Here there are so many beautiful women, painted in varying degrees for war, or love, or simply for the day. Most are lithe, with Mediterranean skin, dark eyes in which lovers could easily lose themselves, and what would be forever smiles if your heart was not already taken. And mine is, so I am indifferent to them; my appreciation is fleeting, academic, almost.
The only one to whom I feel drawn is the mother by the swimming pool who most resembles you. Her hair in golden waves, her body approximate to yours. Her bright magenta two piece, something I doubt you’d ever wear. But still. I watch her swim with an unhurried sensuality that I imagine she carries with her wherever she goes, unwittingly; and woe betide any man’s resistance if she should multiply its power by deliberately turning it on.
Wet, her hair becomes your wet hair, as I remember it in the shower, darker and framing more minimally the beauty of your face. She doesn’t seem to notice the Englishman at all, but then, I am hidden in plain view wearing a hat and sunglasses reading a book under an umbrella. Besides, I don’t need her to notice me, because she is not you. She is a representation of you, of a longing, a stand-in for the real thing. A wish, a dream, an imagined day unfolding, and that day itself folding with love-making and sleep and sweet dreams into the next, and so on for a week or a fortnight of holiday, in what I take to be the prelude to the rest of our lives.
I cannot concentrate on the book, because of the combined assault of your presence and the heat, so I head for the coolness of indoors. But once in, I cannot resist stepping out on the balcony to watch her swim some more, then emerge from the water and begin to dry those golden waves of hair with a beach towel. In imagination I tilt up your head to spot me as I stand looking down waving, and after you wave back, I see you making the international sign language gesture for ‘I’ll be up in a minute’, to which you add a blown kiss, sending it skyward from the palm of your hand. I blow one back. Our kisses meet in the Mediterranean air, swirling about, castling each other for a moment like chess pieces, till one carries on rising and the other dives just short of you, into swimming pool blue.