be in the shade of that tree soon. The trees roots reach out to the water. Some of it’s branches hang low. You can see water marks on the lower branches where the high tide submerges them. I look up at the higher branches thinking how it would be perfect for a rope swing. For just one second I thought of something that would make me happy. Something fun in my life. Something I would of enjoyed with him. Then I get sad.
I turn and walk with my head down, carefully watching the ground on the edge of the pool. I see the little girl clutching the side of the pool in the corner of my eye. “Hi” she says smiling up at me from the edge of the pool. I can see her looking up at me but didn't hear what she said. She must of known I didn't hear her because she lets go of the side unbalancing herself for a split second to try and wave her little hand. “Whoa” I can see her mouth exclaim as she's grabbing at the pools edge again. Not that worried she looks up at me and smiles. She has the most angelic face. She has lost her two front teeth so her smile is extra cute. I realise in that split second I had slightly bent down to grab for her. I stand back upright and smile at her. Then my eyes move to the head bobbing in the water behind her. I see dark shoulder length hair, blue eyes like the girls, olive skin and a big smile. “Sorry” he says lifting his mouth out of the water for a second. I don’t say anything I just keep walking. The tear that had held on tumbles down my cheek. I quickly wipe it away.
I can see the food being delivered to the table that is sitting in between my parents deck chairs. I hurry over leaning I pick up a piece of watermelon, one piece of pineapple and an apple. “Why don’t you sit with us?” my mum says. I could see her mouth moving but my earphones blocked out what she said. I pulled one out of my ear. “Come on Charlie, sit with us for a little while” Dad says as he swings his legs down to the ground so there is room on the end of his chair. I sit down and start eating. My brother eats a piece of watermelon and spits a seed out aiming for me, but it doesn’t get me. I just look at him. Mum laughs a little, then looks at me. I can see Sam taking another bite of his watermelon. Before he spits it again Dad stops him. “Charlie is no fun any more, she would of been having the best watermelon seed fight with me before” Sam says angrily. I pick up a few more pieces of fruit off the platter and go and sit back around the other side of the pool. The tree is shading me now, which I appreciate. The whole time I hadn’t been very aware of the other people sitting enjoying this tropical island.
I just didn’t want to be here. I didn’t care that this was my Dad’s annual holiday and he had paid for me to come. I felt out of place. His wife but not my mum was only about ten years older than me. I must admit I loved spending time with my little sister Macy, she was so much fun. She promised me she would learn to swim in the deep end of the pool while we are here but so far she wasn’t going to let go of the side no matter how much bribery I did. We had been here yesterday, and there had been a lot more kids splashing around so I think she lost her confidence. But today it was much quieter. Maybe most of the guest were out sightseeing. When we got here today there was only one body in the pool, right over the other side, and for a second I thought it was dead the way it stayed under for so long not moving. I was about to jump in until it climbed out. I took a breathe as I watched a curvy, olive skinned body sleek out of the water effortlessly and so quietly. Her long dark hair slipped down her back until it reached her perfectly shaped bum.
She laid on her back, and put her long hair to the side where it fell back in the water and floated around in the water. She was oblivious to anyone else here. She puts a t-shirt over her face. I could see small drops of water capturing the suns shine sitting on her body until they ran down the side of her body. I watch her chest taking a deep breathe then relaxing. “Come on Vinnie” Macy says pulling at me breaking me out of my trance. I get up and follow her into the shallow end. She looks like she is going to go for it until she feels the ground falling away from her feet. She turns to me with that failure look and goes to the side hanging on to the edge. “I wiw go down the deep end hanging on ok?” she says to me. “Ok sweet pea I will follow you” I say smiling at her. She is going to be pooped by the time she makes her way around this incredibly large pool.
I’m still standing, the pool isn’t that deep while Macy struggles to make her way around the edge. I haven’t been able to take my eyes of that body laying there. Macy stops and speaks. At first I don’t think the body is awake until I see her take the t-shirt off her face and pull her hair out of the water plonking it on the pavers above her head. She doesn’t put the shirt back over her face instead she turns her head and looks the other way over the lagoon. I thank her and continue on. We move a little further away. “Did she speak then?” I ask Macy. “Yes she said sorry, she's very pretty, I wike her wong hair, I want hair wike that when I grows up” Macy says struggling with the letter 'L' making me laugh.
We make our way around the pool. The deep end is over my head in depth, so I tread water waiting for Macy. When she gets around back to the shallow end she happily plays for a bit. I get out and go and sit with my Dad and Lana. “Maybe she will let go today” Lana says to me. “I don’t know why she won’t, she knows how to swim” Dad says. “Just takes time to let go sometimes” I say. “I remember not letting you take the training wheels off my bike for a while there, even thou they didn’t even touch the ground” I say as I smile at Dad. He smiles remembering. I watch a man dive into the water then emerge next the girl saying something. He then swims away. I watch her sit up. She looks like she is going to jump off the other side of the pool and I knew there wasn’t much the other side except the mud flats or shallow water depending on the tide.
I want to keep my eyes on Macy who keeps looking at me. But I can’t take my eyes of the girl. She stands up and stretches like her back is sore. This is when I see just how beautifully in proportion her body is. Then she turns slightly and checks out the large fig tree that is sitting between the lagoon and the pool area. Once again Macy snaps me out of my trance.
"Vinnie! Come on one mores time" she says standing dripping wet beside me. I pick her up and hurry her back to the pool for the next attempt at the perimeter of the pool. I secretly hope we cross paths with the girl again. Just as she is passing us Macy says ‘hi‘ to her, letting go for a second to wave. I can see her I-phone earplugs are in her ears, with the cord hanging around her neck. I try not to follow the white wire down to her neck leading straight to a very appealing cleavage. I can't miss it as I surge forward to help Macy and the girl bends down at the same time. But in the same second we both back off. I finally have eye contact with her and my heart skips a beat. Her eyes are the most amazing almond shaped exotic green eyes I've ever seen. But they look so sad, like they are welling with moisture. She hurriedly walks away and I see her hand wipe away the tear from her cheek. “Vinnie! Vinnie! wets go” Macy demands.
I continue on around the pool with Macy, glancing over to watch the girl sitting with her parents. I watch her brother annoying her, looks like he is spitting watermelon seeds at her, I laugh a little, then watch her get up and go and sit back by herself, then I feel bad. I pull Macy from the side of the pool much to her protest telling her I’m hungry. We go and sit with Dad and Lana and decide what we are going to order for lunch. I’m sitting on my own deck chair when a watermelon seed hits my leg. I look up and see a scrawny boy looking at me in shock.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to get you” he says smiling a little. “No worries little man, honest mistake” I say to him flicking the seed back at him. He laughs as it hits his chest. “Sam, that is rude” his mum say. “Vinnie don’t flick it back at him” Dad says to me. We all laugh. Dad gets up and stretches his hand out introducing himself to her parents. Lana and her mum start laughing at something Macy is doing. Then before long all the parents are busy chatting about what not. “Wanna come in the pool with me?” Sam asks Macy. “Onwy in the shawow end” Macy answers. “Ok” he says completely understanding her. He makes her hold his hand. I sit back and watch them, well it looks like I’m watching them but directly behind them is the thing I want to look at the most.
I close my eyes and listen to the chatter between the parents. “That is our daughter Charlie over there, she is at that unsociable age, seventeen” her mum says a little embarrassed. “I remember being that age, don’t worry about it, maybe you can join us for dinner tonight, she eats food still doesn’t she?” Lana says laughing. “Not much at the moment, but we make her stay at the table anyway” her mum says. “Tough love, best way” Lana says. I listen thinking about when I was seventeen which was about four years ago now. Dad use to let me get away with everything but Lana always threw her weight around, maybe she had helped me thru that era and I never knew it. By the time everyone had got to know each other pretty well the pool was in the shadow and a chill was in the air. We all packed up our gear and arranged to meet at six in the main restaurant. Macy and Sam had become firm friends. Due to eaves dropping I had learnt her name was Charlie. She hadn’t moved, talked, smiled, function in the slightest all afternoon.
Back in the unit Macy was excited about seeing Sam again. “Sam said he is gunna hewp me swim...Sam said we can go for a swim in the wagoon...Sam said there are no sharks in there...Sam said...” “Sam said not Simon says hey?” I say interrupting Macy’s continual chattering while she sits on my bed. She laughs at my joke. “Sam seems like fun...maybe he can get you to let go of the side of that pool...” I say to her as I start tickling her. She kicks out trying to get me to stop until Lana opens the door ‘lets go.’
I spend the rest of that afternoon in the shade of the tree listening to my music. I glanced over a couple of times. I could see Sam playing with the little girl in the shallow end of the pool. I could see that boy asleep on a deck chair. I could see the parents busily chatting to one and other. I laid back down on my stomach, I even fell into a light sleep for a little while until the chill in the air covers my body. "Charlie" my dad yells. I open my eyes. I could see them packing up. I gather my things, leaving my music in my ears. They all walk away together still talking. I walk behind with my head down like usual. They all part in the resort foyer. I follow. My mum pulls one of my earphones out of an ear. “We are meeting that family for dinner tonight Charlie, so go and get ready” is all my mum says to me as she goes into her room. I close my door. I go into the bathroom and remove my swimmers. I have three bright white triangles, two up top, one down below, I laugh a little at the sight. When I turn I have an even bigger one on my behind. My skin stings when I stand under the hot shower.
I pick out a floral halter neck dress so my shoulders are bare. I rub a strawberry body lotion into my skin. I know I liked feeling the pain but this is pretty serious pain. I put my hair up into a high ponytail, it is still nearly down to my bum even up. I put a little mascara on and a little lip gloss. My face is glowing with sun burn especially my nose. I wait in my room until I am told we are going. “You look beautiful tonight pumpkin” my Dad says using his usual nickname. “Thanks Dad” I say smiling a little to him. He has been the most patient, kind person I have ever met. I mean he shouldn’t be talking to me at all after what I have done to him. I have ruined his life. I can see it in his eyes sometimes. That is why I try not to be around him too long, it just reminds me.
We all head down to the restaurant. Dad pulls out my chair for me. Before I would of sat where I chose, pulling my own chair out. But I have no energy to fight them anymore. I’ve been doing this non-verbal thing for about a year now and I’m getting tired of it. Dad sits next to me and Sam the other side. I can hear a little girl’s voice yelling to Sam from the door. She suddenly appears climbing into the seat next to him. “Hi” she says looking at all of us at once. There is one big ‘Hi‘ said together. Dad gets up when they come over. “Glen, Lana, Vinnie and Macy this is Charlie...Charlie this is the Davies family” he says politely. I look up at them looking at the Dad first, then Lana, Vinnie very quickly then smile at Macy who is sitting up on her knees on the chair. Lana gestures her to sit down before she falls. “Nice to meet you Charlie” Lana says when she has finished sitting Macy down. “Vinnie can you sit here and control her please” she says smiling at him. He smiles back at her not saying anything.
I pick up a menu and start looking at it but have no idea what I am going to eat. Usually I just pick at an entree. “You can order something or just eat from the smorgasbord Charlie, that might suit you better” Dad says pointing over behind him. “I’m going to see what there is” I answer. “Can I come?” Macy asks me. “Sure” I say to her. “I’m coming too” Sam yells. Macy instantly picks up my hand. I look down at her smiling face. “I wuv your hair Charwie...how wong did it take to grow...do you think mine wiw be this wong one day” she says as she strokes the end of my ponytail near my bum. I giggle a little at her mispronunciation “if you just keep growing it, it will definitely be this long when you are my age” I answer surprising myself. I haven’t spoken that many words to anyone for so long. Sam is smiling next to Macy but not looking at me. When we get to the food all laid out Macy cannot see. “Want me to pick you up so you can see?” I ask her. She nods ‘yes‘ but I know she feels bad saying yes. “Here I will pick her up, she isn’t a light weight” I hear from behind me. I turn and without eye contact I answer “Ok.”
We all walk slowly checking out the food. “Let’s look at the dessert” Vinnie says swinging his head to us all. We follow him over to the dessert section. There is about a hundred different plates of neatly designed cakes all shapes and sizes. Macy and Sam ooh and aah pointing at which one they are going to eat. “Main food first you two, come on lets fill a plate” Vinnie says putting Macy down. I follow them back to the main food. Vinnie makes Macy hold her plate out, putting food on it he knows she will eat. He then helps Sam with his. They carefully walk back to the table with their plates. I’m still standing having no idea what to put on it. “There is salad over there...and soup...” he says pointing at area a little further away. “Thanks” I answer him turning towards that direction. He follows me. I stand and look. He is busy filling his plate with a caesar salad. I put a little bit of greek salad on mine then go and put a small piece of fish with it. He continues filling his plate while I go and put fruit on the side of mine. When we get back to the table Dad looks at my plate then at Vinnie’s. “Now that is the difference between boys and girls” he laughs. I just look at mine then at Vinnie’s. I look at him quickly, he is smiling at me.
The parents have ordered meals which get delivered so we all eat together. When us kids are finished we all go to the dessert bar. Once again I have about three different squares of sweetness on my plate. Vinnie has one of everything. Everyone at the table checks his out when he sits down. The waiter lets us know that there is a movie suitable for kids playing in the recreational room in about twenty minutes. Macy claps her hands. I don’t want to go but I can’t just leave rudely either. I relent knowing perfectly well what comes next. “Can you take us Charlie?” Sam begs me. “That will be great if you can pumpkin” Dad says as I look at him smirking at him calling me that. “I’ll go with you” Vinnie says. “Ok” is all I say. This is going to be two very long weeks, and this is only the first night.
We head off knowing exactly where to go, all we had to do was follow the noise. There is about twenty very active children all grabbling for the bean bags, setting themselves up in front of the big screen comfortably waiting. I head more towards the back suggesting Macy sits with me on the lounge. Sam agrees and Vinnie just follows. I sit down and Macy instantly climbs on to my lap. Sam sits next to me putting his hand on my leg. Vinnie sits next to Sam swinging his arm over the back of the lounge. The movie “Shrek” starts. Thank god I like this movie. Macy sits on my lap giggling right from the very first scene. Her giggling is contagious. I try not to smile but I just can’t help it. I look over at Sam who is giggling along. When I look at Vinnie he is looking at me smiling. “You should smile more often Charlie, your whole face lights up” he says to me. I can feel myself blushing. I turn back towards the screen, pulling Macy up a little so he can’t see my face anymore.
By the time the movie has finished Macy is fast asleep on me. Sam’s head is leaning against my arm. Nearly all the kids are asleep. I look around wondering how am I going to get out of here. Vinnie stands and stretches. I see his t-shirt rise up exposing the top of his low cut jeans sitting lower than his hips. I follow the 'V' line down further, gasping a little at the sight. He is looking down at me smirking. Shit I just got caught checking out the goods. I didn't mean it. I mean it was right there in front of me. I couldn't really miss it. Poop now I'm blushing.
"I'll pick Macy up, sorry if I touch you" he says as he leans down over me. His face comes very close to mine. I try not to look at him completely but my eyes run from his eyes down to his lips. "Like what you see Charlie" those lips say to me. I look back up at his eyes. I swear I can see straight into his soul and it is a very kind one. He is looking closely at me also. He doesn’t say anything else, just smiles. His hand slides over my body slightly as he gentle wraps his arm around Macy. I can hear his breathing, I can smell his cologne. I feel all tingly. I swallow down this feeling. I’m not allowed to feel good. I break eye contact with him just as he is lifting her. I sit on the edge of the lounge and coax Sam on to my back, it is going to kill me with this sunburn but he has been asleep and is all listless.
“Charlie you can’t...your sunburn will kill you” Vinnie says to me. “I like pain” I say to him a little seriously. He looks at me sadly while Sam grabs around my neck. We walk silently back via the restaurant which is now all closed up. “I have the key to our apartment...come with us and I will message Dad where we are, the kids can sleep then” Vinnie says to me. Oh man...I am going to need a drink if I am going to have to sit with him in a room waiting. Shame I’m never drinking again...like for the rest of my life.