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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Excerpt

I've spent some time in Wasaga Beach writing a book. A teen detective story. An excerpt:

“You're being a baby. I don't believe you.”

“It's not practical.” Noa looks at herself in the mirror. She feels as if she's wearing a costume. It's the first time she's put on a two-piece bathing suit. Rachel insists that she needs to wear one if she's going to look older. Jack's friends are all eighteen and nineteen. Noa looks at herself, noticing her body, a pencil-marked moment, a memory of brushing her teeth, noticing her head was well above the faucet.

“I don't get you. You never wanted to? It was a big deal when my parents caved in.”

“I still think it's going to come off on the slide.” Noa turns sideways and notices a three-year old watching her. The child is wearing massive water wings and her hair is tied in a haphazard bundle near the top of her head. Noa strikes a pose to ask for an opinion. The child looks at her blankly.

“That yellow one would have, it's not really for swimming. But this was has this.” Rachel says, snapping the strap on her cousin's bathing suit. “You still might want to hold it when you go.”

Noa nods instead of drawing attention to the absurdity of a swimsuit not made for swimming. “I'll take them,” she concludes, shaking her head, “this one and the blue one.” Rachel raises her hands in victory, picking it off the rack, filled with the satisfaction of taking her older cousin shopping for bathing suits. “On one condition. If I ever make that face while wearing it,” Noa points to an advertisement where a bikini model curls her lips back in a mock growl, “you have to shoot me.”

“Agreed.”

Noa tries not to think about how she paid so much money for so little fabric. She tries not to think how often young girls looked in the same mirror and sucked in their stomachs, feeling inadequate. She tries to focus on Rachel's excitement, the sense of ritual, wondering if a passing thought might have been an important lesson. It wasn't a test that she could write, or an answer that she could figure out. It had nothing to do with responsibility, capability, or awareness. In the end, it is simply the size and shape of her body that makes her an adult.

1 comment:

lfar said...

I love when you post excerpts. What about that one book you were posting chapter by chapter? I miss that one. Please post more!

As an aside, I'd like to share my bathing suit conundrum. Obviously bikinis are less than practical. I wear my one piece to my swim training group, or when I'm at the pool to do laps. But when I'm at the beach or a pool party or something I wear a two piece because I feel that if I wear a one piece people will assume it's out of modesty, or shame for my body. I definitely am not ashamed of my body, but I feel like the only way people would believe I'm wearing my one piece out of practicality instead of shame would be if I was crazy skinny and undeniably smokin'. I guess I'd rather show people that I love my body than be practical. Though being practical is central to my personality, so maybe I should rethink that.