Her tanned skin turned white over her knees as she knelt by the side of the pool. I held onto the tiled ridge, the water lapping about my shoulders.
“Your eyes are red,” she said.
“Chlorine. I’ve been in too long.”
I kissed her knee. Briefly. Softly. It seemed natural. She put her hand on my head. It felt like a benediction. Karherine was born in 1921. I was born in 1943. The year was 1965. It wasn’t that she was twice my age. Jesus, she looked like Lana Turner. Heads swiveled wherever she went. More problematic was that she was my mother-in-law.
“I’m going back to the room,” she said, pulling her dark glasses down over her eyes. She dropped her lighter, knelt again on one knee. She had a paperback, some lotion, the lighter, her drink. She kept dropping things. Then she scooped them roughly into a straw tote, stood, finished her drink, slopped the ice out onto a grassy area. One piece white suit cut high on the thighs. Legs like a Las Vegas showgirl. I let myself sink back into the pool. I watched her form undulate through the blue water, then swam away.
It seemed like the world was on the edge of a cliff. The only reason I wasn’t in Vietnam was my 2S classification, married, a kid. Not mine, I’d found out. The draft lottery could still get me. I almost wanted that if the war hadn’t been so futile. Blacks were on a short fuse. Feds were arresting my friends for pot-selling entrapment, and the sentence was medieval: life was over for them, they were running to Canada. Things were changing. A man had taken pictures of us in Mexico City. I’d noticed the sun on the lens. Then he took off.
Guinotte Wise has been a creative director in advertising most of his working life. A staid museum director once called him raffish, which he enthusiastically embraced. (the observation, not the director) Of course, he took up writing fiction.
Copyright © 2015 by Guinotte Wise