Contest RecapMidlife Collage sponsors a weekly contest of midlife short stories. U.S. citizens and legal residents age 40 and older may enter. The Editor selects five stories for publication on our website each week. Readers leave comments and Facebook thumbs-up likes urging the panel of Judges to choose a contest winner. Readers also send the Judges their opinions of the best story on our Closing Arguments page. The contest period is Monday through Sunday noon PT. The first-place story enters the Winner’s Circle and receives a cash prize of $50. Winners of a $50 cash prize are eliglble for a $100 contest, which we run quarterly. See the Submissions Page for the Contest Rules for details. ANYONE, worldwide, age 18 or older can comment on the stories in a contest.
I was swimming at a Cancun resort when I exited the pool for a bathroom break. In the stall, I removed my cover-up and looked for a place to hang it. There was no hook. The stall door was too high to sling my cover-up over it, so I folded it and held it between my teeth.
I ripped off several strips of toilet paper and placed them on the seat the way my mother taught me, because everyone knows that toilet paper is the prophylactic most doctors recommend to prevent venereal diseases.
I was wearing a one-piece industrial-strength bathing suit that had been crafted to conceal rather than reveal, which pretty much guaranteed that men’s eyes would avert, and not flirt, ignore and not explore. It was the style worn by matronly, plump women who would be only too happy to pierce one of their own eyes with a fish hook if doing so promised that she would once again fit nicely into a bikini.
I stuck my thumbs under my soaking wet steel-belted straps, forced them down over my shoulders and jimmied my elbows out from under.
I wondered why God, in His Infinite Wisdom, had opted to create boneless breasts. Other than to nurse infants and titillate men, they were useless. Boneless breasts are only good in chicken recipes. I have to jam them into horribly uncomfortable constricting bras, and when I lie on my stomach, on the beach, I’m forced to scoop out holes for them to rest in the sand or they get squished. If my breasts had bones, they could have assisted me in my struggle by pulling themselves out of the suit. Instead, they hung there acting as though they were not involved, and did nothing more than get in the way of the cover-up that was still dangling from my teeth.
I took a deep breath and continued to push the suit down where it refused to go. I pushed, and wiggled, but it remained dormant.
Time had become an issue.
Several more gigantic shoves and it slid down to the floor, just in a nick of time. My toughest challenges lay ahead.
I bent over and grabbed hold of the sopping wet coil hugging my ankles, but the wad of fabric in my mouth made it impossible to see what I was doing. A solid five minutes of backbreaking tugging got the suit back up to my hips, but no further. I was trapped in a Mexican toilet and held hostage by a floral print boa constructor.
I wondered if my husband had noticed how long I’d been gone. I thought about shouting, but I wasn’t about to let anyone rescue me in this condition.
It was then I saw the pipes on the wall in back of the toilet that I hadn’t noticed before. I removed the cover-up from my teeth, tucked it between the pipes and returned to do battle with my bathing suit.
Several lifetimes later, I succeeded in getting the suit all the way up, no thanks to my two useless girls. I reached for my cover-up, and then the unthinkable happened. It slipped from my fingers and dropped into the toilet. What to do? Who was I kidding? That cover-up could have been a diamond encrusted Diane von Furstenberg original and there was no way in hell I was going after it.
I exited the restroom and walked toward my lounge chair. As I prepared to sit, a woman several chairs away beckoned to me.
“Excuse me,” she smiled. “I don’t want to embarrass you but there’s a long strip of toilet tissue stuck to your back and another one behind your right thigh.”
Thank you didn’t seem appropriate, so I giggled and reached for the wet paper on my back. When it only came off in tiny strips, I asked for my husband’s help. As he peeled off paper he said, “I understand how it may have attached itself to the back of your thigh but I’m anxious to hear how it got stuck to your back and shoulders.”
I picked up my sunglasses, hat, and book, and dropped back into my lounge chair. “It’s not something I care to discuss.”