What’s It To You?
By Liz Sheffield
She quickly realized that the only other nudists on the beach were all men. Seeing this, Sara stumbled as one of her pink flip flops became stuck in one of the rocks. Staggering, she caught herself just before plunging on all fours onto the rocky beach.
Thankful that she hadn’t yet removed her clothes, Sara continued to look for a place to mark as her territory on the beach.
“You okay?” one of the men asked as she walked past him.
Sara glanced in his direction, focusing only on the parts of his body that were above his collarbone.
She stops before finishing her sentence with, what’s it to you? But still, her voice conveys irritation.
“Your toe. It’s bleeding,” he says. Previously friendly, he is now decidedly curt. He returns to reading the magazine in his hand.
He was just being nice, she thinks.
Looking down she sees that her big toe is covered in blood but she keeps walking to the far end of the beach. Her sunglasses mask her eyes as she blinks faster and faster in an attempt to stop the tears. She reaches to undo her ponytail – a distraction from the naked bodies along the beach. Her long, black hair, with a few strands of white, drops to her shoulders and comes to the sides of her face if she leans forward.
A make-shift shelter crafted by a previous beach-goer is nestled towards the back of the beach. Stacks of driftwood make up three walls that are as high as Sara’s hips. There is no fourth wall, instead the front is open, facing the water. She claims this shelter as her spot.
Throwing her bag and towel on the sand Sara finally allows herself to think of what brought her here – Ken’s box in the garage. How he could have left it she’s not sure. When he and his buddies came with the U-Haul last weekend, everything had been in one part of the garage, the boxes were clearly marked and easy to recognize as his. Surely her ex-husband hadn’t purposefully left a box full of his porn magazines on her garage floor so that she would find them. Or, maybe that was exactly his intent.
Ten years ago the magazines hadn’t seemed so bad – Sara figured most guys looked at those. Then, she started to find the receipts from strip clubs and the charges for online chat rooms that were anything but innocent. When she’d finally asked him, begged him to look at her instead of these other women, he had laughed.
Forget him. Forget his magazines. Forget those other women.
Sara stepped out of the shelter of the driftwood and strode to the surf. If she stopped to think about her bare legs, her bare breasts, her bare everything she knew she would run back for her towel. So she didn’t think. At the water’s edge, she winced as the saltwater covered her toe. She plunged in, striding further into the surf so that the waves came to her shins, her knees, her thighs and finally her waist. Arms wide, Sara leaned back and began to float, soothed by the sounds of the surf soaking into her ears.