The streets are deserted, as is fitting for the morning after a Perthwide party, and I join a peloton of MAMILs on West Coast Highway. They were the largest I had encountered yet, at least thirty strong, and I overtook them jauntily on an empty highway.
Ten minutes later I was driving out of the carpark of a very expensive and very closed beach café and the MAMILs and I cornered together from different directions. I precipitated a wordless, deep throated call to travel down the line, warning that there was a tiny car occupying the tight corner!
NOTE: MAMILs – Middle Aged Men In Lycra, or, Men Who Brunch (in Lycra)
I was just turning to walk back down the beach when I saw him, a golden lion of a man with a classically good-looking face, bright blue eyes and gold streaked brown hair. He had a long, ideally muscled tan body with glistening gold hair over every inch. He wore perfectly fitting red shorts, thin enough to cling to all the right curves. I turned around and started back down the beach.
Past the circle of Hipsters in sorbet coloured beach shorts (apricot, lemon, pistachio, blueberry) and Wayfarers in crayon colours spiking a volleyball around their too-close circle. Without warning the ball dropped and they unwound the circle into a line and headed into the waves like hairy-chested, side-fringed ducklings.
Past the seriously dark Indian man with ‘I Work Up North’ tattoos and muscles, wooden prayer beads splayed across plush velvet skin.
Past a young man with the perfect chiselled chest of a Roman marble and skin the colour of marble too - an IT tan, pitch black hair and, to dress such a stunning physique, the ugliest boardshorts imaginable.
Back to my siblings, the boys admiring our neighbours, two lovely looking thirty-somethings in stylish but fun bikinis and the hottest straw hats on the beach. From those pretty faces came surprisingly ocker accents when the ocean flooded over the sand towards their towels. They clutched undone bikini tops to boobs and saved their bags, leaving the towels to be soaked. No girlish screeches, just surprised exclamations and then wordless co-operation as they took the waterlogged towels and wrung them out, holding an end each with practised teamwork.
The beach lion had overtaken me as I reached my towel and had settled on the shoreline near me as I headed into the water. When he hit the surf next to me, the glistening drops of water spangled his mane and I was too intimidated to do anything but smile tightly at his polite eye contact. I watched him walk away down the sand, the beautiful, bashful beach god in his perfect red shorts.
We were all standing, sweltering, in at least five paintings. Those of us in the sea were on an alien beach in a petrochemical peacock and jade green sea brushed with pearl grey. Watching the sunset was like watching the end of the world, the sun sitting on a burning orange skyline with the island and container ship profiles suggesting the ruins of dying civilisations. To the right a grey striated rainstorm made up of sheets of silver rain was coasting down from the north, throwing rainbows ahead of it. Behind the hundreds of people in bathers holding beers was a clear blue sky over the baking land. To the left the clouds were shaped by the upper winds into towering shapes that became Alpine valleys or stunning mesas depending on your perspective, and it was all wrapped up in the muggy heat of too much weather in one place.