Beautiful you be
When a-floating in the sea
But not so much…. on me.
I was stung quite badly when I was 7. It was on the 12th of January, Redhead Beach, Newcastle. There was a warning sign but many people were swimming. The beach was patrolled. My sister and I were the closest to the beach, laying in the lapping waves. My arms in front of me, my legs behind, on my belly in the shallows. She was behind me.
I was engulfed by bluebottles. My arms were paralysed for several hours (in first position, for my ballet friends). I do not remember pain, I do remember kindness…and some laughter. My sister would sooth my stings at school during recess (smoothing them tiny red welts over my arms and back with some kind of cream for such purposes). The laughter came in the hours I was paralysed. We visited friends. They had a trampoline. This was a rare opportunity for us. So I bounced away in first position.