May 3rd, 1965. Greece.
Lying on the warm sand, feeling the sensual yet soothing sun rays, smelling the humid sea air, hearing couples giggle, and dreaming of my childhood. My childhood was just like the sea, uncertain, stormy, and always uprising with problems. Still, I love to remember it, makes me realize the change in my life, lets me remind the good things; I have with me.
I try to open my eyelids slowly, trying not to capture the harsh gaze of the sun, I scram through my picnic basket for my Laurel sunglasses. My fingers touch the soggy sandwich, the tin of cookies, sunblock, and at last the blood-red velvet lipstick. Where are the sunglasses?
I turn my back and crane my neck over the basket, searching for the sunglasses.
I feel warm yet cool hands on my bare back, it glides over my skin like a feather traveling towards my shoulder. It lands over and grips my shoulder with little tension of the fingers. I place my right hand over them and turn to see my lovely husband. His hazel eyes fixed over me, some grains of sand crowning his hairline, and his lovely chest glazing with sunshine.
In his left hand is the sunglasses, which I was hunting for, he grins and asks, “Were you searching for them?”
I nod and take them brushing his finger with mine. I take his hand and slowly kiss the tips of his fingers, smelling his cologne with each breath. He draws his index finger over my jawline, and his other fingers gently push my neck towards him, our lips meet. I feel the sunrays teasing us on our skin, and our lips feeling each other's moisture. We break away after some time. His eye still glued to me, and mine over his lips. He leans towards me and whispers in my ear, “I love the baby blue color on you.” He places his hand over his heart and says, “It make me happy and reminds me of when I first saw you.”
We both giggle at the same time just like some other couples on the beach.
In a flick of second his eyes dart away from me, maybe watching someone with delight. I turn my head towards the direction where he is gazing. I see Sofia, with her hips swaying side to side, grabbing everybody's attention to them. Her eyes veiled by dark brown glasses, her light brown skin glistening in the sunshine, and her wavy hairs scattering in the windy air.
She comes towards us, grabbing her hat from flying away, and her huge smile with dimples on the cheek.
She sits on the sand on her knees and removes her glasses. She ignores me with her eyes glued to George. She spreads her smile and squeals with excitement.
“George, I think it's time for a raise and I believe you will do it; after hearing this exciting news.” She places her hand on her cheeks, trying to control her laughter, and says, “Your deal is finalized with the publishing company, they have agreed to publish 50000 books in the first batch itself.”
Geroge claps his hand in the air and hugs me.
“Wait this is not the final news yet,” She exclaims. “They have agreed on this agreement over both of your books.”
“Which books are you talking about?” His eyebrows tense, and I could feel his finger going numb.
“The one with your love letters to Anne.” She finally sees me for a brief second.
“But I wasn’t ready about it yet,” George exclaims.
“Well, the deal is already done. My advice is to better work on it fast, let's not disappoint the publishers over it.” George signs and gives a weak smile.
Sofia places her hands over her knees and says, “ I hope you are enjoying your time here.”
I gently nod and watch her walk away. Geoge’s eyes were still glued to her.
I feel an itch on my back, on the trail where his finger was. I feel a sudden urge to scratch my back, to peel my skin, forever away.
May 4th, 1965, Greece
I wipe the saturated fog on my bathroom mirror. I did not sleep well the night, the itching kept me awake. I turn my back towards the mirror to observe it, my back was red, maybe because of the hot water. The red rash is on my shoulder, yesterday it was only marked on the back. I don’t want it crawling on my face.
I wear the solid white collar shirt with khaki pants and my lavender hat. George is on the balcony completing his book, chewing on the pencil, rummaging his fingers on the typewriter. I made him quit smoking when we were courting each other. So, he pretends the pencil stub to be his cigarette and imagines to be smoking. His dedication and love towards me make me fall in love with him, more and more. He watches me staring across the screen, lays down the pencil on the table, and comes towards me. He kisses me passionately, his body language speaking something else.
He tilts my hat and playfully bites my ear, “Where are you going?” He asks.
“Just on the beach. To take in the whiff of the salty and humid air. Why don’t you join me?” I squeeze his wrist.
“You are going in this?” He takes a step backward and observes me head to toe. I feel the heat in my cheeks. I punch his shoulder playfully and ask, “Why am I looking bad?”
He huffs in disappointment and drops his shoulders, “You look beautiful in everything, just that it's not a beach dress.”
“Are you coming?” I ask.
“I have to complete the first draft of my poems, write some climaxes, and re-check other works. Why don’t you enjoy your own company today?”
I come back from a tour on the beach, pleasantly smelling lavender perfume in our suite. On the balcony is Sofia, in her dark green strapless, backless outfit. Her wild hair flying over her face while the sun glistening on her like the limelight. On one hand, she has a cigarette and her other hand is on Georges's bicep. I stand there frozen, maybe due to the sun. She notices me and extinguishes her cigarette, greets me, and goes out of our suite.
May 5th, 1965, Greece
Again, I am staring into the foggy mirror of my bathroom. The rash has now moved over my neck and my back has thin scabs of the bloodstain. The inside of my fingernails are stained red, and the warm water is burning my back.
“Hon, are you there?” I hear George across from the bathroom door.
“Sofia is inviting us for the lunch, at Mount Café at 12. Just get ready soon.” He says.
I try my best to control my tears, which are slipping away on my cheeks. I see the marks and wounds I have caused myself, or is it the sun?
The beach, the warm sunshine, the sun rays, and the humidity. The sun is taking away my beauty, it's causing me pain. It's making me bleed, it's making me cry, and if I don’t cure this allergy; then I may lose my husband to her.
“Hon, is everything alright?” I hear the concern in his voice.
“Ya, sure I will get ready,” I reply
We reach the café, the sun whispering its lewd ideas in my ear. I can feel the sun rays warming my back through my turtleneck blouse. I pull my collar and sleeve to cover my pale skin. The wounds and rashes screaming inside it, troubled by the sun rays.
Sofia, as usual, is in her best dress, a lilac floral dress exposing her collarbones. Her hair usually wild, and her skin absorbing the sun's rays and reflecting her beauty. I feel a pit in my stomach. Why I am not beautiful like her?
She comes towards us and greets us with her devilish charming smile. I dig my fingernails on my wrist, the sun rays again causing trouble. How can Sofia be so comfortable in the sun, while my skin is having an allergy to it?
“Well can we sit inside?” I ask her staring into her eyes. George looks at me confused, and Sofia grins in embarrassment.
“Well, this café is a basic outdoor café. It does not have an infrastructure leaving their lobby and kitchen.” She responds to me bluntly.
“What happened hon?” George asks me holding my wrist. His eyes widen and he picks my wrist to see a scab oozing blood, my sleeves drenched in it.
“What is this?” A rage erupting in his voice.
My words choke, not daring to emerge out from my mouth. I forcefully take in air and partially open my lips, “It’s a sun allergy.”
He picks my other hand and observes my nail, showing the stain.
“Is it?” He asks me sternly.
“I will get the first aid.” Sofia leaves us both to the silence of the sea.
“What is happening? Are you ok?” I hear the blurred sound of George's voice.
Am I ok? Am I cursed by the sun god? When did this allergy crop up? At the beach when Sofia came? The sun cursing my skin when they were on the balcony? Or when I saw her enormous beauty.
The sun makes me peel my skin, the sun telling me that I am not a beautiful lady anymore. The sun penetrating my skin and making it bleed. Then why do I have marks embedded on my fingernails?
I run from Georges's grip into the sea, running into it to hide from the curse of the sun.