‘I think my daughter goes to nursery with your daughter’, I say.
‘Oh right’, the woman says looking me over, ‘Are you on holiday here?’
‘No we’re travelling and working remotely (well I’m doing the travelling and John’s doing the working but why go into detail?). We’ve rented a house in the village,’ I tell her.
She doesn’t reply but I notice her edge further away from me.
‘So are you here for the season?’ I try again.
The woman looks at me like I’ve just asked if she eats shit for dinner.
‘No. We’ve lived here for six years. We have a house in a REAL Indian village.’
I guess she means as opposed to the Imaginary Indian village that we live in.
‘Away from all the tourists,’ she continues. Subtext: YOU.
‘Oh ok,’ I say but really in my head I’m saying ‘Bitch.’
I turn to John and make a face. My fuckwit alert face. I wade over to him standing in the shallows. ‘About as friendly as a swarm of pirhanas,’ I tell him. ‘She totally snubbed me.’
We glance over at her, now sitting with a coven of other mothers at a beach bar whilst their naked kids run around re-enacting Lord of the Flies.
‘Have you noticed there are no men? That’s weird right? Where are their partners?’ Are they some sort of species that recreates by itself? Or did they just relegate the male partners to the other end of the beach? Where from tomorrow I’m going to be too.
I tell myself it doesn’t matter and reflect on the fact that I did say I didn’t want anything to do with Notting Hill-ites. Maybe they read my blog. Maybe that’s the reason for the cold shoulder. In which case, tomorrow I can expect a horse’s head in the bed.
But even though John and I laugh, it makes me realise that every paradise is slightly imaginary.