Helena and the Yellow Bikini

by on May 13, 2023 :: 0 comments

photo "It Was All Yellow" by Tyler Malone

Helena packed her things for the roof deck: water, phone, goggles, new swimsuit. The deck had a pool, one of her favorite features of their apartment complex. She swam almost every day, as soon as the sun came up, as soon as you were allowed to swim, except on Sundays. On Sundays, she always made Sam breakfast first, carrying a tray with a hearty omelet, usually a western one, some sort of additional side meat, and one piece of toast. She used to give him two, but he thought he was getting a little pudgy, and then wanted only one.

“This turkey sausage is amazing,” he had said today, “maybe turkey sausage from now on would be better.”

“Sure thing,” she replied, put on her suit, then rounded the bed for a goodbye.

“I like that swimsuit on you,” he responded.

“It’s an athletic swimsuit,” Helena said, scrunching up her face.

“But it’s new, right?” he asked.

“I got it about a month ago,” she snarked, thinking that he should have noticed it before.

What Sam wouldn’t see was the bikini she had packed in her bag. It was for James, a handsome guy whom she met at the pool about a month ago. James had sat down in an adjoining lounge chair and struck up a conversation; after that, they sought each other out. Two weeks ago, he stole a kiss after walking her to the elevator, snatching one when she turned around to face forward, hitting the stop button first. The last time, he gave her a bikini and dared her to wear it. Today was the day.

James was already at the pool and waved her over. Damn, she thought, I was hoping to swim before you got here. She wanted to work her abs, hoping they would become taut like a bowstring, as when she was on the swim team, many years ago.

“Where’s the bikini?” he asked.

“I want to swim laps first,” she said, and jumped into the pool. Make you wait, she thought, as she dove underwater into the lap lane. She swam for about twenty minutes, the thoughts in her head tossing and turning with each stroke. With her last stroke, her thoughts and plans were unified.

I am already cheating, she said to herself. Might as well keep going.

She climbed the ladder. James had a towel at the ready and wrapped it around her. It smelled like lemons. If she were a girlfriend, she would have asked about the detergent. Instead, she thought about the pretty way the yellow bikini had been wrapped in fresh tissue paper, unlike Sam’s wrap-jobs, thrown into a used bag without tissue paper, half the time with a design that didn’t match the occasion. I know he is just pinching pennies while the new house is being built, she thought, but still.

With James’ gift there was even an unforgettable perfume that popped out of the bag when she pulled out the bra portion. James said nothing when she put the bra to her face, inhaling. Instead, he said, “You have a great body, it will look amazing on you.”

Now he was saying, “Don’t make me wait any longer, Helena. I must see you in that bikini.”

Helena walked to the woman’s locker room thinking how she had always loved a man who was confident. Sam had been that guy.

I look good, she thought, giving herself just enough confidence to move from the locker room mirror to take that first step onto the pool deck.

A couple of steps outside their eyes met, but not James; instead, a woman with long blonde hair, about her build, was staring at her.

“Hey, that’s my suit you’re wearing!” she yelled from the other side of the pool. “Did you find it in the lost and found?”

“No, my husband gave it to me,” Helena said, looking from the woman to James, who was shrugging.

“Well, he must have found it in the lost and found, and I want it back,” she said.

“My husband would not do that,” Helena responded, walked towards James and mouthed, “What the hell?”

“You think I got it from the lost and found?” he asked in a loud whisper.

She put up her index finger and waved it side to side. “No, no,” she said, “no need to have a family argument when we are not even family.”

The woman was now at Helena’s heels.

Helena turned to her and said, “Talk to him,” and pointed to James. She grabbed her things and quickly made it to the elevator, the doors closing immediately.

How embarrassing, she thought, but at least I didn’t cheat.

Just then, the elevator door opened. It had stopped on the 18th floor, and a woman holding a yappy little dog with pink toenails and a matching bow stepped on. “Press the button for me, Honey, I am going to the lobby.”

It was then that Helena noticed she hadn’t even pushed the button for the 17th floor. Doing as the woman asked, she pressed Lobby and then stepped off before the doors closed.

No one was around, but she stepped into the stairwell anyway, to get her wits about her, taking deep breaths. “I’ve got to get out of this suit,” she thought.

She ran down one flight of stairs to her floor, made it to her apartment, and went in; then, in ten seconds, she stripped naked in the kitchen, threw the bikini in the trash, and walked to the balcony.

Opening the sliding glass door, she threw her wet suit at the railing, overshooting it, seeing it freefall.

Forlorn, she walked naked into the bedroom and picked up the breakfast tray, thinking, I wonder where it will land? Hopefully it will make it from lost into found.

She tells Sam, “No, I am going to dress and book a flight. I need to see my mom.”

editors note:

Betrayal bleeds into betrayal, and it has no shoulders to cry on. ~ Tyler Malone

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