i started watching those videos from The Fine Bros of teens react to...and damn there’s this girl named Rachel and fuck she’s beautiful tho hahahaha i mean, she have a really beautiful smile to be honest and her eyes are pretty too, and most of the opinions i agree with them so..i mean she’s pretty and have nice opinions, that’s totally attractive xD i have another impossible crush damn /adds to the list/
The Deets: Schoolboy Steven, activate! Steven finds himself enrolled in Connie’s school after a show-and-tell lesson goes awry…and things just get crazier from there! Steven is having a hard time fitting in with normal school and Connie just wants to graduate with good grades and a clean record, but when gem and homework collide, who knows what will happen. This is a lesson you don’t want to miss!
Beth met Georgia at the Lake House pool when Beth was teaching her youngest to swim. The kid was a fast learner, fearless in the water, a proper New Zealand sprog, unlike her sibling who just floated around on her back like a victim to pollution. Georgia, out of puff from one length of breast stroke, hadn’t managed to overtake the little one, hooked her feet into the ladder at the shallow end and watched the light reflected from the water dancing on the high ceiling. The kid splashed by, her red hair escaped from her bathing cap, clinging to her face in flat tentacles, said Georgia was a cheat. Georgia called her a natural born fish and Beth agreed:
‘Water birth, Pisces to boot, and named her Morgan, after the Welsh.’
Georgia wondered what the Welsh had to do with fish but Beth must have guessed; explained: ‘Means of the sea,’ though she had expected Georgia to have known, being English and all. They were neighbours of sorts.
‘Figures,’ Georgia said, and wondered, coincidence or fate?
The two women got to talking about star signs. Georgia wasn’t a true believer but Beth said she had proof and told Georgia all about her father. Georgia listened, made concerned faces, sound in the appropriate places. She was glad she didn’t have to talk about herself for once, and it was an inspiring tale. It explained where the child inherited her hair.
Beth was pleased to have someone to tell it all to like this, someone who didn’t interrupt to exchange comparative experiences, incomparable anecdotes. Georgia was a good listener. She had a contemplative, quiet face, Beth thought, shrewd, intelligent eyes, a wry mouth – yes, but one which didn’t let out what it knew – sensitive features. Georgia would make a good friend.
For months they met each Monday. Sometimes Beth brought the kids, sometimes she didn’t. On the times it was just the two of them, Beth dawdled in the pool, getting out only when they had to, when the aqua aerobics class began. They could have gone into the hot tub but every guy Beth watched get out walked to the changing rooms with a towel held over his thing. Instead, she changed slowly to delay the routine they had developed of leaving the change room together, noticing a rogue whisker on her left nipple and considered it a token of feminine defiance, though she wasn’t really sure what her stance on feminism really was. She stopped short of asking Georgia’s opinion but hoped her friend would notice and give her justification to laugh it off. Georgia seemed to be entranced by the strip lighting, conversation having petered out, so Beth suggested extending the chat with coffee from the vending machine.
They sat poolside on plastic chairs, sipped coffee tasting of vegetable soup, to watch the selection box of large ladies ripple to the beat as Madonna thumped out the groove.
‘Look at that one,’ Beth said, ‘she’s hardly making the water move. What’s that on her back?’
Georgia looked. ‘Gray’s Anatomy?’ The tattoo depicted backbone, guts, internal organs exposed through lack of suit.
‘She doesn’t look like she should be in there,’ Beth said.
Georgia agreed, ‘She’s beautiful.’
Beth sniffed, ‘Slim.’
‘I know,’ Georgia said, ‘you can see her ribs.’
Beth was a little piqued, of all the things she’d said, none had raised so much as a smile from Georgia. And this, the most her friend had ever said, was about a stranger.
Over time Beth became curious to know a little more about Georgia, after all, Beth had given so much of herself, it was natural to want some personal detail in return to balance the trust invested. Georgia tried to appease her friend’s curiosity with as little information as possible. She liked flowers, tall buildings and shopping. Actually, she liked putting shopping trolleys into random, often obscure places, although she didn’t say this. Beth got the feeling Georgia liked the details of things more than the whole picture so that it didn’t worry Beth if she told her life story out of sequence which is how she ended up talking all around her life, her parents, their parents, her education, her infancy, without once mentioning her kids’ fathers.
One day, out of the blue, Georgia said she’d met someone.
‘Oh?’ Beth said, ‘What star sign?’ ‘Taurus,’ Georgia said. Beth tutted, shook her head, swam two lengths and said, ‘It’ll never last. He’ll use you, get you pregnant and dump you, mark my words.’
Georgia didn’t feel like swimming after that, said she had cramp and went to change.
Georgia didn’t turn up the following Monday.
She wasn’t there the next week, or the one after that.
A month later, Beth came out of the changing room and saw Georgia in the deep end with a black haired man. He had a hairless chest and was wearing white trunks in the style of fitted boxer shorts, the design was clear even through the distortion of the water, and he had an animal’s skull tattooed on his back. After instructing her children to hold hands, not to move, Beth halcyon dove, grabbed Georgia by the black suited waist, and dragged her to the ladder. The lifeguard, a blaze of yellow and red (like rhubarb in custard or an angry zit), pulled them out, left Georgia fitting, took Beth to one side, demanded to know ‘What’s going on?’
‘Isn’t it obvious?’ Beth said.
Rachel J Fenton was shortlisted for the Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize, The Kathleen Grattan Prize, and won AUT’s Creative Writing Prize for her graphic fiction “Alchemy Hour”. She currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand.