November 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
The door of the coach closes with a hiss, and they are engulfed in a cloud of dust as it pulls away. The taller of the two young women turns to the other one, whose sunburn masks her washed-out features, and shrugs.
They’d not meant to be here. They were supposed to be heading for the coast. It was all planned, but the woman at the ticket office had pointed them towards the coach without mentioning the connections, how the coach driver would look at them and mutter something in spanish whose sentiment seemed to question their choice, how they’d be waiting for two hours in the insistent August sunshine.
The shorter of the women is staring at her friend in a vaguely accusatory manner, but that’s no surprise. What started as a casual comment about how much each of them loved the Iberian peninsula turned, over a couple of bottles of wine, into a plan for a holiday, and neither had wanted to admit to their growing unease about the idea; they are here now, and the near-sincerity of the first couple of days of holiday has now slipped into protracted silences punctuated by occasional moments of sangria-fuelled levity, mutually forgotten in the morning.
The taller woman suggests that they walk to the town that is just visible in the shimmering distance, and she lifts her backpack to her shoulders in readiness; her friend grudgingly nods at her whilst frantically rummaging through her mind for reasons to disagree.