We get off the elevator, round the corner and I see it.
No. No. No.
I want to turn around, but the kids are skipping ahead.
“Come on mom.”
Before me is the rooftop pool of the young and the hip. It is rectangular shaped with a giant mirror angled down at the end so you can watch yourself swim.
But nobody is swimming.
Oh, no. Not this bunch.
A few are in the pool, but they are only waist deep. The rest sit on couches or are standing in groups. Every girl is model thin and wearing a tiny bikini. Hair and makeup are perfect. I glance around thinking surely we stumbled onto a photo shoot.
The boys are model ready too, gathered in various clusters with cut abs and perfect tans, all acting as if this is a completely normal thing to be doing.
This is not fucking normal.
I don’t know what this is.
Every hand is either holding a colorful cocktail or a tall glass of beer.
“This pool is so cool!” my kids yell and quickly take off their shoes and dive in.
All eyes are on us.
I hear a few snickers and endure a malicious stare from a girl drinking something pink from a sparkling glass. She is probably around 23 and I get it. Kids are so annoying when you are young. I smile back.
“Are you kidding?” I hear one of the pretty male peacocks in the shallow end of the pool say to his friends. He follows it up by something I can’t hear. They laugh.
A mother with kids at a hotel pool is apparently the funniest thing they have ever seen.
“What are you looking at freaks,” I want to yell. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
But I don’t.
I look around and find one empty spot left around the pool. It is a big brown couch with several large pillows. I grab a few towels and a glass of the free water. I climb into the oversize couch and find if I scoot all the way to the back with my book, I can almost disappear.
The kids are busy swimming laps back and forth. Their giggles and laughter fills the empty space.
I see my girl kick past a highly groomed beer drinker, splashing his back with a little water.
“What the fuck?” he says and shields his fluffy blond hair from any potential drips.
His friends laugh.
I don’t laugh.
I fucking don’t laugh one bit.
I sit with my black bathing suit cover over my black bathing suit dress and want to throw-up. Or maybe I want to eat. Or maybe I want a cocktail.
The insecurity and anger wrestle inside as I try and just not be here.
I never looked like these people. Never. Not when I was a teen. Not when I was 20. Never.
I hate them.
Then I’m mad for hating them.
I am judging them for youth and beauty, something they can’t help. These are someone’s children. They are just enjoying their vacation by the pool and don’t want to be reminded little human’s share the planet with them.
But they don’t have to be douchbags.
“Mom! Mom! Mom!”
My girl is calling my name. I nod her direction and all the lovely little pretties look my way.
“Mom!” she says again. “Come swim with us! You said you would swim with us. Come on mom!”
I sit there and think about all the things I want for my girl.
I never want her to see or feel what I am feeling right now.
I never want her to worry what all these assholes think about her body or mine.
I never want her to let anybody stop her from doing things she enjoys.
I love swimming and this was one of the things I was most looking forward to on this trip.
I smile at her and climb out of the big couch. I take off the bathing suit cover, put on my goggles and walk right into the pool.
The next hour or so I play a game where I am a water monster. The kids swim from one end of the pool to the other and I try and catch them. If I do, they stand on my legs and jump off while I lift them and push so they fly as far as they can.
We laugh and taunt each other.
We swim until my arms ache and the sun is starting to set.
Eventually, we get out and dry off. We sit on the big couch together and talk about where we might go for dinner when daddy gets out his business meeting.
An older man with a very dark tan walks by wearing a g-string leopard print Speedo. You can see his…everything.
Both kids look at me and we burst into silent giggles.
Maybe we are assholes too.