The Glass of Milk and the Lobster, 1972, El Puerto de Santa Maria

It's 1972 and I'm sharing an apartment in El Puerto de Santa Maria with two teachers from the bilingual school where the three of us teach.

It's always hot here.  You can't escape the sun, for it reaches even to the back of your knees. I become redder and redder, and the freckles on my arms blossom forth like the morse code tapping fiercely some important message.

The teacher with the lovely complexion and quizzical stare gazes upon me.

"Do you know you're red?"

"Emm." I'm not sure if this is a rhetorical question. Doesn't everyone go red in the sun?

"And what are these things on your arms?" She touches my skin lightly as if afraid she'll catch this red disease she sees before her.

"Freckles."  I make a mental note to look up 'freckles' in the small red dictionary I carry around with me.

"You don't go brown?  Why not? Everyone goes brown."  She looks appalled.

I almost want to apologise for being so red, for not going brown, for not looking so gorgeous and beautiful as all the other senoritas who swagger about with the confidence of a bullfighter before the bull.

"You look like a lobster." She adds, reaching her finger out to touch my skin again.

"It's due to the sun. You see..."

"You didn't look much better when you first arrived."

"I didn't?" Gosh, how could that be? I hadn't been in the sun before coming to Spain.

"When you first arrived, you looked like a glass of milk!"




No comments: