Friday, August 08, 2003

We’re staying in a sort of wonderland. Neon lights (your face is green, you look so sick, you’re green from the lights). I have pink ribbons tying up my new pink ballet shoes. Holiday shoes. I ate coconut from a metal fountain and drank a lemon soda too.

Today I'm a nightmare, you can’t do anything right.

I'm so tired.

I wake up with my hair in salt curls.

There’s sand in my shoes in my hair in my clothes in my book in my drink in the shower on the towels.
I swim in the pool. I watch Jack sink down to the bottom, his toes touch a floor of blue tiles, blue sunshine, and he looks like he's screaming; his skinny legs in the blue sunshine, air streams from his lips.

I swim muted lengths underwater. I like the trapped feeling in my chest.

When you are younger you can sink so you can sit cross-legged on the tiles at the bottom, and you can talk to yourself. Your voice is loud and only in your ears. You tell your friend to speak to you under the water. You watch their pink lips in the blue water. 

Jack opens the bottle too quickly and it fizzes all over his fingers. It’s a blue bottle with shiny drops of water pressed out of the plastic.

On the beach I watch the rainbow umbrellas twist in the wind and I chew the wires of my Discman.

Mum rings home and listens to the beeps so she knows the house hasn’t burnt down. Sometimes, before she hears the bleeps she worries someone will answer and then what would she say.

It’s so hot today, but there’s no sunshine. Someone has sucked all the air out of Italy (when it rains someone else will say “I’d forgotten what air felt like”). The bus is hot. Jack goes green and then he goes limp. Then I faint too. It's a brilliant holiday.

It’s raining when we leave.

There are some things only family know. Not the big things.

Anyone could know that when Jack wants milkshake he’s homesick for being little. But only I know he’s remembering car journeys from dad to mum, and then stops at service stations, and how safe it felt; the tall menu, the slide outside the Happy Eater for sunshine, a Lego table for rain.

Jack orders milkshake. Mum orders coffee.