It had always been a mystery to her why so many men ran to help her when she needed something. They always did that and she guessed it was due to her looks but she had never done a proper effort to look good. She thought that made her a bit of a bitch, not realizing what she looked like. But the truth was she didn’t care and she sometimes thought the attention could get to be very annoying. In that moment, it was good because she had to come down from the boat to the beach, so she appreciates the two guys that helped her. She could have spared the looks that were more accurate for wolves than for men, but she didn’t say anything. She just kept on walking, her small purse on one hand and her hat in the other. They had been on an excursion near the island, watching the reef.
Mia was having a holiday alone, far away from anyone she knew. She had always dreamed of visiting the French Polynesia so she had used practically all of her saving to come. The excursions and the food and most things were included in the price so she didn’t have to worry. The thing was she always made money even if she wasn’t doing anything. That’s because she had invented this kitchen utensil that many people were using now, so every month they paid her a part of the winnings and it was good money. She had made the invention one night, not drunk but almost. She always told another version of the story because it wasn’t really glamorous to talk about how much she vomited that night. So she changed the story to a simpler one and people loved her.
Thanks to them, she was there: walking slowly through the beach, feeling the soft granules of sand on her feet. The sand her wasn’t coarse and annoying like in other beaches and Mia liked that because she had always loved the ocean but had rarely found places to fully enjoy it. When she was young, she used to love to pack all of her toys and the do a castle and make all her toys live there. Her parents and brother would help and it would be one of the best days of her life. But those trips were just a memory now. She thought she could ask her parents and brother to come with her to the beach one day, but they would probably say no. After all, they all had different lives now.
She had to stop walking, as a tall-bronzed man blocked her path. She smiled at him and kept walking, passing by his right. The man had a stupid face and thought Mia would fall for him as soon as she had seen him in his swimwear but Mia hadn’t even notice. She didn’t wanted to talk to Hugo, who was one of the entertainers of the hotel and been asking her for a drink since she had arrived there. He was relentless and always asked for the same thing, during breakfast, lunch and dinner and in between too. It wasn’t that he was ugly or something because he was what most people would call “perfect”. But she just wasn’t interested.
The truth was Mia had a lot on her mind. Many thought it was because of a man and that offended her deeply. When people thought she was just a thing to be used by someone else, she just got furious and, it a really bad mood, she would answer back and not in the best way possible. Mia knew she could be pretty destructive if she wanted so she was training herself to be more at ease, not to snap so easily. So when people thought she looked sad because of a man, she just smiled and moved on, not even acknowledging someone had talked. The truth was that she hadn’t been with a man in quite some time, not sexually nor sentimentally. She just felt she wasn’t ready for that and that it wasn’t really her priority in life but explaining that to so many people would have been exhausting.
So every time Hugo came to her, she had said no. She would have said yes just to do something different, but she knew Hugo would take it as a triumph and would emphasize that aspect of the whole thing whenever they found themselves outside. And as the hotel was on a small island, she really didn’t wanted to be the one everyone looked and talked about. Soon, she realized she didn’t even need to say yes. The day after the excursion, she woke up later than usual, just wanting to use that day to be on the beach and read or something. She didn’t want to think, just rest a lot, as she suddenly felt extremely tired. As if she had pulled a truck in her dreams, with her teeth.
She showered fast, put on her bikini and went down to the beach with some fruit she had grabbed from the breakfast buffet the previous morning. She put it in her purse along with a book and her cellphone, where she had tons of games if she ever got extremely bored like in that moment. Mia noticed something was wrong the moment she passed through the reception and did what she always like to do: greet the staff there. She waved her hand but no one responded, one woman even looking at her as if she had done the worst thing possible. She continued to the beach, wondering why the reaction but then she noticed more and more people stared at her and talked, not even interested in covering their mouths.
Mia adjusted her hat and her purse and kept on going until she reached the beach. She found a lonely spot for her to lay down her towel and sit down. She was about to lie down to close her eyes and just sleep if she could but she was interrupted by the sound of a quarrel. She turned her head and realized it was a man and his wife. They were arguing really loudly and pushing each other, every sentence been louder than the one before. It was beginning to be really annoying so Mia took some headphones from her purse and connected them to her phone. Music would be welcomed during such an event.
Music wasn’t heard for long. The fight got louder and then she noticed the woman coming to where she was. For a moment, she thought the woman just wanted to walk down the beach in a rage, far away from her husband. But no, the woman stopped right there where Mia was and started talking. Mia removed her headphones only to catch the word “slut”. She stood up and asked the woman if she needed help with something and then the woman just slapped her and went away. It wasn’t that it hurt as much as it was about feeling like shit. Mia felt every eye on her and that was even weirder when she still felt the slap and she saw the husband not doing anything, just standing there like and idiot.
She went back to her towel, still massaging her cheek. She turned her head around to see if someone was still looking and they weren’t but some were laughing and obviously describing what had happened. Mia then felt really bad and about to cry, mainly because she felt she was alone but she fought her need to cry and decided just to lay down there and try to sleep. She would go to her room after that and just ask for her lunch to be delivered there. She did manage to rest for a while until two people from the management came to speak with her. They woke her up in the rudest way possible and asked her, more like demanded her, to join them in their office in the act.
Mia walked right behind them, her towel on one arm, her hat on one hand and her purse on her shoulder. She felt her sandals filled with sand but she hadn’t had time to properly clean them. They walked past the reception again and then arrived to a door that they opened with a key only available to the staff. There were several offices behind that door, all with now windows, like in a bunker. They reached an empty one and asked her to sit down. She was there, they said without delay, because a woman staying at the hotel had denounced her as a threat to the peace of the people there. Mia was about to say she was also a guest there but they kept on talking, saying how seriously they took these allegations, citing how conservative people of the region were.
Suddenly, Mia had a flashback to dozens of women with no tops of and a boat they called the “orgy yacht”. But she didn’t say anything about that. She just bore with them, as they said all they had to say. Finally, she was able to speak and said that if they expelled her they would be sued, as everything that had been said about her was a lie, probably invented by a man that felt bad because she wouldn’t say yes. She asked them to provide proof that she was as they thought she was. If they did she would leave and if not she would stay the week, would she had paid for. They just looked at each other and let her go.
Some people still looked at her as if she was insane and a pervert. Others tried to apologize but she just stood up and went away. People were always too fast to pass judgment but they never really thought before acting. Mia stayed there the week she had paid and then just disappeared, leaving very late at night and preferring to sleep at the airport. She wanted the holidays to be done as soon as possible.