Friday, June 12, 2015

Vesturbæjarlaug



   Mary and Sean paid the admission and went to their respective dressing rooms.

   “Don't forget to shower naked,” thought Sean, “The attendants are sticklers on this.”

   “Everybody’s peeking at me,” thought Mary, “Not because I’m naked, though.”

   “It’s your beautiful skin,” thought Sean.

   “Thanks,” thought Mary, “Flattery is your only character flaw.”

   “Just thinking the obvious,” Sean thought.

   “Isn’t it a pity these rings don’t have video?” thought Mary.

   “I know what a naked woman looks like,” thought Sean, as he stepped into the shower room where two grossly overweight Icelandic men were shampooing, “And you wouldn’t want to be seeing what I am right now.

   Mary and Sean finished showering, put their suits on, and entered the pool area. The pool was not crowded, two women were doing laps, and small clusters of people were sitting in the various ‘hot-pots’ on the far side of the kiddy pool. Sean noticed that Mary’s wet one-piece swimsuit clearly showed her ‘baby-bump.’ Mary saw the scar on Sean’s abdomen seemed more livid than usual—perhaps it was from the hot water in the shower.

   “Race you,” thought Mary, “Four laps.

   “You’re on,” thought Sean.

   Mary had always been a strong swimmer, and although Sean had been swimming as part of his therapy, his core strength was still lacking. Two full years for recovery, the doctors had told him. It was already over two years, but Sean still felt a weakness in his torso where he had been stabbed.  It was no contest—Mary finished a half lap ahead and waited for Sean at the end of the pool.

   “Are you ready for a soak?” thought Sean.

   “Lead on, slowpoke,” thought Mary.

   “That was the nickname my first girlfriend had for me,” Sean said aloud.

   Mary glowered at Sean and said:

   “It suits you.”

   There were four pots, plus a much larger shallow pool. They were graduated in temperature, the first pot was cold water. Sean led Mary to the second pot, which she found to be a little cool.

   “Let’s go to the next one,” she thought, “I’m still a little stiff from the flight.

   The third pot was considerably warmer, and there was a lively conversation going on between two older men. They nodded as Mary and Sean entered, then continued their conversation in Icelandic. After a time, the men evidently exhausted their topic. One of them eyed Mary warily and then turned to Sean and said “Goðan daginn.”

   “Goðan daginn” to you,” said Sean.

   “You are Americans?” said the Icelandic man.

   “Yes, my name is Sean, and this is my wife, Mary,” said Sean.

   “Goðan daginn,” said Mary, who was intrigued by the man’s look of confusion. She turned on the charm and sweetly said: “We just arrived and thought a nice soak would do us good, help to get rid of jet-lag.”

   Mary’s voice and her use of Icelandic charmed the man. He brightened considerably and began to speak:

   “My name is Einar, I was a trawler captain for many years.”

   Sean looked at the man closely. It was the same captain who Sean had spoken with  almost three years ago.

   “I believe we’ve met,” said Sean, “You are the captain who studied the Japanese fishing methods and then made improvements in your fishing techniques. What a coincidence.”

   The man looked at Sean closely. “There are few coincidences in Iceland. Já, já, I am the man. You were in the papers, weren’t you? Your brother died in a car crash?”

   “Your memory is exceptional,” said Sean, “Or is it the water’s memory?”

   “Já.” the man answered with a smile. “What brings you back here?”

   Sean didn’t answer for a long time.

   “Business. Family business.”

   The trawler captain looked at Sean, then at Mary.

   “Some babies grow up in peculiar ways.” he said.



Fiction

By Professor Batty