Chapter 19 ~ Two Gray Hairs and a Modest Bathing Suit
Grace stood in front of the bathroom mirror staring at the image. Her first thought was this is how my grandmother dressed to go swimming. She wore a modest one piece bathing dark blue bathing suit. She took a deep breath and looked at her auburn brown hair, She didn’t notice the deep richness of her hair, instead she saw only two hairs, both gray, just off the center of her forehead. She played with them, tucking them under, then restyling her hair. “Oh hell, I’m not going to pull them. If Brad doesn’t like them, too bad.”
She looked at her face. It was still there, all the cream in the world wasn’t going to make the tiny line next to her right eye disappear. She wore no makeup. Her eyes moved to her figure. She gave a small smile, and thought, I may be small but they’re real.
Why is Jane competing with me? She’s married. She’s taking her flirting too far. Why did she set me up with Brad, if this was her plan? Maybe that was it. They only way she could get to be with Brad and make a play for him was to use me as a pretext. No, Jane wouldn’t do that, would she? Grace started to feel faint. She sat on the toilet and began deep breathing. She knew she had to get herself under control.
Five minutes of deep breathing and Grace began to feel better. She stood up and faced the mirror. She stared at her reflection in the mirror and said, “You look, girl. This is who you are. If Brad doesn’t like who you are then too bad. You are not going to be something you’re not. You are who you are. Now go out there and ignore Jane. You were a lifeguard, give Jane and Brad and good thrashing.”
Grace suddenly felt a deep sense of peace come over her. She didn’t have to compete with anyone. And, she wouldn’t be caught dead in a fringe bikini. She laughed at her jealousy or was it envy toward Jane. She wasn’t quite sure. Jane was everything she wasn’t. Jane was self assured, outgoing, flirtatious, adventurous, and didn’t have a care in the world.
“You and Matt are all you got, girl. Toughen up, that’s what Mike would tell you if he were here. Oh God, I wish he was here with Matt and me,” Grace said out loud to no one.
Grace walked to the cabin door, opened it and looked toward the lake. Jane was still there. Now Jane was standing, facing toward the east with her arms outstretched welcoming the sun. Grace wondered how long Jane could hold that pose. She didn’t have to wait long.
She caught a glimpse of Brad and Matt sprinting toward the lake. Oh, oh, she thought, they’re going to dive right in and start swimming for the raft. No head start, not on my watch, she said to herself. Grace took off for the water, Brad and Matt were already ten yards in front of her.
When Brad and Matt were five yards from the water, Brad called out, “Race is on.”
Brad and Matt ran full speed into the water. Once they were waist deep they dove in and began swimming the fifty yards to the raft. Jane dropped her arms, pivoted and ran into the water. Grace was the last one in. She didn’t care. When the water touched her thighs, she dove and began swimming.
Grace’s body was perfectly parallel to the bottom of the lake and her strokes were long and powerful. She looked like a shark cutting through the water. She caught a quick glimpse of Jane thrashing through the water. Grace glided by Jane as if Jane were floating. She paid no attention to Brad and Matt. Grace knew Matt was a good swimmer. If it wasn’t for summer basketball league, he would have been on the swim team. The swim coach pleaded with her to change Matt’s mind.
Grace caught Brad and Matt ten yards from the raft, when she turned her head to breath, she caught a smile from Brad. She gave her last bit of effort, and touched the raft. She placed her hand on the raft and turned. Brad touched it, followed quickly by Matt. Jane was halfway across plodding along. Grace, Matt, and Brad climbed on the raft.
“Looks like I’ll be getting a free coffee, said Grace.
“Mom, Brad let you win. Didn’t you, Brad?” said Matt.
“Your mom beat me fair and square. She’s a very good swimmer. Did you swim competitively, Grace?” said Matt.
Before Grace could answer, Jane screamed from lake, “Brad, I think I have a cramp in my thigh. Help me. Please help me.” Jane was waving her hand frantically.
Before Grace could react, Brad was in the water. He was not playing around, he cut through water like a heated knife through a stick of butter. Grace realized Brad took it easy on Matt and her. She didn’t think Jane was in any trouble. She’d seen Jane swim laps in a pool. She wasn’t a great swimmer, but she wasn’t afraid of the water and knew how handle herself in case of trouble.
Grace watched the muscles on Brad’s back and shoulders gracefully rising and falling with each stroke. His kick was effortless. He quickly reached Jane. He swam behind her and slid his arms under Jane’s arms, reached across her chest and grabbed hold of her shoulders and began to swim the sidestroke toward the raft.
When he reached the raft, Brad placed his hand on the raft and said, “Jane, you’re safe. I’m going to let you go. Grab hold of Grace’s hand. She’ll help pull you onto the raft.”
Grace reached down and grabbed Jane’s hand. Jane gave her smile like a rattlesnake waiting to strike gives its prey. Grace gave Jane’s arm a good yank.
Jane yelped, “Owe, Grace. Watch it. That hurt.”
“I’m sorry, Jane. I didn’t realize my strength,” said Grace.
Jane rolled onto the raft, lifted herself to her knees, and turned her face into a grotesque look of pain as she struggled to get to her feet. Grace thought Jane was auditioning for a part in an upcoming movie. It was an Oscar worthy performance.
“How do you feel, Jane?” said Brad.
Jane put her arms around Brad’s neck and clung to him, she sobbed, “I was going to drown and you saved me. What can I ever do to repay you?”
Grace felt like sticking her finger down her throat. Instead, she watched the scene play out.
Brad plied Jane off of him and said, “Jane, you’re too weak to swim back to shore with us. I’ll have Larry take a canoe and come and get you. Grace and Matt and I will be in the coffee shop if you feel up to joining us.”
Grace said, “That’s a good idea Brad. Jane is worn out fighting her leg cramps. You need to relax or take a nap, Jane. You’re not a spring chicken anymore.”
If eyes were a licensed weapon, Jane would be charged with manslaughter one and Grace would be the victim.
Matt said, “The race is on to the shore.” He leaped off the raft and headed toward shore.