I look down at my legs, submerged in water. My skin tone looks lighter. Whatever little tan I have gained on this vacation disappears in the clear blue pool. My thighs look skinnier. I like my thighs the way they are but under water they look like they’ve been photoshopped. All of my flaws have been filtered through the distorted lens of this Jamaican, all inclusive resort water.
I am sitting at the swim up bar. Normally sitting on a bar stool for a long period of time makes my knees feel stiff but here, it’s like I no longer have arthritis.
My family, is all napping. It’s 2pm on the final full day of our vacation.
I have been waiting to sit at the swim up bar for the past 4 days of this trip. Growing up with a pool, I have always loved being in water. My parents used to call me a fish when I was a kid.
During my high school years, because of my own insecurities about what I looked in a bathing suit, I missed out on enjoying my childhood home’s pool. Every year my dad would open it in June and every year, less and less of us actually used it.
But now, I never turn down an opportunity to swim.
No longer burdened by the thoughts of should I wear a t-shirt while swimming? If you wear a t-shirt, they can’t see that you’re fat. But you’re wearing a t-shirt so they know you’re fat.
However, here, on this vacation, I am fat and I am not afraid to show every male employee on this resort exactly how fat I am.
I have been waiting to sit at the swim up bar for the past 4 days of this trip because I am on vacation with my sister, my brother in law, my 2 1/2 year old nephew and my father with dementia.
I know the reason my sister invited me on this trip is because she wanted, no, needed to go on vacation but couldn’t leave my father at home. The last trip they took, I spent the week in New Hampshire with my dad. This time I think she figured that she could get a break from dad but also give me a vacation.
It’s lunch time, just a few hours before I am at the swim up bar.
My family has somehow managed to find two lounge chairs together by one of the kiddie pools. Dad occupies one, enjoying the sun in his new straw hat and sunglasses, while my sister and I alternate sharing the other one.
My sister and I start discussing what to do about lunch. We don’t want to give up our lounge chairs since they were so hard to come by but we’re getting hungry.
We notice that people are bringing plates of food, plastic wrapped, from BBQ Park.
“Oh! It looks like we can get take out from BBQ Park! Let’s do that!
I walk over to the restaurant to get a menu for us to look at. As I walk past the walk up portion of the swim up bar I hear “Hey Carly! Ow are to doin?!”
Aware that there are now several bartenders here that know my name and drink order I look over to see Nicholas who served me last night at the piano bar. He is wearing a tan and brown Hawaiian shirt like all the other bartenders and I almost down recognize him out of the blue collared shirt and black vest from the night before. But I guess this tiki bar isn’t as swanky as the piano bar.
When I come back with the menus, my sister is on the phone. I can tell by the words she is using that this is not a casual phone call. She is talking to someone that requires a responsible and excited tone.
Listening in to what she is saying, I can tell that she’s talking to a social worker and the news is that they’ll be taking in a one year old foster child as soon as they get back from vacation.
After the uphill battle to get pregnant with her polycystic ovary syndrome, my sister was no longer sitting idly by to have more kids. And with one adoption already falling through, this was the most exciting news she could be receiving at this moment.
“Ay! It’s my favorite family!” Alex S, a guy we had chatted with numerous times in the gift shop says as he’s walking by. He is by far, the cutest employee on the resort and I know for a fact that he asked about me the one time my sister went into the gift shop without me.
“Where is your troubled sister?!”
“Hung over” She told him.
“You guys want a shot?!”
Never one to turn down a shot, I of course say yes.
Bethany, who probably hasn’t taken a shot in years, also says yes. I mean, she’s getting a new kid after all.
After our shots, I head over to order our lunch. While I’m waiting for the food to be ready, my sister joins me after using the bathroom. We decide to wait together because it will be difficult to carry all the food by myself.
My phone rings. It’s my brother-in-law.
“Your dad has to use the bathroom.”
Panic mode sets in. Dad is wearing a diaper under his bathing suit but we’re still not trying to have anymore accidents on this trip.
“I’m coming” I tell him.
The walk to the bathroom is slow. Dad doesn’t move very fast and he often walks the wrong way even though he is fallowing you.
We make it to the men’s room on time but as I am waiting outside, I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that my dad has been in the bathroom for far too long. Something went wrong. He’s never quick in there but he’s never this slow either.
After about 30 min, he finally comes out. There is toilet paper sticking out of his fly and I can see that there is poop running down his leg.
“I couldn’t get my shawts off Cahly.”
I look at the drawstring on his swimsuit and see that he had tied it in multiple knots when he got dressed this morning and had therefore trapped himself in his own bathing suit.
“It’s ok dad, let’s go back to the room.”
I call my sister and tell her what we’re doing. She says she’ll meet us back at our rooms with the food.
On the elevator up to our room an employee is with a 10 year old child as part of the kids camp. We all get off on the fourth floor and as we exit, the boy asks the employee why the elevator smells like poop.
I wonder if the employee could tell it was my dad…
Back in our hotel room, I help my dad undress, I am as careful as possible as to not cover him in anymore shit than he is already covered in. I throw away the diaper, his swimsuit and his socks. I hand him a wet washcloth with soap on it that I also throw away after. I hope that the cleaning people don’t notice that they’re missing numerous wash cloths but there’s no way I’d ever make another person touch my dad’s poop. I carefully clean whatever I can off my dad’s sneakers and find him a new outfit to put on. I carry the trash bag out into the hallway and dispose of it in the housekeeper’s unattended cart in the hallways. I’m sorry about the smell! But it can’t live in our bathroom and I again, I can't bare the idea of letting another person change that bag.
My sister has brought our food to our room while she took hers to her room.
It stings that her initial reaction is to separate us. Why doesn’t she want to eat lunch with me? I just cleaned up our father and now you don’t even want to hang out with me? I know I shouldn’t look at it this way, but it’s been a looooong week of watching my sister and her husband do things for my nephew together and leaving me alone with my dad. I’m happy to be on dad duty, but I wanna be with my whole family. I want to know she wanted me here to be with me, not just because she felt guilty.
I remind myself over and over again, Bethany lives with dad, she deals with this all the time. You see him every few months, this is the least you can do. But it’s hard not to feel left out.
“I’m going down to the pool.” I tell my dad as I tuck him in for his nap after lunch.
“Can’t I go with you?” He asks. As much as this is his last full day on this vacation too, I know that I won’t be able to sit at the swim up bar if he is with me and it is my last opportunity to experience it.
“You’ve had a long day dad. You need your rest.”
“Ok…” He closes his eyes.
Sitting at the swim up bar, I have never needed this more in my life. I look over the menu at all of the different mojitos and tropical drinks that require a blender. Knowing full well that I am taking advantage of the all inclusiveness of this resort, I opt for my usual vodka soda because the hang over won’t be as bad.
“You sure you don’t want to try something a little more exciting?” The bartender Nicholas asks me.
“No, I’m easy.” I tell him.
But Nicholas already knows that I'm easy because I fucked him in a bathroom stall below the piano bar last night.
“Let me make you something special.” Nicholas says to me as I sit down in one of the tall bar stools at the piano bar the night before.
I know one of the lounge chairs would be more comfortable but again, it’s past my family’s bedtime so I’m flying solo. Whether I make friends here or not, the bartender will definitely talk to me.
“I already have a drink.” I tell him because I know by now whatever nasty, sugary concoction he is trying to make me will give me a headache.
Everyone in this lounge tonight are parents from Massachusetts, I discover as I start chatting with several different couples.
“I’M FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE! OMG!!”
It’s Mass’s spring break and I could not be in better company. These are the parents I understand. The kind of parents that I babysit for in Chicago. They are rich, they are well traveled, and they like to drink.
I often find myself chatting with random parents in bars. Talking with them over drinks fills the void of the adult relationship, I will never have with my mother and the relationship I can no longer have with my father. And for them, I am the child that actually wants to be seen with them in public. We complete each other. We validate each other. We are a brief picture of what a relationship between adult children and their parents could look like if children appreciated their parents and if parent’s weren’t so judgmental of their own kids.
“Bring these downstairs by the bathrooms. There are no cameras there.” Nicholas whispers as he slides two whiskey glasses a quarter filled with dark green liquor towards me.
Damn. I never turn down free shots. Granted, everything is all inclusive so, it’s not really a free shot… but I obey.
Mint and whiskey… What the fuck Nicholas, really? This shot is fucking nasty. But maybe this is your way of taking a whiskey shot and not having your breath taste like whiskey when you kiss me.
“I’m gonna close the bar early…”
Toothbrush, toothpaste, condoms, and my silver bullet vibrator.
I always make sure I pack all the essentials when I’m going on vacation.
I wasn’t expecting to have sex on this trip. I knew it might be a possibility but I definitely didn’t think it would be a guarantee.
But here, in Jamaica, I am so much higher than my Chicago snack status. In Jamaica, on a family resort, being the only single gal here, I am looking like a 2 for $20 meal, margaritas included.
We start out in the utility closet. There’s a mop bucket as well as a water basin with a drain to fill said bucket.
This could not be more of a 180 from the rest of the resort. This glamorous, exciting one night stand is quickly going south as I tell Nicholas from my bear walk position that the floor is sticky.
Thinking quickly, I can tell he his nervous. I mean, I can’t blame him. He’s on the clock while I’m on his cock. But he his determined to finish. We move to the women’s bathroom. It has one stall, a sink with a marble counter top, and a door that doesn’t lock. This is the vacation sex I wanted though. Hot and heavy on a marble counter top, my flowing black skirt lifted up while the straps of my bra and tank top have been pulled down, my lower back banging against the faucet that will cause a bruise I proudly name my Jamaican tramp stamp when I show it off to my friends back home.
“De cleaning people are gonna be ‘ere in 15 minutes” Nicholas tells me as he continues to thrust. But he isn’t done showing this tourist what Jamaica is all about.
We move into the stall where I stand feet on the toilet seat and hands against the wall behind it. A position only possible because of his height. I’m using muscles in my legs that I didn’t even know existed to balance myself in this doggy style position.
We can hear the cleaning people outside the door as I jump off the toilet seat and pick my panties up off the floor so they can’t be seen under the stall door. Nicholas slides between the toilet and the wall so that the sink blocks his feet.
The bathroom door opens.
“Hello?” I say in my whitest, most I am “supposed” to be in here voice.
“Oh! Sorry miss! I’ll come back later.”
I climb back onto the toilet seat.