The day was searing hot, the kind of suffocating heat that only the Mediterranean can conjure before nine o’clock in the morning. The children were dragging their reluctant feet away from the beach at their backs and towards a set of old staircase at the top of the hill.
The church was looming ever closer, shimmering behind a veil of misty vapour emanating from the asphalt, setting mirages of water pools in the distance, reminding the children of their parched mouths; dying of thirst so close after breakfast.
“But we’re on holiday! Why do we have to go to church?” whined Jürgen a little too loudly. Granny Eve stopped in her tracks two paces up front and turned sharply. Her narrowed eyes honed in on the blaspheming grandchild and the air around Jürgen reached boiling point.
David chewed on the side of his mouth, suppressing the smile that flew to his lips in sympathy for his cousin. The same comment had been dancing on his tongue, milliseconds before Jürgen framed his offensive thoughts into words. The boys looked at each other in mirrored martyrdom and remained silent after that, focusing their strength against the unmerciful slope.
The heat was pressing on their bodies like a physical presence and soon the distant stairs became a reality. The five-hundred-year-old staircase now assaulted their short legs with higher-than-normal steps. David’s sight slowly became blotched by dark spots. He formed saliva and swallowed, mimicking nourishing liquid that did not quench his thirst.
Not soon enough the final step came into existence and David sighed; “Finally. That was a bitch!”
He only realised that the words were out when Jürgen’s horrified expression met his own. But Gran’s person had already gone rigid by then. “That’s it!” Her shrill voice cut through the heat like a hail storm. David’s ear experienced a tugging that would throb in pain throughout the oncoming uneventful thirty minutes of eternity until the last Amen of mass materialised freedom to life.
This is actually a non-fictionish rendition of a childhood experience that my cousins and I used to suffer through every day while on holiday at a beach resort we used to visit annually with parents and grandma. Grandma is overly religious and back then we used to obey such commands as; “Wake up, we’ll be late for church,” when all we wanted to do was go to the beach and sculpt sand castles all day.
Despite the drama, these holidays were actually the best time of my life. Getting ready used to take months of planning; toys would be packed and unpacked, lists would be drawn up and compared until excitement levels reached unbearable levels. Too soon the two weeks would come and go and we used to be sad for weeks after we were back home. So I thought I’d honour these memories for this week’s Trifecta challenge where the key words is: BITCH
1: the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
2 a : a lewd or immoral woman
b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant