She always did like to be different, and in retrospect maybe I should have been worried when she suggested a walk on the beach. Should have read her eyes or checked her tone for clues. Instead, I took her at face value, and found myself enjoying what I mistook as a pleasant stroll toward the sea. When we got there we sat down together on the sand and gazed out into the distance. Never the quickest to catch on, by this point I’d started to feel a touch uneasy, given that we hadn’t exchanged a single word in going on half an hour. Then she sighed, and said all the things people always say in such situations, obvious words that nonetheless never left me. Still haunt me to this day, in fact. My response doesn’t bear repeating.
We made our way back to the hotel separately, which was ridiculous considering we were inevitably going to end up back in the same room. I arrived after her, to find her putting her things into one of our suitcases. I remember feeling surprised that she hadn’t already done so; earlier she’d excused herself from breakfast, and as I stood there watching her I wondered why she hadn’t used that opportunity to pack. My curiosity got the better of me, and I had to ask.
“I didn’t know for certain it was over,” she replied.
“Was there anything I could’ve done?”
“What kind of answer is that?”
“If the answer was ‘no’ we wouldn’t be here right now.”
After that exchange we both cried for a while, tentatively held one another but quickly withdrew, finally moved past the emotions to discuss the practicalities. We still had four days of the holiday left, and as things stood we’d be living in the same space, not to mention sitting next to one another on the flight back. How we managed to raise the funds necessary to ensure that didn’t happen is another story.