I’m disgusted and dazzled by everything, specifically, the lychees that fall into the Kidz Zone waterpark drains; how they bake in the sun, marinating in a stew of baby sunscreen, this woman’s overturned mudslide. A thousand yellow eyeballs. My daughter plucks one out of the grate, sniffs it curiously, then hurls it like a grenade at a Finnish toddler.
Nature is tortured here. Trained to be inviting, warm.
Overheard in the Grotto
“I feel like I am never hungry here.”
“I want to eat a woman.”
“Mommy, I want you.”
While I sip my poolside bloody
I keep wondering why my daughter hates me so much, but as a wise woodland oracle once said, you already know everything.
For one, I’m no fun. I let my niece, a chemist in a tie-dye rash guard and a thick braid, play with her child and mine for a full hour. She pulls their innertubes close to her chest “ready, steady…” they splash her “to death” if they win.
What’s new in the Kidz Zone
We’re back here again and the afternoon sun illuminates new lifeforms: a beady emerald mold caked underneath the cement toadstool. I shiver, praying it's not brain eating as my daughter skips through the chlorinated springs, yet I brush my teeth with the water, touch all the spoons at the yogurt buffet, am too rushed to wash my hands after wiping my child's ass so we can make it to the afternoon magic show.
They must be trying to kill us here. Half the plants are toxic yet on the identifying signs there is no warning, but the landscaping is gorgeous.
Dolphins are too good for this world, I think, as I reluctantly, fearfully, kiss one on its domed rubbery mouth while someone snaps a picture. I paid $50 extra for this part, the framed photo. My daughter and I refuse the toe push. We’re convinced they’ll eat our feet. Plus, I am freshly menstruating and—as we’re told in the training video—they can sense everything: human heartbeats, our thoughts.
My daughter, she scratches my face as we balance on the slippery platform, screams and kicks when the dolphins slide by our chests. These giants and their bandoliers of white teeth, they are guided by men with whistles above us.
“Stop screaming,” I tell her, “you’re not an animal.” Knowing full well she is.
Polished orifices. A gleaming, waxed asshole birthing a greyish turd. The asshole is mine. I am admiring my manicured anus and wondering how a shit so large possible.
Old friends. Vanessa with the boobs, now a single mom in Galveston with her pack of rescue pitbulls. Maggie, her mess of eyeliner that never washed off. Dead at thirty from a pulmonary embolism.
I wake in an instant. Like me, our Garden View Junior Suite is sweating. My daughter has twisted herself so tight in our sheets I’m certain she’ll metamorphosize from petulant child to petulant teen by sunrise. For me, sleep does not return. Now would be a good time to slip out onto the terrace, I think, admire the stars. Instead, I access the hotel’s app to check the times for breakfast. I request more towels. Tomorrow, I’ll order the mudslide.