SATURDAY JULY 17th
Liz and I woke around eleven o’clock with the sunshine streaming in our window. We decided to go to the pool right away and put on our bikinis. I examined my reflection in the mirror but unfortunately my breasts hadn’t grown in the week or in the heat of Spain. Having said that, the room was air conditioned. Maybe when I went outside . . . Everything expands in the heat after all.
However, Liz dashed this hope for me too. ‘Breasts aren’t made of mercury, Kelly Ann, so I don’t think going outside will make much difference. Here’ – she pulled some pink toilet paper from the roll – ‘use this. It’s the same colour as your bikini. Just remember to take it out before you go into the pool.’
I folded the paper into two wads, which I used to pack the cups of my bikini top, then eyed Liz’s double-D breasts enviously. ‘You’re so lucky, Liz.’
‘Stop looking at me like that, Kelly Ann, or people really will think you’re gay. Anyway, you’re the one that’s lucky. Loads of boys fancy slim girls. And you can eat anything you want. Talking of eating’ – she took two chocolate Creme Eggs out of her bag – ‘I bought our breakfast at the airport yesterday.’
After we’d had ‘breakfast’ I knocked on Mum and Dad’s door, but they were still in bed, probably sleeping off a hangover because of all the booze they’d drunk. Mum called grumpily through the door that we could go down to the pool by ourselves and told me to grab two sun loungers for her and Dad.
The place was already crowded but luckily there were four loungers left so we bagged them. Well, actually, only two definitely free but the others only had towels on them, which we quickly removed then stashed under a table by the pool café.
Liz wanted to sunbathe for a while, which I find kind of boring.
‘I’ve got to work on my tan first, Kelly Ann.’
Yeah, like it really takes a lot of effort just to lie and bake, but I didn’t argue as I know Liz loves getting a tan because she thinks it makes her look slimmer. ‘If you can’t tone it, tan it’ is her motto, so I settled down to read the magazine she had loaned me while I waited for her to decide when she’d toasted enough.
Was just reading about this season’s ‘must have’ strawberry-pink pumps, banana-yellow tops and tangerine skirts when Liz whispered, ‘Oh my God, Kelly Ann, look at that.’
I followed the direction of her gaze and saw a blonde, skinny woman who must have been at least as old as my mum bathing topless. Yuck. And she was with her two sons, one of whom looked about the same age as me and Liz. Oh God, how embarrassing. Yet the woman was behaving as though nothing was wrong at all; like it was, I don’t know, totally normal to flash your breasts at everyone, even complete strangers and your own sons. Gross.
I stared at her, horrified, as she sat eating a baguette; when some of the crumbs fell onto her boobs she just brushed them off with her hand like you would if you had your clothes on.
I suppose she must have noticed me gawping at her as she smiled at me. I looked away hurriedly and saw Mum coming towards us, fortunately wearing a proper swimsuit, so even though she had a fag in one hand and a Bacardi and Coke in the other, I smiled at her gratefully. Yeah, some people had even more embarrassing parents than me.
Mum settled in alongside us, leaving a space for Dad, and I went back to reading Liz’s magazine. As soon as Mum finished her drink and another two and a half fags she fell asleep with her mouth open like a basking shark as usual, then started to snore loudly. Normally I’d have been quite embarrassed but not now. As long as she kept her clothes on I didn’t care.
Tried to concentrate on the magazine as Liz has said I really do have to learn something about girl stuff like fashion and make-up, but it was just so boring. I mean, who really cares or can be bothered to line their lips and put on three coats of mascara? And only a total masochist would wear ‘killer heels’ that you can’t actually walk in without excruciating pain and probably permanent foot deformity.
I tossed Liz’s magazine aside and picked up my copy of PSW. Was happily reading reviews of the latest games when I was interrupted by Liz saying very loudly and clearly, ‘You know, Kelly Ann, it was so good of your parents to invite me on this holiday, especially as I have absolutely no connection to your family and am totally unrelated.’
What was Liz on about? I looked over at her but she was staring at something to the left of me; from her expression, it was something pretty disturbing. I followed her gaze and saw my dad walking towards us. At first I couldn’t see why Liz was bothered. He was wearing a T-shirt as his white skin burns in the sun, and a stupid-looking straw hat which was too big for him, but so what? Then my gaze travelled down. Oh. My. God. Instead of the normal navy blue, baggy boxer trunks that he’s worn on every holiday since I was six, he had tiny red lycra pants which were very, very tight and showed well, EVERYTHING!
I covered my face with the magazine, desperately hoping that if I couldn’t see him maybe he’d somehow magically disappear. No such luck. ‘Hi, girls. Enjoying yourselves?’ He settled himself in the lounger next to me. ‘Your mother’s been working hard again I see, Kelly Ann. Don’t know how she keeps up the pace.’
‘Dad,’ I hissed, still hiding my face behind the magazine, ‘where are your trunks?’
‘Bloody hell, don’t tell me I forget to put them on,’ Dad joked. ‘I knew there was something else I should have done this morning.’
‘You know what I’m talking about!’
‘Oh aye, the new trunks. They were your mother’s idea. Seems they’re all the fashion now because of some James Bond film. You don’t like them?’ I stood up and dropped the magazine on his lap, not very gently. ‘Cover yourself up, for God’s sake.’
Boiling with rage and shame, I stomped off and dived straight into the cool, blue pool. Oh God, that felt so good. At first anyway, but then I had to spend the next fifteen minutes straining bits of pink toilet paper from the water. A bunch of young kids helped me and seemed to enjoy the game, yelping and screaming as they caught tiny pieces of sodden tissue and brought them to me, making sure that absolutely everyone by the pool was aware of what had happened.
Finally a little blonde English girl of about four or five brought me the last pink shred, then advised me solemnly, ‘Toilet paper is for your bottom, not your boobies.’
Well, thanks for that. Still, as Liz said later, at least she is the first person to acknowledge that I do actually have breasts.
SUNDAY JULY 18th
Gave in yesterday and asked Mum to buy me a bikini from a children’s shop as I don’t want any more embarrassing pool episodes. Actually, the top is a bit small for me so what little cleavage I have is more noticeable. Also I am hoping that with a different bikini, baseball cap and dark glasses people might not recognize me.
Persuaded Dad to buy a huge, outsize and, more importantly, very long T-shirt for himself which I hoped would cover him up when he wears those disgusting lycra swimming trunks again.
Mum and Dad were sleeping off their hangovers again this morning so Liz and I went down to the pool by ourselves. Think my disguise worked as no one seemed to be staring at me and sniggering. Liz was disappointed there weren’t any boys around the pool with ‘snogging potential’. I think she meant for me rather than her as she is still determined I’m to lose my virgin lips this holiday.
After Liz had ‘worked on her tan’ we had a great time messing about in the pool and even got talking to a couple of boys from Liverpool who, though they were totally unfanciable (freckly and skinny) and had a weird accent, were a good laugh. They probably thought the same thing about us.
We had just been joined by some pals of the boys, one of whom was older and really good looking, when Liz nudged me. ‘Look, Kelly Ann.’
I glanced over and saw a very tall, well-built woman in a short white dress and straw hat walking towards us. She had the hairiest legs I’d ever seen. ‘God, yeah. I mean, she really should wax her legs.’
I started chatting to the boys again about Liverpool’s chances in the Premier League when I heard a familiar voice say, ‘So, girls, enjoying yourselves?’
I looked up. Dad! Oh my God. The ‘woman’ in the white dress was actually my dad in the very long T-shirt, which reached to mid thigh.
Dad gave the boys a hard, suspicious stare, which looked stupid rather than menacing, given his outfit, but luckily didn’t say anything to them or ask who they were. Instead he just said, ‘I’m off to get a beer. Want me to bring you two back an ice cream?’
‘No thanks!’ I said quickly, which drew an annoyed look from Liz but I didn’t care. Just wanted Dad to go away quickly and not come back.
‘Fair enough,’ he said and mercifully sauntered off.
As I sighed with relief the hot Liverpool guy asked, ‘Who was that?’
Oh my God, what to say? ‘No idea.’
He looked at my dad’s retreating back with disgust. ‘Pervert.’
‘Oh God, Liz,’ I whispered later, ‘I’ve publicly disowned my own dad. What kind of a person am I?’
Liz shrugged. ‘A totally realistic one. He was wearing a dress, Kelly Ann. Bloody hell, what else could you say?’
MONDAY JULY 19th
Finally my parents agreed to go to the beach today, although Mum moaned about how she couldn’t stand the sodding sand, which went sodding everywhere – even in unmentionable places which, in fact, she did mention. The good news, though, is that Dad was wearing a normal T-shirt as Mum had told him she wasn’t going anywhere with him ‘dressed in sodding drag’. He was also wearing his old, decent, navy blue trunks as she also said, ‘I bought you those red ones for a laugh when I was drunk, you eejit. Can’t you take a joke? Now cover yourself up and don’t affront me. You’re no James sodding Bond.’
The brochure had said the beach was a ‘stone’s throw’ from our hotel. Yeah, right. It took us nearly twenty minutes to walk there. Not even an Olympic discus champion could throw a stone that far. It also took us ages to find a shady spot for Dad as Mum refused to spend thirty euros on a ‘jumped-up umbrella’ and Dad doesn’t like the sun. Don’t know why my parents booked a beach holiday in Spain when they don’t like sand or sun, but there’s no understanding adult thinking sometimes.
Still, Liz and I had a great time there – well, we did after Liz had finished working on her tan, which meant when her skin changed from pink to red and started to peel.
After we’d had lunch Liz wanted to sunbathe again so I wandered off down the beach by myself. Suddenly found myself thinking about Chris, of all people, and how great it would be if we were friends again and he was here with me and Liz. While she sunbathed Chris and I could have kicked a ball about. Or maybe swum over to those rocks down the beach to look for crabs. I shook my head and sighed. He’s probably too grown up now to look for crabs. Most likely he’d have spent the whole time looking for girls and ignoring me.
Oh well, I supposed I could just investigate the rocks on my own. I put my hand above my eyes and squinted over to get a clearer view. Spotted a group of Spanish boys a bit older than me, who were diving off a large flat rock which jutted out into the sea. Decided to walk towards the rocks to get a closer look.
Unlike most Scottish guys, the Spanish boys all had dark brown skin and looked strong and muscular as they competed with each other to see who could jump from the highest rock or stay under the water the longest.
Mmm. Must say I really enjoyed looking at those boys. Especially the tallest one, who was also the best swimmer. Wonder what it would be like to have a boyfriend like that . . .
Later, they moved onto the beach near me and started to kick a football around. The ball rolled towards me at one point. I kicked it back to the tallest guy, who smiled and said, ‘Gracias.’
I watched them play for a while. After a few minutes the ball rolled in my direction again. Was going to kick it back to them but this time, for a laugh, I decided to make off with it.
They chased me, but though they soon caught up with me, I managed to keep the ball away from them for a while. They were impressed with my football skills, I think, so they let me join in their kickabout.
I was having a great time until three really posey girls arrived on the beach. They were all wearing totally ridiculous bikinis, which hardly covered anything and looked as though they’d dissolve if water touched them. Their sandals had heels (on the beach – I ask you!) and they all wore loads of make-up. I suppose they would have been really nice looking if they hadn’t looked so stupid – especially the way they walked, sort of wrapping one ankle round the other, which made their bums wiggle stupidly. No wonder one of them tripped and fell. Idiot.
But instead of laughing at how daft their get-ups were, the Spanish boys stopped playing and rushed over to see if the girl who’d tripped needed any help. I mean, she’d only fallen on sand, for God’s sake – how hard can that be? But the tallest guy made a huge fuss of her and rubbed her ankle while his friends got chatting to the other two girls. They were all smiles, the football and me forgotten.
I kicked the ball over to them, none too gently, but they didn’t even notice so I wandered off to find Liz, who had now fallen asleep. I nudged her awake. She rubbed her eyes and grumbled, ‘What’s wrong?’
I said, ‘Do you think I’m ugly, Liz?’
‘Of course not.’ She sat up. ‘Bloody annoying waking me up but not ugly, no.’
‘So would you say I was, well, quite nice looking then?’
‘Yeah, but that doesn’t mean I fancy you. What’s up with you anyway?’
‘God. I’ve just seen the most gorgeous Spanish guys on the beach. I think maybe you’re right about the sex-drive stuff. It is really, really important.’
‘Erm, Kelly Ann-‘ Liz said, looking over my shoulder.
‘You can’t see them from here,’ I interrupted. Then I continued, ‘But really. You’re definitely right. I mean’ – I giggled – ‘I wouldn’t shag a headless person like a praying mantis but I wouldn’t mind sucking the faces off those Spanish boys. Mmmm.’
Heard a voice behind me say grimly, ‘Glad to see you’ve got some standards, Kelly Ann. Now put on your T-shirt and let’s get back to the hotel.’
WEDNESDAY JULY 21st
There was a pool party tonight for adults and older kids with a free buffet and cheap drinks. Everyone went.
Had a great time until two of the reps announced the start of the karaoke.
Oh my God. Not karaoke. Please, God, don’t let my parents volunteer.
They were first up. Dad sang ‘Sex Bomb’ while thrusting his hips back and forth energetically. Mum didn’t sing. Instead, she circled round him, writhing about suggestively and waving her sarong.
I am never, ever going on holiday with my parents again. Even if social services have to take me into care for two weeks and I’m beaten to a bloody pulp every night by the other kids because my mum isn’t on methadone and I know my dad’s name. Never.
FRIDAY JULY 23rd
I am also never going to drink alcohol. Not after witnessing my parents making yet another total public spectacle of themselves. Started out fine last night when we went to a really classy restaurant, with proper tablecloths and candles on the table, plus polite waiters who held out our chairs for us and called me señorita. So nice.
We ordered a fish and rice dish called paella, which was delicious, and everything was fine until Mum, after drinking several glasses of red wine the size of buckets, complained about the soft guitar music being boring – didn’t they have something a bit livelier?
Next thing I knew she and Dad were screeching along to some stupid ‘Viva España’ song; then, oh my God, Mum got up on the table to dance. Oh God. Not again.
I begged her to stop but she just laughed at me and continued stamping her high heels and flailing her arms about in what was supposed to be an imitation of Spanish flamenco dancing but looked more like she’d trodden on an invisible wasps’ nest and was trying to fight them off.
Finally she tripped and tumbled face first into a large plate of paella.
Thank God we’ll be leaving the country next week. Obviously none of our family will ever be able to show our faces in Spain again.
THURSDAY JULY 29th
Last day and we went to the beach. Saw the Spanish boys again. They were with the posey girls and it was obvious they’d all paired up already. None of them noticed me. Like I was invisible or something.
Wondered if I could get their attention if I lined my lips, put on three coats of mascara and wore a nearly-not-there bikini with high heels. Hmm. Probably have to grow breasts first.
Have refused to go out to a restaurant with my parents tonight as I just can’t bear the mortification. Mum and Dad have said we can stay at the hotel provided we ‘behave ourselves’.
Bloody nerve. Like Liz and I were the ones making arses of ourselves every night!
It’s the last night for a lot of other people too and the holiday reps have organized an under-sixteens disco from eight o’clock until ten thirty. Mum says it’s fine for us to go but Dad was more worried. ‘Will there be young lads at this do?’
I mean, duh. ‘No, Dad, it’s a gay club. They’re very broad-minded in Europe.’
‘Aye, right, don’t give me any of your snash, young lady. You can go, but don’t be having anything to do with any boys, mind. Just you and Liz stick together.’
Honestly, Dad seems to think that every boy in Europe is just dying to get his hands on me. As if. Honestly, if only he knew how little he had to worry about. Most of the boys my age are totally so not hot, and the very few who are remotely fanciable wouldn’t notice me if I danced starkers in front of them. OK, well, not quite true. I guess they would notice me but probably not in a sgood way.
Rather than attempt to explain all this to Dad, I sighed and promised to behave myself.
Mum screeched on her way out, ‘Right, have fun, you two, but don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.’
Yeah, right. Suppose Liz and I won’t be able to go ahead with the bank heist or international terrorism we’d planned – but hey, just about anything else was still possible.
Then she added, ‘And don’t do anything I would do either.’
Hilarious. She cackled loudly at her own joke and made for the door. Dad just said, ‘Mind what I said now. No boys. Any problems, just call us at the restaurant. You’ve got the number.’
Then they left. Finally.
Liz and I got ready for the disco. She suggested I wear my one skirt (the pink one) so I’d look a bit more girly just in case a miracle happened and there were nice-looking available boys there. Even though it’s our last night, Liz hasn’t quite given up on the idea of me losing my virgin lips status on this holiday. She wore a low-cut white top (to show off her tan and other things) and a red skirt.
As usual at parties like that, there were twice as many girls as boys, and none of the boys were remotely fanciable except for two, who were OK looking and of course already surrounded by a large group of girls. So, just as I thought, there was nothing for Dad to worry about. Unfortunately.
But the music was good and I like dancing. I’m good at it too, probably because Mum used to send me to ballet classes for ages in an attempt to make me less boyish. I’d hated the naff dresses and stupid shoes but I loved the music and dance, though I prefer modern stuff now. Tonight, as usual, none of the boys were dancing so Liz and I just got started on our own.
I was having a good time but Liz was disappointed that there wasn’t any food at the party, just cans of Coke and fruit juice, so after about an hour she suggested we go off to our room and finish off the chocolate we’d stashed there, then come back.
We were just passing the boys’ toilets, which had a large OUT OF ORDER sign on it, when two of the Liverpool boys came out and invited us to join them inside for an alternative party. Yeah, right.
‘It’s OK,’ the smallest, freckliest one called Charlie told us. ‘There’s other girls here already. Look.’ He opened the door wide so we could see inside, and sure enough, there were four girls and two boys standing around talking and giggling while drinking something from white paper cups.
The place didn’t smell bad like the boys’ toilet at school so Liz and I decided to check it out.
Charlie handed us each an empty cup then ushered us into one of the cubicles. Liz and I looked at each other worriedly. He didn’t expect us to drink loo water, did he? I’d thought these Liverpool boys were quite normal before but maybe they weren’t. Maybe they were really weird English people – members of some disgusting cult who all drank from toilets as a kind of initiation thing. Well, they could forget it.
Was ready to run out when he surprised me by opening the cistern top to reveal a large jug of reddish liquid with bits of fruit mixed in, sitting in the water. ‘Great place to keep it cool,’ he explained. He pulled the jug out with a flourish. ‘Sangria. Give us your cups here.’
I shook my head. ‘No way. That’s got alcohol in it. It must do ‘cos I’ve seen my mum drink it.’
‘So?’ He poured the sangria into our cups. ‘That’s what makes it good. Brighten up this boring party a bit. Drink up before someone else grabs it!’
Liz looked hungrily at the fruit at the bottom of her cup. ‘I suppose we could just eat the fruit. That’s not alcoholic. Fruit’s good for you. Healthy.’
In the end I agreed to try it. The fruit didn’t taste like proper fruit as it was kind of mushy, but it didn’t smell disgusting or taste really gross like beer or whisky. The juice didn’t stink either, like proper alcohol would, so we decided we might as well drink it. Everyone else was, and they seemed to think it was OK. Like the fruit, the juice didn’t taste quite right but we downed it anyway and Charlie filled our cups again.
Funny thing was, the second cup tasted much, much better than the first. So good in fact that we demanded another two before heading back to the party.
And what a fantastic party it was. Everyone seemed friendlier and funnier, the music was brill, and I did my best dancing ever. So good in fact that I got up on the pool table so everyone could see me. Unfortunately one of the boring reps insisted I get down in case I damaged myself or the table. Honestly.
Liz argued with him. ‘Holiday weps are shupposed to be extwoverts, not misherable shocks and snicker ironin’ intwoverts.’ But the guy didn’t seem to understand her. You’d think they’d hire reps with better English, for God’s sake.
Still, getting back on the floor allowed me to try out some break dancing. I’ve never tried it before as I always thought it looked a bit difficult, but it turned out to be a lot easier than I’d imagined. Everyone watched and applauded wildly me as I spun round on just one elbow, then jumped up and did a couple of forward rolls followed by two backward flips and a cartwheel. Some people took photographs; others whistled. Only the rep and Liz seemed to be trying to stop me. Wondered what was the matter with Liz. Maybe she was jealous of all the attention I was getting. Not like her though. Anyway, I was having way too much fun, so I ignored them, concentrating instead on the roars of approval from the rest of my audience.
After dancing on my hands I tried a double forward flip but unfortunately didn’t quite make it and fell, bumping my head. Surprisingly it wasn’t painful, and though I was now feeling a bit dizzy, I thought I’d give it another try. However, Liz had got hold of me and hissed in my ear, ‘Kelly Ann, you’re wearing a shirt. Member.’
Shirtmember? What was Liz on about? She must be drunk.
Tried to shake her off but she clutched at me desperately, then pointed to my skirt. Oh my God, I was wearing a skirt. And I’d been dancing upside down.
FRIDAY JULY 30th
Woke up this morning feeling awful. Had a sore head, felt sick, and my tongue seemed to be stuck to the roof of my mouth. Also my whole body felt as though someone had battered me with a baseball bat. Obviously I was seriously ill and someone would have to call for an ambulance.
I opened my eyes but instantly closed them again, drawing the sheet back over my head. The room was bathed in sunlight so bright it hurt my eyes. Must have forgotten to close the blinds last night. And, oh yes, bright sunlight, so I was still in Spain and not back home in Glasgow. Wonder what the Spanish for ambulance is. Wish I’d done Spanish instead of French at school, then I would be able to call for help. Strange to think I might die just because of choosing the wrong subjects in second year. I twisted round in my sweaty sheets to lie face down on my pillow, but that just made me feel more nauseous so I turned onto my back again, which made my head throb.
Well, I didn’t care about dying any more. I can totally see why euthanasia is a really good thing. What is the point of my continued existence when I feel this bad? My quality of life is rubbish and I’d be better off dead.
I suppose my parents would have to fly my body back home but how would they get my coffin onto the plane? There was hardly room for me sitting on my seat, never mind lying out in a large wooden box. Maybe if they laid it across their knees? But no, a coffin on the plane would freak people out. There must be somewhere else to put them.
I stretched over and nudged Liz awake. ‘Liz, where do coffins go on planes?’
Liz said, ‘Leavemelonengoway.’
Hmm. Maybe they’d put my body in the same place as the luggage, though I’ve heard it gets very cold there. Also they’d probably lose the coffin and I’d end up in, like, Guatemala, alone and frozen like a large fish finger.
I prodded Liz awake again. ‘I don’t want to die, Liz. Have you got a Spanish phrase book?’
She groaned and sat up. ‘You’re not going to die, you idiot. You’re just hung over. From the sangria.’
This was a hangover? Oh my God. Maybe I should have been nicer to Mum and Dad in the mornings.
At last we were on the plane back to Glasgow. Am feeling a bit better now but can’t wait to get home to dull grey skies and cans of Irn Bru, which I’d had a craving for all day. Fortunately Mum and Dad didn’t notice that anything was wrong with Liz or me. Mum just said we were a pair of grumpy buggers today. Dad laughed and said, ‘No change there then.’ He was a bit suspicious when we kept our sunglasses on inside the airport though.
Now that I was feeling a bit better I started to think about what an idiot I’d made of myself last night.
‘Oh God, Liz,’ I whispered. ‘I suppose everyone must have seen my knickers.’
Liz nodded. ‘Yeah. Everyone. Still, at least they were the same colour as your skirt.’
‘What difference does that make?’
‘Hmm. None really, except that you looked sort of coordinated. Unlike your dancing.’
Obviously I could never go to Spain again. Or (after Liz showed me the picture Charlie had taken on his mobile – and thoughtfully sent to Liz – of me doing a one-handed cartwheel) Liverpool.
SATURDAY JULY 31st
Was awake for ages last night. Couldn’t stop thinking about the total embarrassment of my stupid dancing at the party. Eventually I decided that no one there knew me and I never needed to see any of them again.
Exhausted, I was almost drifting off to sleep when the Spanish boys at the beach popped into my head. They were just so gorgeous. Especially the tallest one. Mmmm – just remembering how his strong, tanned body looked as he dived off the rocks into the ocean made me feel all hot and sweaty. In a very nice way.
I really would love to have a boyfriend like that. And not just to shut Shelly up or so I can fit in with friends who’ve all dated someone by now. No. I wanted a boyfriend just for me. And if I had to wear make-up, five-inch heels and a bikini that looked as though it had been made from three miniature post-it notes and some dental floss, then so be it.
I suppose, at last, I really am growing up. Maybe Mum would be pleased if she knew. Don’t think Dad would though.