“Say bye-bye to Mommy,” my husband prompts Baby Lisa.
“Bye-bye, Baby-doll,” I grab my toddler’s chubby fist and leave a loud kiss, one that tickles her, and she giggles. She waves her little hand happily in my face and I laugh.
“Be good for Daddy,” I call as they drive away. The house feels quiet and empty, but I’m so excited to be alone for the first time in days, I hardly notice. I run down the hallway, doing a Tom Cruise slide as I enter the bathroom. I can’t wait to get into my new swimsuit and climb into the pool. Alone!
What a nice word…a lovely word… I coo to myself as I pull the new suit out of my drawer. I give it a shake and smile at the flounced skirt that covers the bottom. The catalog called it “sexy,” but I call it “camouflage”.
I throw off my jammies and begin pulling the suit over my body. The suit smashes my tummy flat in my final tug, and I instantly feel more glamorous and slim. I face the mirror, and the wind swooshes out of my sails. Ugh.
My body looks svelte and trim where the suit is covering it, but my legs, hips, and thighs look like they belong to my grandmother! Varicose veins are peeking through the pasty white skin on my legs, and there’s definitely a cottage-cheese factory working under the skin of my thighs. Then my eyes travel up to my arms, and I gasp at the extra flesh being pushed out of the straps and around the suit under my arms. I look like that marshmallowy thing that sells tires, rolls of flesh poufing out from under the suit in every direction. Oh, bad!
I lean forward over my tummy and look down at my cheerful neon pink-tipped toes. I painted those toes, painstakingly, last night in anticipation of this moment, and nothing is going to stop me from enjoying my two hours alone in the pool.
I trot to the kitchen and pick up the basket I’d packed earlier. Inside are tucked girlie necessities: chocolate and a phone. One last thing to check and I’ll be on my way to mommy nirvana.
I carefully move the kitchen curtains aside and scan the backyards of both neighbors.
Good, good, good…no one’s out this early…Yay!
I do a wiggle dance on the slippery floor and laugh out loud that my day is working just as I planned…well, except for the swimsuit…but…shake it off, Lady, and get out there!
“You go, Girl…you go, Girl” I chant as I cha-cha out the door to my backyard.
I arrange my basket close to the pool’s side and glance one more time at the adjacent yards before I begin the climb up the pool ladder.
The only thing I hate about our aboveground pool is this climb. It exposes my backside to anyone who is watching, so I try to slip hurriedly into the water before anyone catches a glimpse.
Ahhh…the water is nice and warm…the sun is sparkling on the surface, and my body melts into the vinyl, floating chair like I’m made of butter. I smile as I pick up the phone.
While I enjoy my long, un-interrupted chat, the neighbor’s yard begins to fill with people. The family on the left is having a huge barbecue, but I float on in oblivion.
Suddenly, a splat shakes the water, and laughing teens, trying to reach their volleyball, surround the pool. Crowds of adults in my neighbor’s yard are watching, and my neighbor raises his glass of lemonade to me in greeting. Oh no! I smile and wave.
“Having a nice float?” he calls.
“Uh…yeah…” I stammer. The kids get the ball and head back to their game.
My day is ruined. Now I’ll have to clamber out of this thing in full view of the neighbors and their guests, and I forgot my robe. Rats! Instead, I decide to stay in and keep low. Maybe the party will end soon.
My husband finds me in the pool, wrinkled as a raisin, and waterlogged, when they return two hours later. I tersely instruct him to get my robe, and he watches, amused, as I slog my way to the house, my pink toes mocking me brightly with each step.
My neighbor calls out, “Have a nice day, Liz!”
“You, too,” I mumble, red-faced and grouchy. Next time, I’m going to a spa.
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