It’s true that, as one gets older, our memory starts to fade. The strange thing is that memories from twenty years ago seem like yesterday, and I sometimes can’t remember why I went into a room. So here is today’s dose of memory recall from my rapidly disintegrating grey matter that has been lodged somewhere in my hippocampus for eighteen years.
ANTIGUA - CIRCA 2003
G is around four, going on fourteen. She and the 3-year-old Irish girl staying in our hotel are showing signs that their career paths may well lead them to world leader status, but, for now, they are happily pretending to be mermaids in the pool. G swims like a fish, as does her slightly younger new best friend.
We are on an indulgent two-week all-inclusive holiday and are spending the day around the pool. It’s that time of the holiday when I feel self-conscious wandering around in a bathing suit, well, a bikini, eighteen years ago. My sought-after tan was still in its developmental phase, and I looked like a pink and white panda.
All-inclusive is the best time to try everything on the menu, as well as the cocktails on offer. After lunch, my thoughts are drifting while I lie on a sun lounger, regretting having drunk pina colada in the heat of the middle of the day, when a 70 dB screech pierces the air, waking up other half-asleep well-gorged adults dosing around the pool. I instinctively realise the high-pitched sound is coming from the bottom of G’s lungs. I spring into action, assessing the situation as I wobble to a standing position.
G’s has managed to get her arm trapped inside the rail that runs around the sides of the swimming pool. I was an okay swimmer and, back in the day, I was in the swim team at school. So, I bound, like a flabby pink blancmange and dive into the pool. When I hit the water, I sink like a stone into the deep end. Down, down, down, I go and seem to take an age to bob up again – probably something to do with having a second helping of Antiguan Bread Pudding with English Harbour Rum Butter Sauce.
When I finally resurface, G’s is sitting by the side of the pool giggling at me, along with everybody else sitting around the pool. The lady from the Kids Club had long since liberated G’s arm. She had calmly released it, without having to get in the water, while I was attempting to resubmerge. She’d also had enough time to go indoors because, while I'm hanging on to the offending rail hoping not to sink again, I watch her coming back with a big smile on her face and ‘an ice cream for the Bebe!’ Much to G’s delight.‘
'You do realise you nearly emptied the pool?’ G’s mum quips from her sunbed while applying more factor. ‘No more pina colada for you at lunchtime.’