Nothing ever goes according to plan.
Tanning is such a wonderful thing.
I laid with my back towards the ground on the crisp grass. It was going yellow because of the lack of rain and abundance of sunlight. Some of the strands tickled my skin and some of them were sharp and annoyed me. I wished it would rain a bit so the grass could grow and become emerald green again. But with every pro, there is a con. If it would rain, then the lawn would have to be mowed.
And since I'm not working with anything else, that would become my job and duty. Lawnmowers were absolutely on my top ten list of obnoxious items.
My tiniest bikini was on and I let the luxuriate light lick my inches of skin. The patches of fabric only covered my lady parts - and barely even that. Lying exposed like a slave to the sun always paid off in the end when I look myself in the mirror and I'm looking like a delicious gingerbread.
I believe that I look a thousand times better with colour on my otherwise sickeningly pale skin. It gives my body a slimming look and my face a summerish glow.
Nothing comes without work, though. And lying splayed out to take the sun's rays, without any cover, was exhausting. Pearls of sweat dripped down my forehead and under my nose. The salty drops got stuck in the sparse fuzz over my upper lip.
Don't blame me for having a moustache. I can't help it. At least it's not dark and bushy, but it can be seen if you look closely at the skin underneath my nose.
Once I tried to remove it with hair removal argent. It was truly a traumatic experience.
When I bought the package of hair removal I didn't really read the small text on it. All I could see were the words 'Instant Hair Removal' and I got blinded by them. If I had read everything in the manual that came with the bottle - it would have spared me a lot of embarrassment and pain.
I went home with my newly purchased lifesaver and locked myself up in the bathroom. At the time I was twenty-three and lived with my parents. My female moustache really bothered me and I wanted it gone.
I started applying the white cream on the area where the hair was and then sat down on the toilet. On the package it said that I had to wait eight minutes before taking it off.
When four minutes had passed, I felt something. My skin started stinging and it felt like someone had set it on fire. I bit my lip, thinking 'this is probably how it's supposed to feel like.' The time crawled as slow as a sloth.
When the awful eight minutes had passed, I took the cream off.
What reflected back to me from the mirror made me gasp. The hair removal argent had burnt my skin off! All that was left was hot, bubbling flesh.
The hair removal I bought wasn't meant for more delicate areas of the body - such as a face. I hadn't paid attention and the wound on my face was the price.
If I only had chosen the more gentle hair removal for bikini lines and faces...
Well, at least the hair got burnt off - along with the skin. So I didn't have a moustache to whine about. But the red patch underneath my nose unfortunately drew a lot more attention than a couple of dark hair shafts. The looks people gave me made me cringe. They all looked at me with pity in their eyes and one older lady even dared to ask me if I suffered from a flesh-eating bacterium.
After a couple of weeks when the skin started to grow back - the hair did too. Only this time, it was even darker and thicker than before. It has taken me years of cursing and crying, but I've finally started to accept myself. With or without a moustache.
Suddenly, something blocked the sun's rays and the air immediately got cooler. I shivered as my beads of sweat got hit by the chillier air. My eyes opened slowly, first the left and then the right one.
With a groan I realised that the sky was now covered in gray clouds. When I had wished for rain earlier I didn't mean that I wanted it now. The clouds would not go away anytime soon, judging by the amount of them, so it was a waste of time for me to lay down on the lawn.
I got up and walked inside the main house to my room and closed the door. Since I felt a bit tired I figured that taking a nap until dinner was ready would be nice.
To ban light from my sleeping place, I stepped towards the window to roll the blinds down.
From the window I could see mum's stable - the large barn-like house in which horses spent their days if they weren't outside in the horse paddocks. The calmness lingering over the entire place felt so different from the always hectic environment back in Los Angeles.
People from the country have got everything right with their anti-stress lifestyles.
Someone exited the stable and since it was the only thing moving, my gaze immediately got stuck on that person. It was a tall man in his twenties - or thirties, it was hard to make out from such a distance.
He had a pair of horse boots on his feet and wore a checked shirt. The man was very tall and rocked a dirty blond haircut.
His long legs walked goal-orientedly towards a truck and I followed his every move. Something about him was interesting. He moved and carried himself with such confidence.
It had to be one of mum's new employees, hired to do the dirty work in the stable. But I couldn't imagine that guy scooping up horse poop. He looked like he stood above hard work like that.
He climbed into the truck and turned the engine on. I could hear the faint sounds of the machine growling as it set off. When the vehicle was out of sight, I sighed and finally rolled the blinds down.
The room was as dark as it ever could be and I removed my tiny black bikini and threw it towards the pile of my clothes which laid on the floor. I missed it by a couple of inches and then frowned a little. I never missed an easy throw like that. My throwing arm used to be extremely good as I could throw things into a laundry basket from a far distance.
Guess I was out of my game.
As I laid down on my old childhood bed a weird feeling embraced me. Safety. I had felt safe with Gabriel, at least on and off, and that was my favourite feeling in the world.
When I knew that Gabriel was taking care of me financially I would get the same warm feeling and allow myself to relax. So that I felt so safe in my parents' house came like a small shock. I had never felt like that before. The emotions connected with my childhood were restlessness and boredom - not safety.
I decided not to think too much about that and focused on the nap I was going to take. Closing my eyes. Breathing deeply. Air sucked into the lungs only to be huffed out a second later.
It didn't take long before sleep welcomed me into his, or her, world.
What woke me up a couple of hours later was the yelling from my dear mother.
"Mandy! Mandy! It's time for dinner."
I rolled out of bed with a smile on my lips. Dinner was something I greeted with love right now. My stomach felt empty and the acids rolled around in there like poison.
Knowing mum, the meal would be more than enough to fill myself up with.
I covered my body with a pair of cut-off jeans and a T-shirt with a washed out McDonald's print. Then I rushed downstairs into the kitchen where mum had already set the table and placed a big pot in the middle on a colourful coaster. She looked worn out when she looked at me. Her hair stood out like she had got an electric shock by accident and the bags underneath her eyes could carry a family's shopping of the week.
"Tomato soup," she said and gestured towards the table where the pot was. I smiled faintly and sat down - mum followed shortly after. The smell which came from the pot was amazing. Rich and delicious.
I removed the lid and started scooping the red liquid onto my soup plate. I only really saw mum when it was time to eat. At other times she would be working with small things in the stable or take care of dad and his needs.
My mother, Sarah Patterson, was a people pleaser. She never really took the time to pamper herself.
"Tomato soup is good," I started and started blowing cool air onto a spoonful of the soup, "and healthy."
Mum sent me a warning glare since she detested when I spoke to her like she was the child and I the parent. She sat herself down by the table and then got herself a ton of soup in a deep soup plate made of ceramic.
A silence lingered in the room and I figured that the timing was perfect to ask an important question.
Now or never. The time was running out.
"Can I have the guesthouse this weekend?" I blurted out quickly, stumbling upon the words. Mum raised her eyebrows in surprise. The creases on her forehead got deeper than the Grand Canyon.
"Is Gabriel coming over too?" she asked after a couple of seconds of thinking with hopefulness in her voice. Mum had never met Gabriel. Not even once during the three years we were together. She didn't know about our separation either. Or the factors which caused it.
This could be the time of truth.
Gabriel often talked to me about wanting to visit my parents and mum said she wanted to meet Gabriel an equal amount of times. I kept them apart, though. I can't fully understand why I didn't want them to see each other. Maybe because I wanted distance from my past and present life. I didn't want them woven together at all.
"No, he isn't coming," I said quietly and started tapping the surface of the table with my fingers, "but a friend of mine is." Mum looked like confusion had slapped her across the face.
"What is going on here?" mum asked loudly and dropped her spoon. The fact that she put the food aside meant that the conversation was serious to her. She would never abandon a plate of smoking hot soup if it wasn't important.
I cringed and focused my gaze on a spot on the wall. Meeting her eyes would only make me feel worse about myself.
I inhaled deeply and opened my mouth.
"Gabriel and I broke up."
I couldn't see mum's reaction, but heard her gasp. Profanities played on repeat in my head. This was a bad idea. I should have lied or tried to conceal the truth further.
Maybe mum wasn't ready for this type of news. But, would she ever be?
"Who's going to be in the guesthouse then?" mum asked slowly. I couldn't answer her. I just couldn't. She would not enjoy the fact that I dragged Marc Heart here.
Mum would probably not know who he was anyway, and that was a relief. Mum couldn't care less about celebrities and always skipped the entertainment part of the newspaper.
The chances of her knowing who Marc was were slim to none.
When I didn't answer and instead just looked at my dear old mother - she got it. I could see in her confounded eyes that she knew what the case was.
Mum knew that had been cheating on Gabriel. But she didn't know the rest of the story where Gabriel hit me and made fun of me.
I had never felt so naked and exposed in my entire life.
Soon she said the words which pierced and murdered the choking silence, "I'm very disappointed." The eyes turned from confused to hurt in a heartbeat.
"I'm sorry." The tiny apologise was the only thing I could manage to choke out. Mum hastily got up from the table and waggled towards the door. She turned when she reached the doorpost and looked at me - her daughter.
"We'll talk about it later. I can't even look at you now."
Then she had disappeared and I was left alone. More than half the plate of soup was left. I let my spoon dance around in the red contents. Even if my stomach was roaring for calories, I couldn't force myself to eat a thing.
I'm a mess.