Her head broke the surface of the water and she blinked rapidly to relieve the sting of salt in her eyes. She felt her heart pounding with adrenaline caused by the buffeting waves, and she started to toss her hair out of her eyes, before remembering that the chemo had rendered that ingrained habit redundant.
A young man glanced admiringly her way, and for a moment she felt warm, pleased with his attention. Then a slim 20-something-year-old woman walked past through the foam, and she felt the warmth fade as she watched his eyes follow the progress of that microscopic bikini. She involuntarily glanced down at her own swim-suit, carefully selected for the figure-flattering cut and flab-disguising ruching. Every now and then she managed to forget she was old- well, not old, mid fifties wasn’t old, but she was no longer twenty one. It was no longer her way men were glancing. Heads used to turn when she wore her favourite red bikini, but if she wore that now, they’d be turning for all the wrong reasons. No, those days were over.
She absent mindedly jumped a wave, misjudged it, and ended up suddenly floundering with a mouthful of salt water. Her heart was hammering again, but this time it was less pleasant. Her stomach clenched automatically, and her nose and throat burned as she tried to get her breath back. She tried to open her eyes but the sun was too bright and the wind was to dry and the salt stung too much. The most she could manage was a quick squint in order to make sure she wasn’t going to get knocked over by the next wave.
She felt her face screw up and knew (suggestion: 'that' here) she must look ridiculous- a bald, middle-aged woman standing stock still in the surf, with her hands stretched out and just grazing the surface of the water, and (REMOVE) her face screwed up like (I would suggest to replace with 'as though' she had just swallowed half a lemon. With effort, she managed to un-wrinkle her face slightly, and squeeze her eyes open a crack. This time it wasn’t as painful, and slowly her eyes managed to adjust once more to the bright sunlight and salty wind.
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