Saturday, July 29, 2006
The Leopard Skin Tan
Artwork (c) Singleton 2006
The blue lagoon is vinyl and blows up and is balanced perfectly on the edge of my world. It cost exactly $218.00 and is worth a million lotteries. The hurricane tarp, draped over the leaky roof for months, is the perfect palette for paradise to plop on, and I have an orange and green sponge wedged under the PVC ladder to “prevent tears” in the liner. Ahhhh….cheap and tacky….and peaceful…. The lazy round river, 3500 gallons of water in a giant fishbowl in my back yard. You see, I am a mermaid. An old dried up one, but a mermaid nonetheless. Kind of like when you have a party and accidentally leave the can of open sardines out on the counter overnight. They’re not quite what they were the night before. Neither am I.
The backyard is private (not as private as it used to be), but it’s mine. There is a fence all the way around it that says “holler over” or “stay out” depending on the time of day. And back here, I can parade around anyway I like. That’s the law. (I think) So back here, I roll my tankini up to become a makeshift bikini and I bask in the Florida sunshine. I float in lazy circles in the blow-up pool, padding off the vinyl walls. I hold my breath and open my failing eyes and stare at my underwater toes….I used to have a mermaid tail and these forty something toes with red polish look silly on this temporary ocean floor. I try it with my glasses on. Big Bad underwater Blur. I float. Eyes to God. Rump drifting vicariously close to the river’s floor. I am a mermaid. And when my fingers wrinkle and the phone rings, I plod up the ladder and park my “out of water” body on the deck. All washed up. Periwinkles and sandspurs at my feet.
By night, the only tell-tale sign of the real me is the leopard skin tan. Mermaids tan evenly. Old ones don’t tan in the folds.