It’s the first sunny day in Margaret River in weeks, and our owner has just taken us walking. Cruel, cruel woman, she didn’t even slather us in moisturiser. We went out in public unshaven. We are two shades short of lily white. We bought traffic to a stand-still for all the wrong reasons (apologies to the truck driver we blinded). And SHE called it research for her new book.We are officially on strike, and if she posts our photo, we will sue.
Lily Malone’s legs.
Perhaps if you’d responded once to the zillion leg-lifts I’d done in my youth, I’d be more inclined to sympathise. However, you have always been ahem, top-heavy in the thighs, despite my every effort, and I have yet to find any exercise that can cure knobbly knees.Therefore: Suck it up!
A few weeks ago, one of those “give us 7 lines from page 7, or 77, of your latest release or work in progress games” went around my friends on Facebook. I was tagged a couple of times but at the time, I had nothing to put out on display that I felt proud of.
Then, the beach unfurls before us, mile on mile of hard-packed sand the colour of white pepper, strewn with drying strands of brown seaweed, as if the mermaids cut their hair.
Busselton Jetty straddles the water far to the right. Where the famous landmark meets the coast, pines jut from the foreshore.
“There’s a train that runs out the jetty now,” Brayden says, setting Seb’s feet on the sand. “You’ll have to take him out there.”
“Maybe. We’ll see.” I struggle with forking out cash on tourist things Seb won’t remember. Call me killjoy.
My city brain struggles to comprehend all this space. Geographe Bay curls gently, like a soft scarf cupping a shallow wine glass. We’re in prime school holiday time, yet it isn’t packed. I know that near the jetty—with its funparks and cafes—there’ll be crowds. Here, no one is in your pocket. I like that.
“This looks like a good spot,” I say, heading left, kicking off my sandals so I can enjoy the warm sand on my feet.
Brayden spreads the towels to mark our territory and I rummage in my bag for sunscreen to squirt over Seb’s arms and legs.
“Here.” I hand Seb’s Thomas Tank Engine cap to Brayden. “You see if you have the knack. He won’t keep it on for me.”
He picks the orange bulldozer from my bag and carries it to where last night’s high tide has left a signature on the sand.
Brayden gives the dozer to Seb, who squats on the beach. As he starts ploughing, Brayden stoops and pops the cap on my son’s head. I wait for those little hands to send it cartwheeling toward the sea, and of course, he leaves it perfectly in place. My sun-smart little angel.
I sit on the towel and lean back on my outstretched hands. The sand is incredibly fine, and I bury my feet, then lift them, and let the grains pour between my toes. If I balance my feet just right, I figure I can cover my unpainted toenails, but there’s nothing short of a sheet that can hide my lily white legs.
I really am a disgrace to the female race.