annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Day 146

Thursday writing group was good. First we had to make a quick list of objects then pick one we could hold in our hand to write about. My mind went blank but Daughter was sorting out the camping gear so my choices were big and visible - camp bed, keyboard, that kind of thing. Just one small (ish) one - as always these are written at speed and copied as written:

My bikini is big. I'm a big woman: I need a big bikini. The bottom is too high really - they only seem to come in high waist or thong, both very unflattering for the older, fatter woman. This was the only medium-ish one I found. It's black and white with a leafy pattern - quite a modern style. The top is underwired, halter neck, most uncomfortable but all I could find to achieve my recent ambition of having a brown belly. Fat and brown is always a better look than fat and that deathly white of skin that hasn't been allowed out since the turn of the century. I have worn it for every sea swim since it arrived through the post and it does kind of fit. I knew the bottoms needed to be size 20 but now you have to buy separate tops in inches and cup sizes. I can tell I'm not the 38C I was for most of my adult life, but how big am I? I was too tired to look for a tape measure on the night I went mad and bought a bikini so I guessed. 44D. It's a bit small, but we manage.

Then we had to make a quick list of places and write about one that seemed promising in some way.
El Tocuyo is a small town of single storey buildings at the beginning of the foothills of the Andes. My pal M married a Venezuelan and went to live with his family there. A good onion crop in 1980 led to them sending me a ticket. It was dusty - that came first, and hot, humid heat, and bright, you had to squint. The roads were unmade, all pot holes and lumps and dead dogs. I'd never seen a dead dog before then and I saw one every 100 yards or so. Animals wandered the streets, pigs and goats, mooching about looking for food, then at dusk they all marched purposefully to their various homes. The people were all brown skinned with black hair and stared open-mouthed at my blondeness. Some assumed I was from the US and spat on the ground near me, hissing, "Gringa!"

Finally we had to have two people moving through the space just described, with dialogue and involving the object in some way. Real or fictional characters. I chose to use the protagonist of the novel I wrote in 1994 and a person a bit like my ex-husband had been once.
Bella was hot and grumpy. This place was a shithole. Why had her dad, Pedro, dragged her here? They'd stopped briefly to meet his mother, her granny, or abuela, who'd fawned all over him but barely given her half a glance. Now they were walking again, in this terrible heat.

"Come on, my darling daughter, just a few more corners and we'll be there, at José's house and you can rest. Your uncle, your tio José!"

He was excited, his eyes darting about. Home at last, after twenty years in England. He took another nip from his flask.

"Don't look me like that - is holiday!"

His English still lost words as he got pissed.

"It's all right, I'm fine, I suppose." Bella sighed and dragged her suitcase along the dusty road. People were staring at her in a way she didn't like - openly, not even trying to disguise their curiosity. Her case hit a rock on the uneven pathway and sprung open, spreading its contents all over everywhere. It was too much. She slumped down to the kerb and cried.

Her dad started gathering her clothes, "Is OK, my darling, is OK! No problema, soon good. Nearly there. Epa! What is THIS?"

He'd found her bikini, her new, unworn bikini. She hadn't worn one for ages, since she burst through size 10 and kept on growing and growing. She'd thought she could wear it here where she didn't know anyone. Maybe. Her dad wasn't impressed though.

"What you think? Where you gonna wear this? You want people to think my daughter is puta, showing her body? No - I take this!"

He shoved it into the back pocket of his jeans, the wires making an odd shape.

Bella was livid and energised. "Give that back to me! It's mine and I'll wear it if I want. You can't tell me what to do. You drag me to this dump and expect to suddenly be my dad! Well it's a bit bloody late for that!"

A small crowd had gathered now, to watch this angry, blonde teenager yelling in a foreign language. An older woman pushed through to the front. "Pedro? Pedro Colmenares?"

His face lit up at being recognised before darkening again as he felt the shame of being shouted at, on the street, by his daughter.

That was as far as I got, each time. I don't know really what the deal would be with daughters and bikinis. but my ex was pretty fucking uptight about what "his wife" was going to do or not do to bring shame upon him. I didn't think it was a dump at all but that Bella is a right old moaner, not prone to seeing the best in things, especially new things.

After writing group me and Daughter went to the beach and stayed in the sea for ages - total bliss. Yes, in that bikini. It doesn't look great, I can see that, but I am determined not to care. Fat old men have their bellies out so I'm getting mine out too. I walked along the tideline picking up litter, shameless.

Three good things today: Daughter has left to go camping with her friends and she tidied the little room up after herself; the sea was so warm and calm and blue, like heaven; I had a great yin yoga session with my third favourite teacher.

See you tomorrow. Thanks for reading xx


12:33 a.m. - 07.08.20


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