I can’t spend another night on the beach. I need a real bed. We have been lying tangled in one another for over one hour. I have braved the mosquitoes and the pins and needles, but now I really need a wee. I try to move, but he grabs me tighter.
‘I don’t ever want you to go, Maddy.’
His eyes are sad and distant. He looks like a lost little boy. I lift myself up enough to lean on my left arm, elbow deep in the sand. I land a kiss in the middle of his forehead.
‘I’m only going to the toilet. I’ll be back before you know it.’ I say lightly.
I don’t know that I can do this deep stuff just now. I’m not ready for things to be so serious, and I’m not too sure I want them to be.
I rush to the washroom. It is dark and silent. Suddenly, I panic. What if Sanka is around? What if he plays his tricks again?
So I run back to Kiri.
‘It’s really dark, can you come with me?’
He sits up, looks around and pushes himself up with one hand. He trots over to me, takes my hand and pulls me along toward the restaurant.
He turns the lights on and waits for me. When I join him, he smiles, and opens his arms. I snuggle up to him, and we hold each other tight.
‘It’s your last day tomorrow, right?’
‘We leave the day after, but tomorrow is our last full day, yes.’
‘And then what?’ I’m not too sure what he’s asking.
‘And then how can I contact you? Will you call me?’
My heart melts. How could I ever abandon you? I scream in my head.
‘We’ll talk as much as you want, just remember there is a time difference with the UK.’
‘I know. I need to buy a phone. Can you come with me tomorrow to buy a one?’
I’m not sure of my role in his life. I’m his girlfriend – can’t really say lover, not yet, anyway - but sometimes I feel more like an older sister, a motherly figure even.
I’m his sounding board for thoughts he can’t share with others, but how does he really see me? It is a worrying thought.
I need to understand how I see him too. I know I feel protective, and I would do anything to make him feel safe and loved, but is this what is supposed to be like, to have a boyfriend? Ben was the provider, protector, the older and more knowledgeable half of the pie. I never felt I needed to wrap him up in cotton wool or sooth his wounds. With Kiri, I feel responsible.
‘Sure. I can come over tomorrow for breakfast and then we can go and buy a phone.’
‘Nice! Thank you.’ He kisses the top of my head. ‘I’ll walk you back. It’s late now.’
He takes my hand, and we walk to the street, stop to pick up my sandals and make our way back to the hotel. He kisses me goodnight and walks off. I stand there on the street, looking after his disappearing figure until he is swallowed by the darkness and I can’t see him anymore. I turn and make my way to our room. What the hell is happening to me?