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A Country Girl 2012


SWINGING. CONDONED ADULTERY. My husband and I had swung once before. We werenít civilians, thatís for sure. So we knew the score when we met the Ramsays down in Florida.
      We were on our Christmas vacation. Same as they were. We met at a campsite on Ramrod Key. We had pitched our tent the night before; they arrived the next day in a VW bus.
      I was standing on the beach, the wind blowing my hair, when suddenly I was approached by an extraordinarily good-looking man. Lean, excellent physique. Thin classic nose, mouth, blue eyes, brown hair. A dashing, flashing lad, one that could make me twinkle in an instant. However.
      He said: Hi! extending his hand, white smile on his handsome face, Iím Neil. How are you?
      I smile. Such a pleasure to be taken on by this good-looking boy out of nowhere.
      How do you do? I smile. My hair blowing in the wind. Oh! Holding hands briefly. My name is Angela.
      Are you staying long?
      Before I can answer his wife appears at his elbow, a smiling round brown-haired dumpling. Nothing to look at. Short legs, plump face. No feature to hold on to.
      Jesus. Without thinking I wonder how this guy can be married to her? And again without thinking, I am thinking: Heís much better looking than my husband.
      He reminds me of someone. I know he does.
      Hi! his wife says, the friendliest girl around, broad smile, bubbling with enthusiasm. Weíre here on vacation. Weíre teachers. Iím collecting specimens. She has a jar of water in her hand and a tiny sandworm in it. She holds up the jar.
      Oh, thatís nice, I say. I appreciate sandworms because I took a course in invertebrate zoology in school.
      Weíre science teachers.
      Oh really?
      Yes. Neil teaches grade ten science and I teach grade twelve biology. Iím trying to collect a few specimens for my class.
      She has a beaming smile, small blue eyes and turned-up nose. Not ugly. But ordinary. Very friendly. Her husband? What a catastrophe! He is unfortunately extremely good-looking. I am a little, but only a little amazed. Sheís a very nice person.
      Her husband, bearing close at my shoulder, his bare feet pressing in the sand, says, What are you doing tonight?
      I look back at our orange alpine tent for two and say: Nothing.
      I see my husband bent emerging from our tent and coming toward us.
      I introduce my husband to the new couple and Neil moves in quickly applying the same charm to my husband as he did to me.
      Is he bi? I think. Christ! Iíd like to see him in action. The Florida beach is beautiful on Ramrod Key. The waves crash in on the shore. The park ranger says there is a barracuda seventeen feet long off the beach between the island out there, which is perhaps five hundred feet away.
      I am terrified when I go in the water. Staring down into the clear turquoise green water at the sand bottom. Watching each of my toes sink into the tan sand. Waiting to be attacked.
      They have a VW bus.
      We do this every year, his wife says around the campfire we have built that same night on the beach in front of our tent. This is our third year.
      Theyíre from Georgia. They have a southern accent, which I find enchanting. We are Canadians. From the north. You know, where they ski. Yes, thatís us. No we donít ski.
      You talk funny, he says, the glow of the fire on his face. When you talk your voice rises in an inflection as if you are asking a question.
      Oh? I laugh. I hadnít noticed, but then it becomes obvious. Well, I say, trying to find a reason, the French Canadians do that and yes, remembering an English girl I knew, the British too.
      Itís cute, he says. I like it. Itís as though you are unsure of yourself.
      I laugh a little. Yes, I am unsure of myself. I bite my nails. It is dark around the fire. No one can see my bitten nails.
      We talk about my husbandís work. He is a medical student. There are always a lot of anecdotes to tell when you are in medicine.
      Yes, hereís a good one. Talking about cutting up their corpse in anatomy. There were six of them on this body. An old woman.
      Shriveled breasts, my husband says.
      Yes! They laugh.
      In medicine you get to see a lot of breasts. A lot of cunts.
      You get used to it, my husband says.
      We all giggle.
      Weíre getting the inside story. What itís like to feel up a girl. Stick your fingers in her cunt and feel up her ovaries.
      I donít know, Neil says. Imagine getting used to that!
      They think this is great.
      Whatís it like up in Canada? he says in his sweet Georgia accent. This drawl is getting to me. Fuck you. Well. We arenít freaks you know or Eskimos, weíre just like you.
      Whatís the morality like there? Ah, yes. Moving in. Do they screw around a lot in Canada? Drink a lot? We are drinking some homemade grape wine they brought with them. It is very good. Strong, grapy; lightly sweet.
      We search our minds.
      What do we know about Canadian morality? Weíve fucked around ourselves, but do we represent Canada?
      Itís about the same, my husband says. Canadians drink a lot. Theyíre great beer drinkers.
      Weíve had some parties, Neil says. He is eager, looking up over the fire, his eyes sparkling. Beth and I would go to a dance, you know one with three bands on three floors moving up from one level to the next drinking ourselves silly.
      This is a grade ten science teacher from Georgia. A prize of a male specimen if I ever saw one. Oh, yes. A sweetheart. I bet he has hair on his chest, I think. Not a lot. But just enough that I could bite them with my teeth moving up to his throat. Then his lips.
      Silence. Complete silence. The tide is out. We go down to look at the specimens laid bare on the tidal flat. There is a full moon. Salty air.
      Look what I found here! his wife says.
      Oh! Itís a sea urchin.
      She puts it into a jar. Iíll have to save this. Walking barefoot in the sand on the coral stones, the moonlight pooled white on the sand. Gray shadows. Moon shadows.
      His wife and I walk up to the can. The cement outhouse. Shadows so bright in the moonlight. The sea grapes by the cement house casting shadows on the sand.
      You could read by this light, Beth says. The palm trees sharply etched across the path.
      We are excited. On the way back we do a little dance on the path in the moonlight. She brushes against me and laughs.
      We arenít ready for children yet, she says. Weíre having too much fun.
      Neither are we! Weíve been married two years, screwing four.
      Really? She laughs. Sometime before Iím thirty Iíll have one. Not now! Ha! Ha! Waving on the moon-shadowed sand path. Clear, bright. Such a glow. The whole camp asleep. Tents and trailers silent in the moonglow.
      Sitting around the fire with the boys. Our voices are the only voices on the beach.
      They must carry, I say, giggling. Weíre talking so loud. The wine is going down.
      Neil says: Weíd have this couple over to our trailer. They live in a trailer. They are building their own house on the weekends and every spare moment. I can see Neilís sharp nose, wide mouth, arms moving over his house.
      Grade ten science teacher. Sex bomb builds his own house. Headlines.

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