‘There are 28 people in my pool.’
‘It’s not our pool.’
‘There are 28 people in my pool. Don’t they know it is MY pool?’
I cut myself off because I realise I am starting to sound like Lola from Charlie and Lola and I am almost thirty years older than Lola.
I have never seen so many fully clothed people in a swimming pool before. Not since I was ten and the whole class had to do that swimming test where we had to wear our pyjamas in the pool. Even the smallest child in my pool is in trousers and a long sleeved t-shirt. The women haven’t even bothered to change. They have just entered fully dressed. The only thing they remove is their shoes. It gets me to wondering, as I sit in my bikini drinking a gin & tonic, whether perhaps I’m under-dressed.
I’m not sure I fully understand this approach though to swimming nor to nakedness. I get that the women have to cover themselves in front of strangers but the children? The five year olds? I love it that Alula is as comfortable naked as she is in clothes. I love it that she has no inhibitions and no understanding of shame. There’s plenty of time for such things when we’re adults, why start them off on that road when they are children? Uninhibited nakedness is total freedom and it’s a freedom I want my daughter to have.
I am being stared at by the teenage boys as well as by the women. I wonder what they must think of me – Do they think I’m a harlot? A bad example to their children? Or do any of them feel a tiny bit of envy at the freedom I take for granted to wear whatever I want? Or whatever I don’t want?
No. I think they think I’m shameless.
It is MY pool. But I decide maybe it’s not my rules.
I go back to the room where Lula and I can be naked and free.