It's the start of a hot summer. Anna has again begun her school hols by coming to the small local outdoor pool; but this summer she's wearing her new polka-dot bikini.
She stands near the poolside with a fresh self-conscious pride.
Music filters from a little radio on the grass at her boyfriends side where he lays on his towel, sunbathing.
Anna views his body smothered in suntan oil; seemingly accentuating the youth's skinny physique. Despondently she wonders when he would begin taking a more adult interest in her body.
But then Anna noticed she had caught the attention of a stocky male sunbather nearby. Anna's eyes met his and the man grinned knowingly.
She smirked inwardly; it was easy now to sort the men from the boys.
Throwing him a grimace, she adjusts the cups of her bikini-top for effect before picking up her brush to pull it through her long mousy hair. Looking into the sparkling blue of the pool, Anna's thoughts revert to an earlier summer here; when Aunt would refer to her as "a spindle of a girl".
Anna still held the magic of that day surreptitiously in her soul.
Aware now she had caught the eye of the new pool-man, she stood up, stretching her curvaceous body luxuriously in the sunshine as she sized him up.
He was much younger than Badgio yet she could instantly tell; he lacked a certain something. His hands were too slim, his face too soft; he lacked Badgio's crudely exciting maleness. Anna was peeved. Where was Badgio?
It had been the hot June of '64:as she finished her first year at Bedales. Her mother had the idea of all going to the pool's opening day. It was a place only open for the summer season. Apart from themselves, the pool was almost deserted; a mother with her toddler, two elderly men slowly swimming breaststroke from end to end, and the pool man placing out the deckchairs.
Fearful of sunburn, Anna's mother was busy administering the calamine to her younger sister. Mother and her W I friends had all come through the war together and stuck with the ways they knew. They were cautious of modernity. Although Anna had begged this year for a new swim-suite, she was still in the green woollen thing with the maroon piping. Anna felt it didn't help her plain looks; even her best friend had joked she should keep a paper bag handy when meeting up with boys.
But Anna would soon discover, things other than a girl's pretty face could be mysteriously attractive to a man.
The women's gossip had eventually bored Anna and she decided to go for an ice-lolly. Walking slowly pass the elderly swimmers she made her way to the kiosk at the other end, where the pool-man in gold rimmed sun-specks was working.
The ice-cream hut was closed.
'Hello young miss! Come to give Badgio a hand, 'ave you?' the broad pool-man had hailed in a curious accent.
Anna was surprised at the suntanned man bothering to speak to her.
She gawped at his dark muscular torso while he continued his stacking ... her lowering gaze lingering on the bulky pouch of his trunks ... but then pulling away when it caught the pool-mans eye. Then she sensed his gaze on her. She lagged behind him as he'd worked to the rear of the kiosk, drawn somehow by his curious glances.
In an attempt to mask her embarrassment and by way of retaining his attention, she'd casually asked him why the kiosk wasn't open for ice creams.
'Ice creams!' he smiled quietly at her, 'don't you want a good swim ... stretch them lovely legs of your'n for me?' Anna's nascent sexual awareness registered; a thrill darting through her chest.
For the first time a man was wooing her. What did a girl do or say?
Anna gazed boldly now at his thick torso whilst replying languidly. 'Actually, I'm not swimming at all today, I want to tan my body instead.' Then she raised her gaze to his eyes.
He'd stopped then, openly assessing her body before saying ' What a young miss like you needs, like ... to get a proper tan, is a bikini! It'll let the sun get more to yer flesh!' She was unsure if her green woollen costume figured anywhere in his suggestion, yet felt cross, it was now spoiling her appearance. How she wished to be rid of it.
Then she said, ' Well I haven't got a bikini yet ... so ... I may just have to sunbath naked today I suppose!' Anna had ended the pool-man's guessing and he ceased his stacking to face her, his large hand slowly adjusting the crotch of his trunks.
As she lifted her eyes to his, she felt her heart beating. She had never spoken to any adult in such a fashion. 'What do you think?' she added meekly.