Saturday 15 June 2019

'Other Plans' by Tim Love

She wanted our first holiday to be memorable. I didn't want to rush things but she insisted. Arriving in Marrakech, tired after a cheap flight, we browsed through leaflets as we ate in the square amongst the smells and performers camels in the Sahara? Kitesurfing at Essaouira? Cycling in the Atlas Mountains? We couldn't decide, so we enjoyed an early night. Long before dawn I was puking and shitting. She dripped water into my mouth, started crying. I told her to go enjoy herself, that there were loads of other tourists around so she'd be safe. Just leave me a bottle of water, I said, and a toilet roll. I'll be fine.

She phoned me that night, saying that after each step up the first dune she slid back to the start. She had to charge at it. The wind made the top razor sharp. Shuffling into the hollow, sand was all she could see. She told me about the stars and the silence, said she'd get a different plane back to London, she'd always meant it to be a farewell holiday not like this, but anyway, you know, sometimes things just don’t work out.

It was weeks before I could ask her why she thought the stars there were any different to the ones I saw from my hotel window, whether the loneliness was the same, and what the difference was between the Sahara’s first dune and the last.

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