As I stare at my fetchingly freckled toes on a balmy September’s day in Spain, I am suddenly struck by an acute sense of déjà vu.
No, Suzi, you fuckwit, you were here at the villa last year in the same week, except this year your toes are freckled in a checkered pattern that matches your sandals of choice whereas last year you enjoyed a slightly more stripy state of affairs.
On the positive side, unlike most of my peers, I appear to have been blessed with a lack of Scottish skin; five days in 30 Celsius weather and not a burn mark to be seen. I’m not sure if this is because my mother was lying when she told me the sun cream was only factor fifteen, or because I have possibly the most mediocre superpower in existence.
I’ll take the latter. Any superpower will do, at this stage.
The azure sky hums with activity at this time of the evening. Cicadas growl their displeasure at the autumn sun, a blazing beacon bearing down on their foliage fortresses, hidden in the greenery, willing it to retreat for the day. The spherical deity is of course deaf to their pleas; much like a petulant teenager, it does whatever the hell it likes, with little regard for the consequences.
A short time later, I fix my features and school them into what counts as passable attractiveness. I am never what one would consider beautiful, but in my current incarnation, it’s as close as I could ever hope for. Six foot one of nervousness and gnawed fingernails, freckles and fretfulness, limbs stretching every which way except those which could be considered desirable. Legs criss-crossed with self-inflicted scars that I would proclaim Tiger Stripes if I was of a stronger disposition. As it stands, however, I am not.
I pull a grimace and contort my face into an ugly caricature. Much easier! I smile at the happy creature in the mirror.
You’ll do. The ceiling fan murmurs in agreement. I pull my feet into sandals and wander downstairs.