El Salvador


It’s approximately 12 midday, and 112 degrees, and I’m sitting in the hot tub trying to relieve some pain I have in my right shoulder blade, when a woman walks up to the tub, puts her right foot down on to the top step and calls down to me, ‘I’m not touching that hand rail. Not in this heat,’
The woman, who is wearing a floppy white raffia sun hat with a green band, black Jackie O-style sunglasses and a full piece red white and blue patterned bathing costume that features a skirt which makes her look like an inflated toddler, holds both her hands up in the air above the handrail, in a way that looks like the handrail has a gun and is conducting a stick up on her.
‘No,’ I say looking up at her, ‘metal conducts heat,’
‘Where are you from?’ she says to me as she moves her left leg down into the hot tub, placing it on the step next to her right, ‘is it England or Australia?’
I tell the woman I am originally from Australia but spent a good deal of time in England, thus the accent,’
‘I’ve never been,’ she tells me, pausing for a moment until she follows with, ‘Are you just here for the weekend?’
I tell her yes, I am here for the weekend and then the woman lets me in on some more information about herself.
‘I’m here for the union weekend,’ she says, offering me up the acronym of the teachers union she belongs to, ‘but we won’t be coming to this resort next year,’
Then she tells me that the resort isn’t unionized, and the resort they had held their conferences at before this one had been refurbished and had reopened without a union so they hadn’t been able to stay there, either.
‘We’re a union so it does not seem right to hold a union conference at a non-unionized facility. So we’ll probably hold the conference in L.A from now on,’ she lets me know, ‘which won’t be as much fun…but,’
Then she tells me she is getting a quick swim in during a break, that she had already eaten a sandwich.
Then, after she asks me what I do and I say artist, she tells me her boyfriend is from El Salvador and he too is in artist.
‘We’re going this fall break,’ she tells me of El Salvador, ‘he’s pretty well known there,’
Then the woman, who has now lowered herself down and stands on the second step of the hot tub, tells me that her boyfriend painted a big mural on the wall of an El Salvadorian airport, the name of which I don’t catch.
‘He’s spent most of his life in L.A,’ the woman says, while I watch her intently as she lowers her body fully into the hot tub,’ ‘Do you live in L.A now?’
I nod my head at the woman and say ‘uh-huh’.
Then the woman tells me a few more facts about her and her boyfriend until I interrupt her to tell her that shortly the timer will go off on the hot tub and the jets will cease and I point to the timer switch on the wall.
‘There’s the switch,’ I tell her, standing to leave the hot tub, unexpectedly uncomfortable with the woman and her questions and informational ways.
‘Yes,’ says the woman as she stares over at the hot tub timer switch on the wall, ‘it was nice talking to you,’
‘Goodbye,’ I say, not looking back, as I exit the hot tub.
And then I turn and look down into the hot tub, at the woman, and for some reason I lie and tell her it has been nice talking to her
‘Good luck,’ calls the woman in the white sun hat and red white and blue bathing suit, ‘with your life in L.A.’

One comment

  1. butters

    Hi Toni

    Not sure I’ve told you this… but… back in 1987, my mum scored herself an all-in-one Shell Suit… She was brave enough to wear it on the same day my mates mum [across the road] decided to throw a garden sale…

    Lynne [my Mum] decide to sell ALL my toys at that sale…

    In amongst those item was ALL my StarWars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox etc…

    None of this shit sold but and my mate still has this stuff to this day… What should I do?!

    Incidentally my mother got stung by a wasp during that day… ALLINONE

    Kind regards


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