Annie heard the band start to play in the distant and excitement pumped through her body. She jumped up and down in one spot, hardly containing her enthusiasm.
“Mum! Can you hear that? The band will be coming past us soon and then all the floats! Isn’t this grand?”
“Yes” said Mum, with little emotion, not even a pinch of delight. “The sooner this is over the better. How embarrassing to be standing here on the side of the road. This sun will give me a headache, there is no doubt about that.”
“But Mum, she is so excited for us to see her float. Its painted lemon, her favourite colour. She told the organisers if she was going to be the icon on the float it HAD to be lemon yellow, not banana, not buttercup but LEMON yellow.”
“Of course she did” mumbled Mum, rolling her eyes and glancing for the umpteenth time at her watch.
“She said it’s got ribbons all the way around it, that are going to flutter and sparkle as the float comes by.” Annie was now jumping from one foot to the other, her eyes continually searching with anticipation in the direction of the music.
“Can’t believe we still objectify women like this. I thought we had loosened the apron strings decades ago and broken free of beauty pageants.” Mum’s feet were tapping impatiently, her hands forming fists.
“Were you Miss Showgirl, Mum?” Annie asked, trying to change the conversation.
“Pfft. Yes. My Mother insisted, even filled out my entry form.”
“I bet you were beautiful” Annie said, in a dreamy soft voice.
“But Joanne Fox was more beautiful. She had long, skinny legs and hair with a pigment of red that glimmered under the lights. The three male judges were fascinated. It wasn’t about intelligence, just hair and legs – both of which I had none”
The band clanged louder; the roadside crowd swelled as interest intensified.
Annie and her mother were being pushed and bumped, but Annie held her ground. She insisted on staying in the front row, not about to miss this parade.
“Here it comes, I can see the band! Isn’t this the best?” she asked to no one in particular.
The marching beat of the band sailed past, then whip crackers snapping the air in unison under a banner that proudly reminded the spectators –
75 years of the Barmed Show – best little show in the south west.
“Can you see her yet Mum? Can you see the lemon float?”
“Oh god!” gasped Mum. “I can see it. Is that her up there on that diving board?”
“Oh it is!” shouts Annie. “She said she was going to make a splash; I didn’t know what she meant.”
“Hey Mavis, is that your…” yells someone in the crowd. Mum stares at the woman, high on the diving board, her wizened body barely covered by a yellow polka dotted bikini. Her smile beams, her loose, long grey locks blow in the breeze as she kicks her legs in time to the music.
Mum sinks back into the crowd, her face ashen, her knees wobbling.
Annie surges forward to the front.
“Granny!” she waves “I’m over here Granny – you look super!”
Granny spies her granddaughter, waves and yells “I’ve wanted to do this for 70 years!” and splashes forward into the tank.
This short story was created for a writing submission. The following were requirements in the ~500 word story:
- Your story must begin on the side of a road.
- Your story must include the words APRON, PIGMENT, RIBBON, ICON, LEMON (plurals are okay).
- Your story must include a splash.
FURTHER INFORMATION + LINKS
Lemon splash photo by Ralph Mayhew on Unsplash;
Yellow bikini © Can Stock Photo / mflippo