Flumes Vol. 5: Issue 1, Summer 2020 | Page 81

Fourteen Years Old

It was a humid day and the sweat dripped between my growing breasts as I applied another layer of sunscreen on my arms and legs. I sat in the front of the blue boat on the cushioned couch with my tank top and shorts on. My mom sat in the back of the boat with her legs relaxed on the top of the driver chair. She drank a beer and basked in the sun.

“Why don’t you take your swim suit off and go in the water? You’ll cool off,” she told me with her head tilted back and her sunglasses glaring.

“No, I’m okay,” I responded as I pulled my swimsuit top strap away from my neck. It dug into my skin so much I itched.

She noticed my movement.

“You’re fine honey. You’re just big boned.”

Twenty-One Years Old

In North Yorkshire England I sat in a fancy chair in the basement Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms next to my English professor. I was on a study abroad trip. I crossed my legs and made sure my foot didn’t brush her long black skirt. The basement was dark but lit up with small lights lining the ceiling. The chair had a soft padding and I sank into it after a long day of walking. The waiter brought a tray of trays with pastries and jelly. We laughed and stuck our pinkies out as we drank the warm tea.

My professor commented on my ease in the tearoom. You fit in nicely- good posture.

I met him at a coffee shop in the summer. My freckles stood strong on my skin and the air conditioning in the shop stopped the sweat sheen that made me wet. I sat at the more comfortable booth side of Caribou Coffee while he sat across from me on a regular chair. He took up two chairs with his long arms and while he talked they moved across the table. He was at ease.

I pressed my back into the wood behind me and felt my shoulder blades hit the surface first. The bottoms of my feet just barely touched the cool tile. I wore an olive green tank top and my skin showed the light sun I had recently gotten on the lake.

He wanted to get lunch after coffee that day, immediately. We did. Later, he told me he had liked my confidence. But he didn’t know my shoulder blades ached after that date.