The screams of the small children played amongst the iron girders of the vast high ceiling. There was a closeness in the air. The pool was warmer than usual. Jake put it down to the official change in season. That time of year when businesses struggle to decide whether to turn their heating on or not, trying to cater for those that feel a chill easily and those who could quite happily live in an uninsulated barn on top of an exposed Yorkshire moor. Jake found it too warm. He was trying to decide if it was because of the temperature in the swimming pool or just because of the anticipation, but the attention to his bodily state was soon broken when the feet of the large woman with short grey hair appeared on the moist tiles at his eye level. She was here, at last. Ten minutes later than usual.
Her beautiful beach ball figure made its way towards the poolside. The stylised multicoloured flowers swayed against the ripples of her bulging skin. He caught the glistening sweat within the shortest grey hairs at the back of her neck as she turned, ready to descend backwards. Her bulbous knuckles gripped white around the handles. He noticed the succulent bunion which pushed against her mottled foot skin as it took the force of her substantial weight at the edge of the pool. Jake felt the shiver of delight. He took in her deep spidery veins and the cracked heels filled with small streams of dampness taken from the footbath on the way in. The lovely verruca water. He’d dip his finger in on the way out and taste its goodness. But for now those soggy toes with their rotting nails was all he could concentrate on as her yellowing heel hung just above the water. His body tensed. He was glad he’d worn his extra baggy swimming shorts this time.
The pool water lapped the wrinkled soles of her feet, catching a flap of dead skin desperate to leave its host, wavering like some silky sweet freshly sucked caramel breath on the waves. The intricate creases in her feet as she descended, the marshmallow ankles that sat sturdily atop the angelic peeling plinths. The left foot reached for the third rung beneath the water, followed carefully by the right, and they were gone.
Until next week, Jake sighed, and made his clammy way to the footbath.