26 August 2008

Sunning in the shade

Monday 25 August 2008

Mother and Daddy took the little ones, Lisa and J.J., up the peninsula to Chincoteague for the beach park. Jessy and I did not go, mainly because Jessy did not get up in time. When I say 'in time' I mean she did not get up before they left, at about 10.30. This is because she is a painfully pampered princess who indulges every tendency to not do anything.

I put on a t-shirt and some sleep shorts (which I had NOT slept in) to see them off and actually walked down the lane a little to watch them drive away. Daddy cautioned me to be careful as we would be alone in this house for longer than we ever have been before. But we are so isolated here and in an area already so low in crime that I was not really worried. It would not do to be standing in the middle of the lane, however, and I went back inside and bolted the door.

I went straight through the house to the back parlour, dropped the clothes on the terrace and dove into the pool, where I did my dutiful daily 20 laps, or about a seventh of a mile. Emerging from the pool I dried off and went up stairs to wake up Jessy by sitting on the edge of her bed as I usually do and gently rousing Her Highness. She rolled over to flat on her back, kicking down the last of the sheet, and smiled up at me. 'Mm,' she murmurred as she opened her eyes. 'Morning already?'

I glanced at her clock-- 11.15. 'Yes,' I replied, 'sorry to get you up so early.'

'Mmmm....' She put one hand up across her forehead and then turned to behold the sun beaming in her windows. 'Were you in yet?'

I nodded. 'Just out. I'm going to make breakfast. What would you like?'

'Mm. One of those muffins, I guess, toasted, not too light, with soft butter and strawberry jam, and a piece of that grapefruit. Also tea, if you're having.'

I made a wry face at her. 'I'm sure,' I said. Jessy will have no scruple about ordering whatever she likes, as though the choices are endless and you are her short-order waitress.

I made what she asked anyway.

We sat out under the umbrella on the terrace and had our breakfast, and then 'to walk it off' as Jessy said we had a stroll round the grounds, going past the garages and round to the front of the house. We walked very slowly, talking about the weather and the birds and the grass and the water. Daddy's development, of which we live at the end, is not done and there is no one else living in this lane but us, so it was not too risky to walk past our gate. Down at the other end of the lane a few cars went by on the road. None of them cared to see us. We walked round to the side yard and discovered at least two new nesting-places for birds amidst the undergrowth. Along the water's edge, avoiding the bird poop which is everywhere, we investigated the bottom for turtles or crabs. There were a few of both.

We went in the side gate and up the steps to the walled garden again. In the back parlour we played cards for a bit and had iced tea, and then Jessy suggested we lie out in the side yard, something we have only done once before since we've been here. Almost all our lying-out gets done in the garden. 'All right,' I said.

So we dragged two of the chaises down to the grass and out into the sun and arrayed ourselves, upon our towels, with just two chilled water bottles and a tube of lotion between them and lay there for maybe twenty minutes. It got hot, of course, and neither of us needs any more sun, but it was very relaxing just lying in the open air, so we came up with the idea to drag the chaises farther across the lawn to underneath the big old shade tree. Both of us, I think, napped a little into the early hours of afternoon.

'Mm,' I heard Jessy sigh once, and opened my eyes. She lay still, eyes closed, half a smile on her face, with one hand up to trace her fingers round on her body. I smiled a little and half turned to look at her. 'This is pleasant,' she said.

'Mm, I bet.'

She giggled and looked at me. 'Do you mind?'

I shrugged and then lay back down again. 'Don't make so much noise about it this time.'

'Mm,' she sighed, and then giggled at the memory of last time. 'I'll try not to.'

If she did make much noise, I don't know, because I was involved in something very pleasant myself as well.

When Mother and Daddy came home, we knew it because Lisa, still in the bright pink tank suit that she'd worn to the beach, came running out across the lawn to greet us. But we were each well finished by then. 'You guys!' little Lisa chirped excitedly. 'You're all the way out here!'

I sat up, leaning back on my elbows. 'It's cooler here,' she said.

'You look like you're having a shade tan.' Then she giggled at her own joke.

'We are,' I said, 'but I am glad you are back now.' I lifted my chin and she leaned over and kissed my cheek. That's how we are. 'Is it tea time?'

'Almost! Jessy!' she called across me towards the other chaise. 'Are you awake?'

Jessy, flat on her back on the chaise, sighed deeply. 'Mmmm....'

'Oh, she is awake,' I said. 'The poor dear has had such a busy day....'


'She looks like she's just been lying there,' Lisa supposed.

I nodded. 'Oh, she really has.'

Lisa giggled. Then she proceeded to tell me all about her day, which had actually been quite busy, as she helped me drag he chaise back across the lawn.


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