“Well what would you like to do?” MindReader says to me. He gestures to the panorama around us; the infinity pool, the sea an opaque royal blue, the clifftops.
I think for a moment. I could go and get the honey cake they serve here at 3pm. Or take a walk around the back of the hotel and stroke the Greek kittens. Or swims laps of the pool or read my Kindle in the sun. “Take the lilo down there,” I say, gesturing to the jetty overhanging the sea, “and piss about.”
“Okay,” MindReader says.
The sea isn’t warm or cold. It’s body temperature as we walk down the stairs that lead off the jetty. The metal bannisters become slimy, slick with moss and seaweed, the further down we go. Nobody else is around. MindReader pushes the lilo in front of us, bought yesterday from a precocious ten-year old Greek boy for ten euros at the local shop.
“Where shall we go?” he says.
I point across the bay. There’s a sandy beach about a hundred metres away which isn’t accessible from our hotel. “There,” I say. “It’s a secret beach.”
“Okay,” MindReader says.
I stand in the waist-deep water and look at the lilo. “We should get on it. Like a boat,” I say.
I get on the front. The back flips up behind me, like a tail, and MindReader laughs. “Pull it down,” I say.
“I don’t think I can get on this,” MindReader says. His voice is close to my ear as he tries to leapfrog his way on to the lilo. He misses, splashing down in to the water behind me. “I’ve got a bloody all-inclusive hump,” he says, gesturing to his belly. “Maybe the lilo has a weight limit.”
He attempts to get on again and falls off, pulling me into the tepid water with him. The lilo flips over in the breeze.
“Let’s get on it on the jetty and launch it down the steps,” I say.
“This definitely won’t go wrong,” MindReader says.
But it works and we are on the lilo on the steps and then we are making our way to the beach, the lilo bobbing along in the surf. I think of the figures we must cut against the sky: two people side by side on a lilo, giggling.
“Almost there,” MindReader puffs. He’s been doing most of the work, using his hands as oars and paddling along. “This is like the D-Day landings.”
“You can’t say that,” I say with a laugh. We emerge on to the sandy beach. Up close it’s made of small stones and they cut our toes as we roll off the lilo.
We are stumbling up the beach, giggling. My bikini bottoms have twisted around and I laughingly adjust them.
We look up. There’s a rather upmarket restaurant, its tables underneath parasol palm trees, just in front of us; right on the beach. People are out for lunch, in chinos and shirts. Business lunches. Three-course meals. Wines. “Oh,” MindReader says, stopping dead, his face a few inches from a grumpy man’s. “Er…” MindReader says. His shorts are dripping water droplets rhythmically onto the beach.
We turn around, ignoring their glances. He looks at me. “We can’t get on the lilo here,” he says.
“We can’t get on the lilo,” I say. “Not without the stairs.” We consider sitting down on it on the beach and launching ourselves into the sea, but reason it would be too embarrassing.
We paddle back instead, the lilo a giant float in front of us. A fish brushes past my thighs, and I get on the lilo. MindReader pushes me home.