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Why it’s safer living in the Prairies…

It’s with shame and humiliation that I share this story. Warning: these photos may cause damage to your retinas. Mostly from the horizontal-striped abomination of a “bathing suit” I’m wearing.

Here’s some background for you. I’m a simple person. I like simple things. This mindset has served its purpose for the most part… that is, until I find myself in a foreign setting, where often I don’t think things through as much as I should. The day in question found us enjoying the last day of our holiday in Spain. We had just finished packing up our bags and decided to head down to the beach for a final bask in the glorious sun. As we were heading out the door, I distinctly recall my sister stating (somewhat cruelly):

Sister: “Are you really going to wear that laundry out of the house?”

Me: “Why, what’s wrong with it?”

Sister: “What’s not wrong with it?”

Me: “It’s a tank top and gitch set from Wal-Mart.”

Sister: “Yeah, and it looks like a tank top and gitch set from Wal-Mart. Which part of this aren’t you getting?”

Me: “I packed up my bathing suit.”

Sister: “Go unpack it. I’ll wait.”

Me: “It’s not that bad. Let’s go.”

Sister: “And Jesus wept.”

I had no intention of leaving my lounge chair so no one was going to see this awful outfit anyway; other than the retinal trauma it was going to cause my sister, brother-in-law and husband, I wasn’t overly concerned.

As luck would have it, at some point in the afternoon, I got hot. Like hot-flash hot. Like that-time-of-the-month hot. I was panting like a dog. What to do? I was holding our four-month-old son and told my husband to come with us for a walk up to the water to cool off. At some point during that conversation, I also asked my sister to come along to take a family photo to commemorate our last day in Spain (clearly forgetting about what I was wearing, as that should never have been captured on film).

If pressed, I’d be at a loss to tell you what’s most disturbing about what happened next, but it’s a toss between the following:

1. That my sister, albeit not a professional photographer, could not find it in her heart to warn us of the rogue wave that was rearing its ugly head behind us. Mercifully, I had handed James off to Roddy (likely to adjust my “swimwear”).

2. The sea was angry that day, my friends. It hurled itself upon us with such force, that it knocked me to the ground. Photo One represents the initial hit, which knocked me flat on my ass. As my face was getting scrubbed by the ocean floor, I recall a feeling of such fright that my son was getting washed out to sea, that I lunged forward, flailing like a wild person. I couldn’t see a thing, as my eyes were sealed shut from the salty water, not to mention my sunglasses provided about as much clearance as staring out a window in a car wash (see Photo Two).

3. That my sister continued to snap photos as we lay drowning.

4. In Photo Three, my husband, who held our son safely in his arms, can be seen turning to watch me drown. You can just make out my ponytail as I go down. Is that a smile on his face? I believe it is.

5. The look of complete and utter horror on James’ face. Oh, that sadness right there… it’s a real heartbreaker. If you’ll allow me to venture a guess at what he was thinking, it’d go something like this: “This is #$%^ing awful, just terrible. I’m being cared for by a pair of lunatics. I pray there’s been a horrible mix-up at Regina General Hospital, and I’ll be demanding a DNA test upon our return. That is, if these nut-jobs can pull their sh** together to get me home in one piece. And at the moment, I consider that a stretch.”

6. Most importantly (maybe not quite as important as almost drowning our son, but it’s right up there), my choice of “bathing suit” is an absolute disgrace. My sister was correct. There is absolutely no reason in the world to think it’s OK to wear a horizontal-striped tank top and gitch set on the beach, just 16 weeks after giving birth. Check that. There’s no reason in the world to EVER wear it, whether you’ve given birth or not. Prior to sharing these photos, I was going to Photoshop the pictures; maybe remove the stripes or something. The other alternative was to replace my head with my sister’s, but I don’t know how to do that, or I totally would have. It then dawned on me that I needed to share these with you; consider it my gift to you, should you ever find yourself tempted to wear a similar outfit. The title of my photo gift? Cotton breathes, Wet cotton cleaves. The end. †

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