How much of my life has been spent at the side of a pool. As I get older, I see the freckles and lines, the scars of my life from under the sun, beside the concrete basin of chlorinated water. But I love the heat. I love the sweaty feeling on my brow, on the small of my back, the pit of my knees. The smell of sunscreen, the slight reddening then bronzing of my skin.
When I was a teenager, my girl cousin would come over and we would baste ourselves in a weird mix of sunscreen and tanning oil. We would slide down our jean shorts and stretch out on the lounge chairs, covering our faces with our tshirts and timing ourselves to turn over. Talking about boys, which were new to us then, movies, our skinny bodies. Sometimes we wouldn’t even take a towel, knowing that we wouldn’t be out long enough to get in the water. Usually it was just a dip, just a refresher. It would help with the tanning process, Tanya claimed (not tan-ya, tawn-ya). The sun would reflect off the water on your body. As you dry you darken.
I would wait for my father to pass by, eventually, wait for him to recognize the reposed girls as his own. Wait to complain about the heat or the pool or whatever.
It’s crazy to think, to hope, that a sheen of lotion will save me from skin cancer, as it certainly is not saving me from lines and a smattering of dark spots across my shoulders and arms and stomach. But I can’t resist the sun. I can’t resist the urge to sit out and let it soak into my skin. Let the heat quiet my mind as I read or write or sleep with my earbuds in. I love the heat. I love the blindness of summer and the passing of time as the sun moves across the sky. Who am I under the sun? Some lazy white girl.