Bottle it up


Today’s Daily Prompt:

I’m at the beach, lounging on your towel, when a glistening object at the water’s edge catches my eye. It’s a bottle – and yes, it contains a message…

Imagine my horror when I realize it’s from my mother! How could she have arranged this? I didn’t tell her what resort I was going to, and I only decided to come to this beach this morning. Is she here, or is she spying on me somehow?

I should have just torn up the piece of paper, but I was unable to steer myself away from the inevitable onslaught of guilt and disparagement.

“Hello, dearest”, the note read. “I’ll bet you’re surprised to see this! Did you really think there is any place on this planet that would conceal you from your mother? Foolish girl!

“I guess by now you will be on the beach, attempting to get some colour into that pasty white skin of yours. I really do hope you haven’t opted for a bikini. Really, darling, a one-piece would suit you far better. It will cover up all that flab in the middle, and they are quite flattering for the flatter types, if you can excuse the pun. Seriously, darling, nothing looks worse than an empty scrap of cloth in the shape of a triangle. Unless, of course, you look like a willowy Kate Moss clone, and no amount of squinting could put you in that category, my child.

“If you’re wondering how I found you, I knew you would aim towards the cheaper resorts on the island. Even you wouldn’t go for the very cheapest, but on your salary, options are few. All the resorts within your price range were at one end, and there is only one beach within walking distance, so ta-dah!

“And I knew you would never be able to resist picking up a wine bottle, and wasn’t I right, darling?

“I believe your old school friend Michelle (you know, from the Wilkingsons across the road?) is on holiday on the island too at the moment. Of course, she will be with her husband, the City banker, and will be at a 5-star resort, so it is unlikely that your paths will cross. But if you are window-shopping amongst the designer shops, do make sure your hair is neat and tidy and your clothes are as nice as you can manage, there’s a good girl. It will be hard to dismiss your outfit as ‘redecorating rags’ when you’re on holiday, now won’t it?

“That’s all I wanted to say, darling. It’s a small world, so please try and not humiliate your poor mother with your untamed hair and refusal to groom. And stay away from the island men – they might have nice hair and eyes, but they are still barely one step up from peasants, so please don’t bring one home. You are getting a bit long in the tooth, but you are still too young to be Shirley Valentine.

“Some duty free Chanel would be just fine, honey. No need for any local handmade tat this year. Drop in on your way home from the airport – I want to make sure you had a good time.

“Love, Mum.”

I looked down at my empty triangles of cloth in growing horror. What had seemed a reasonable handful only ten minutes ago was once again reduced to prepubescent wishful thinking. And my skin appeared luminescent in its paleness. I quickly wrapped my sarong back around myself, wishing it was a burqa instead.

I decided to gather up all my belongings and head back to my hotel room. There was a shop along the way where I could get another bottle, this one full of rum. Perhaps after I had emptied most of that into me, I might once again be able to relax.

But there would never be enough rum in the world to wash that woman’s poisonous commentary out of my consciousness completely. A few hours of oblivion would be some relief, though…



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