Victoria had very kindly invited us all away for a few days of rest and relaxation in the Whitsundays. As was evident in the last few episodes, things aren’t great at Casa de Oldfield (David and I have put a Cold War era Kennedy and Khrushchev to shame) but Victoria has advised I forget about all that for the next few days and enjoy a few laughs and a lot of drinks.
“Faaaaaaaaark him and fuggedaboutitall dahhhhhhl” Victoria opines in her Jeannie Little / Tiny Tim love-child dragging her claws down a chalk-board voice.
Since David has made it clear that I make no discernible contribution to the family and that my boys don’t miss me, I figure it can’t hurt to take my first girls trip away since Schoolies in 1993.
We arrive at the resort, everyone bedecked in their finery. I’m ready for a gallon of Skinny Bitches and for hilarity to ensue.
I meet Matty, Melissa, Victoria and Krissy on the wharf for a sunset champagne. I’m feeling good. Victoria gives my hand a gentle squeeze. I’ve made the right decision.
Athena and Nicole are nowhere to be seen. It’s only after I watch the full episode that I learn that Nicole is schooling Athena in Etiquette 101 and other essential life-skills like How To Pack and How To Wash A Cashmere Jumper.
Whilst we are waiting for Athena and Nicole to arrive, Krissy instructs us in the art of Strutting the Catwalk. I am astounded. I didn’t realise that; firstly, it would be so hard and secondly, that Kmart models like Krissy were required to walk the Runway.
Once Athena and Nicole re-join the group, we toast our holiday, enjoy a few awkward hugs and set-off for dinner.
Victoria has arranged a beautiful meal under the stars. The water is lapping on the beach, my fourth Skinny Bitch has gone down far too well, my stress is melting away.
But of course, this is post-menopausal schoolies and tranquillity is fleeting. Athena swaps her vegan meal for one containing animal products (I’m buzzing on Skinny Bitches at this moment, so don’t ask me what was swapped or with whom)
Athena talks about her Veganism, how she’s 80% Vegan. Nicole chastises Athena for wearing an ivory bracelet, apparently that’s a direct violation of her 80% veganism. Seemingly, an elephant was shot. With all the screaming and accusations, I’m wishing I was said elephant.
Ostensibly, this trip was to forget our worries. So I am horrified when Victoria asks how my pending divorce is faring. Shit. I hadn’t shared my marital problems with any of these girls. And thanks for ruining my Skinny Bitch buzz Victoria.
I lock eyes with Nicole. The one person I should have disclosed my troubles with is Nicole. She is a long time family friend of both David and me. Nicole is also the last person I wanted to burden with my problems for exactly the same reason.
All of a sudden I am fending off questions relating to my sex-life and my sleeping arrangements. I’m wishing the ground would swallow me up. These women, some trying to help, some trying to harm, are all offering me unsolicited and unqualified advice. Cognisant that all these girls deserve a break from their busy (ok Matty) and their not so busy lives (the rest of them) I excuse myself from the table.
Nicole finds me sneaking a cigarette on a gazebo and she is genuinely upset. I feel really bad. Nicole shouldn’t have had to hear about my problems second-hand. But apparently I have upset our hostess. Victoria is seething that I haven’t called her divorce lawyer and cleaned David out. What. The. Fuck ? Couldn’t I have a little more than a couple of days to ponder my next step in the future of a 17 year relationship ?
At the time, I wasn’t privy to Victoria’s rantings and ravings, but of course, having now viewed the episode in full, I am not surprised that Victoria is “feeling like a fool” after all, she accused me of doing a 360 degree turn (spoiler alert Vicki, that’s a full revolution, so I am back to where I have started from)
Having passed out in a pool of my own blood and vomit, I awake to a blinding Far North Queensland Sun, a killer hangover and ten minutes to pack my kit and board the boat.
Frocked up and fucked up, I meet the girls at the wharf. Athena looks like Popeye the Sailor Man. Krissy is wearing a net (clearly Victoria doesn’t enforce a blanket ban on netting, only when one is draped over Athena) just covering a camel toe that makes me suspect Krissy is smuggling Yo-Yos.
Matty and I are paired off in a room due to our mutual affliction of chronic snoring. The room is small. I don’t mind, it’s been a long time since I have cuddled anything but my pillow to sleep. Besides Matty is little and won’t take up much room.
Availing myself to some hair of the dog, I get stuck in to the champagne (as do my fellow Housewives) We arrive at a pristine beach and Captain Paul offers us a variety of water sports. I opt for snorkelling and convince Matty and Nicole to do the same.
Boarding the tender to the beach, one of the crew mentions something about a strong undercurrent. By this time, I was three sheets to the wind on Champagne with a couple of Endone chasers (for my recent neck operation) and figured said current was irrelevant, I was only planning to snorkel by the shore.
On the beach, I spit in to my mask to prevent fogging. Matty is disgusted. Meanwhile, I am trying to figure out how Matty is going to wrap those gargantuan lips around a snorkel.
I dive in to the ocean. It is warm. It is forgiving. I can’t hear anyone. Bliss.
I venture further and further out. I chase a couple of wrasse. I wish I could stay here forever in this womb-like seclusion.
Fuelled by adventure, alcohol and drugs, I figure I can make it to the boat, some 500 metres from shore. I’ll have a shower, do my makeup and return on the tender looking less like the Wreck of the Hesperus I am imagining myself to be.
But every time I surface, the boat gets further and further away. Oh shit, I am caught in the rip. In my addled state I try and remember my Bronze Medallion course. Swim across it ? Well I’ll give it a red hot go ! (nb: always travel with the rip).
I can see the girls on the beach, I put my hands over my head to form a pyramid (which means “I am OK” as my Master Instructor SCUBA diver husband enjoyed telling me well after the fact) I shouted out, but my voice didn’t carry over the sounds of boat engines and people frolicking.
My legs are tired, my neck is sore and I am really starting to panic. I catch the eye of a lady sunbathing on the back of a boat, she calls out and asks if I’m OK. Exhausted I shake my head and call out as loud as I can “no”.
The lady starts screaming at her husband and he makes his way down from the flybridge. He’s big. Really big. And slow. Oh fuck, I’m going to drown before he gets to me. He waddles off the marlin board and on to a plastic kayak which now sits perilously low in the water. And tied to it is a great big fucking blow up swan.
Even in this heightened state of fear, I can’t help but snort at the absurdity of the situation. Quicker in a kayak than on land (and probably propelled by the current) my rescuer overshoots my position and tells me to grab on to the swan’s tail.
Dragged gently through the tropical water, holding on to this partially deflated swan I am quickly reunited with our boat. My rescuer flags one of the young Sahana deckhands who helps haul me on to the back of the boat and remove my fins.
Half laughing and half crying, I thank my rescuer and hose myself off. I peel off my wetsuit, towel dry my hair and get dressed ready to return to the beach.
I have no concept of time. To me I feel like I’d been out there for ages, but wasn’t sure. Surely my companions would be looking for me by now ?
But no, they are all assembled around a Bacchanalian feast, laughing about whatever basic bitches laugh about when one of their friends goes missing.
I’m really pissed off, particularly at Matty and Nicole who should have raised the alarm. I start telling them off and recounting my story. They all looked shocked. That is until I mention the morbidly obese man with a blow-up swan and they start falling over laughing.
Krissy is looking pissed off. Probably because there’s no young male waiter on the beach to harass and calls BS. Violence is rarely the answer (unless the question is “how do you define aggression”) and I consider bopping her on the nose. But worried my fists will improve a proboscis that two bad nose jobs failed, I think better of it and throw back a very large glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
When we get back to the boat I try to call David. I’m shaken. I need to talk to him. Talk to the boys. I look at the time and date on my phone, it’s our wedding anniversary. But we can’t get signal this far out in the Whitsundays.
I have a little nap, but really just want to be anywhere but here. I join the girls for dinner on the back of the boat. My heart isn’t in it. I have lost my appetite. I excuse myself from the table and start to cry.
It feels good to cry. Really cry. I had been holding in so much for so long. I’m soon joined by a very concerned Nicole. I’m glad she is there. I really appreciate her warmth and succour. I rest some more and then plan my escape from the boat.