I am pleased to offer space on my blog to a good friend and a talented writer, Patricia Bidar. She has been an important motivator to me, challenging me to participate in the recent Round Robin through the Writing Salon, the inspiration behind the blog’s rejuvenation. Saturdays will feature Patricia’s amazing writing.
With sand veiling down from the hills above, we have to stand and move our blanket and our things. “I feel like I’m in a monster movie,” I hear Ned mutter. His genitals are damp looking. City slicker genitals. His butt is paler than the rest of his body. Not tan like me. I grew up visiting nude beaches with my dad and stepmother. Never would have imagined back them I’d frequent one as an adult. People who don’t, think of it as a sexually-charged atmosphere. It’s really not. Well, clearly it is for the occasional fully-clothed guy crouched on the sandy bluff above.
Inviting Ned to meet me here was a huge mistake. Like me, he is middle-aged. Not fat, just comfortable. He is olive-skinned, his body hair contrasting with his city skin. Now we are lifting and gently shaking my orange and blue serape. We come together, minuet-style, and our eyes meet. Ned gives a little nod. It is not completely uncomfortable, our faces so close. Ned couldn’t know this, of course, but in the most mundane situations—usually with the very old cashier or an avuncular bus driver—I often wonder what would happen if we kissed. It is not because I am attracted to them; just more of a “what if?”
I am a little attracted to Ned. If we are in a monster movie, I somehow know he means the smart cookie in the high heels and pearls is me.
I am not what you would call sexy. I just like to read and sleep at the beach. Normally, I position myself near a family or an old couple. I do not venture to the water’s edge so people can stare as my nipples crinkle. I do not ask anyone to smear suntan lotion on my back. I do not play volleyball. I read. I eat my sandwich and my Flamin’ Hot Chee-tohs. I take a nap. I have a tan butt and boobs. No one sees them, except here.
Back at work, I have my routine. I eat my sandwich and chips fast, at my desk, then take a nice walk. I like letting my thoughts out to roam free. Once I saw Ned out there about a block from the office, but he ducked into a pet store when he caught sight of me. I didn’t mind.
Yet it was Ned who approached me at my desk yesterday just before five and asked what I liked to do on the weekends. I was thinking that sometime before the end of today, if things were going okay, I would ask him whether he even has a pet.
“I’m just feel like kind of sitting duck right now– and I don’t know why! It’s like when I was seven.” We have reset our serape and things. “My older brother and I shared a bunk bed,” Ned continues. “I had bottom. One night I woke up. I remember thinking, ‘I have to move over right next to the wall, so when the bed breaks, I won’t get smashed.’
“What happened?” We are lying on our stomachs. His legs bent at the knees, crossed at the ankles.
“I pressed myself to the wall and then Teddy’s bunk crashed down,” Ned says. “I was in a triangle of space. Safe. Totally at peace. Anyway.”
And it does seem like we’re in a tender scene. The volleyball game, the gulls, the guy selling soda, all seem a layer removed. Tender in the sense of being vulnerable, and somehow sweet.
Bidar means awake. Patricia Bidar is a writer and California native looking forward to life’s third act.