- Vol. 03
- Chapter 03
Image by Ville Miettinen
JUMP. DON’T JUMPI watch him. Paused. Perfectly. Fingertips elevated to the right angle, exactly as I’d positioned them at the start of our holiday. He hasn’t plucked up the courage to plunge in yet. I’d told him that I might be able to make his first dive with him by the end of the week if everything healed up ok with my face.
I see him more clearly in shadow as the sun drops down, my man-boy. My boy-man. His thin body wavers on the warm planks at the edge of the pool as he looks into the thrill of dark water.
A waiter swipes away my empty glass, replacing it with another mojito. Side by side for a second, the two drinks are a ‘before and after’ of the same thing; fresh mint collapsing into wilted leaves swimming in melting ice made from mineral water. Without looking up I suck down half of the sugary cocktail in one and tell the waiter to bring another.
Maybe it’d be better if he didn’t do his first dive here. I can take him to CentreParcs or somewhere at half-term. The credit card can cover the cost. Then we can really spend some quality time together and forget all about his father and his stupid child custody challenge.
I want my boy to look over, to look up from that edge of endless balance. I want to wave at him, for him to wave back and smile at me. I almost call his name. I know he wishes I’d take my sunglasses off when it’s dark or when we’re inside but the black stitches and green and purple bruising would be a worse embarrassment. Things haven’t been easy since the divorce. When I booked the eye tuck, the cosmetic nurse said it would be the perfect surgery to fit into a week’s break. I’d even thought I might have time to meet someone out here but it’s all couples anyway, mostly Russian and although they could be rich, they’re certainly fat.
This was meant to be fun.
I watch him at the water’s edge. Jump. Don’t jump.