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"Seven-year itch and other urban myths" by Slawka G. Scarso

'I didn't even want to come,' I moan.

I walk up and down the beach, my bikini already dry, stopping to look at the burns covering my arms, my chest, and most of my legs. All this pain seems so out of place in this paradise of rice-flour sand and pristine water. And nobody here. Not a single person.

We should have known.

Paul is also walking, waving his mobile phone in the air.

'I'm sure there must be a better signal, somewhere,' he insists.

'It's a bay. We're surrounded by rocks. Let's just go back to the village, find a farmacia. It's not like I can't walk.'

I look behind me at the staircase carved by water and wind, concealed by the Mediterranean bush. We felt so well-traveled to find this place.

'Perhaps I should pee on you,' Paul says then.

Suddenly, I'm reminded of an episode of Sex and the City. Is this what a midlife crisis is about? A seven-year itch?

'Aren't we happy enough?' I ask. 'Is this why we came?'

Paul looks at me, frowns.

'It's for the jellyfish burns. Urine contains ammonia.'

But my question is already out there, echoing on the bay's walls, even though I say right away that it's just an urban myth – the pee.

I sit and stare at the sea. I think of our first holidays, when we would have laughed off any incident. When painful was ok, as long as it wasn't deadly. When we didn't need sudden holiday breaks. When nothing required spicing up.

'I'm happy,' Paul says after a while. He carefully puts a hand on my knee – untouched by the tentacles. 'Well, sad for you, but happy.' He mimes climbing mirrors.

I smile.

With most Mediterranean jellyfish, the pain will go away after a while.




Slawka G. Scarso has published several books on wine and works as a copywriter and translator. Her short fiction has appeared in Mslexia, Ellipsis Zine, Entropy, Firewords and others. She lives between Rome and Milan with her husband and her dog, Tessa. She tweets as @nanopausa. More of her words on www.nanopausa.com

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