Daniel and I wasted no time when we landed in Egypt. Daniel said that he had a friend whose family lived out there from time to time so we ended up borrowing his home in Cairo. It was a double story and hella-roomy. In every room there was a different design of white etched into the ceiling and lining, and painted in gold. It was definitely a family home, even though we were only two. And because we only just got here, beat from all the travelling and running around (not to mention the minor arguing and detachment that now made its presence ache prominently) we decided to just lay low and mainly asleep the next few days. We did have until mid-December after all.
“How do you feel about having thanksgiving in Egypt?” Daniel asked while we were on yet another flight.
This time it was one hour straight to Sharm El Sheikh. Bare bods, bathers and banana boats here we come!
I shrugged at his question. I had a lot of other pressing issues at hand that completely distracted me from thanksgiving. “Try a new thing every day right?”
Daniel nodded and gave me a polite smile as if he thought a bigger more intimate one would break me. “Right.”
Our relationship isn’t exactly right at the moment. Daniel and I could both feel the uneasiness between each other like palpable energy. It wasn’t that we just didn’t like each other anymore, because I love him and I know he loves me. But I think it was just that we were different. No matter how much we wanted to be with each other, something cosmic designed something else for Daniel and me besides us right now. And now we could feel the change. Our bodies didn’t intertwine with a keen interest like they used to. Instead of a warmth that resonated when we touched, a melting of each other unto each other, we were disconnected. Kiss here. Hold hands there. Smile now. We moved, not like the waves on the shore of The Red Sea, back and forth in unison, but like opposite sides of a magnet trying to regain what we’re now realising is becoming lost. Our love.
The Red Sea was an unimaginable place. I must admit, on the way here I thought I saw it all before but I was definitely wrong. At the shore of the water we encountered a swarm of tiny fishes. I forgot what they’re called but apparently they’re the kinds you fry and eat like chips. Yuck! The deeper we got inside the more crazy sapphire blue the water was becoming. I tripped (yes, it’s possible in water at such a slow-grandma-walk speed, to trip) on a huge ass rock that I didn’t even see. Although it was crystal clear to Daniel as I watched him navigate with caution around it to come to my aide.
“Are okay?” Daniel asked. Smiling with the smile of honesty he always possessed. Unlike the polite one before, it had real meaning.
I laughed. “I’m okay. I’m just clumsy. And blind. Clumsy and blind.”
Daniel chuckled. “The perfect combination in water.”
We laughed again together. The chime of our joyful voices happily ring-a-ringing around each other.
“I have to confess,” I declared, “I’m not a good swimmer at all.”
“That’s alright. The salt content will keep you afloat. I can barely dive.”
A little wave came spiralling towards us and I caught a bit of the water in my mouth. It burned the entire way and I started coughing non-stop. I felt like I was going to throw up or pass out or both.
Daniel held me up by the arm seeing as how I was rubbing my eyes as well. “Do you want to go back?”
“Are you kidding,” I shrieked, gasping for air, “I’m having so much fun.”
Daniel chuckled, and in that chuckle I could hear he was unconvinced. “Come on, we’re going back.”
I limped all the way to the hotel, coughing here and there. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I burped and threw up a bit of water, and continued burping. I was a disgusting and embarrassing wreck.
“How did you even drink that much water?” Daniel asked after I spilled a good supply.
I shook my head. “I don’t know.” My voice was hoarse and rough. Akin to sandpaper rubbing up against another sandpaper as if they were Iggy and JLo.
Back at the room, Daniel came prepared. “I had an inkling this would happen,” he said, laying me on the bed after I took a hot shower.
The entire time we walked my foot was stinging. I realised that I didn’t just hurt my foot like a little bump and I was fine, I was actually bleeding and the salt water was electrifying the wound.
“Seeing as how the salt water is pretty much antiseptic within itself,” Daniel said, “I’m just going to put on band-aid.”
“Banana boat tomorrow?” I grinned.
Daniel laughed. “How about we get you sorted first? I’ll go make you some hot chocolate.”
“I don’t want any,” I shook my head, angering a dormant headache.
“It’ll be good for your throat. Trust me.”
I shook my head again.
“Doctor’s orders,” he said. “And that’s final.” He kissed me on my forehead and then went to the corner of the room to the kettle he swiped from his friends’ family vacation home.
I was just about to fall asleep when Daniel came over. No he didn’t take that long; I was just that exhausted from the abuse of The Red Sea. Tomorrow, I vow to tackle the water head on! But for now, lying in bed in Daniel’s arms while drinking some hot chocolate was definitely a treat.
“This feels good,” Daniel said.
I nodded in agreement. “This hot-choc tastes good too. Props.”
Daniel laughed, moving my head as his chest vibrated. “Glad you like it.”
Our conversations were more or less reduced to small talk. Hardly anything sentimental lately; mostly superficial. As if we were both anxious of rattling each other’s cages. Daniel about Adam; and me about potential new living arrangements. We were stuck, but I still wanted to try and make things work.
“I’m going to check when the buffet opens for dinner,” Daniel said, wriggling out of bed.
I was about to tell him that he could just call the front desk when I realised he wanted to have some time for himself and go for a slow walk without me. And he wanted to say it in a way that didn’t hurt my feelings. A little strange considering the universal conditions of a vacation. I guess my figuring that out ruined the point of hurt feelings.
The television was on and I remained in bed, but I was totally disinterested in what was on. It was basically Russia in Sharm El Sheikh so some of the channels were actually catering to that crowd. Only a few catered to the English speaking crowd. The rest was Arab television, where movies were actually interesting considering the major difference in acting and language altogether.
Either way, I wasn’t here to watch television so I started snooping around to get to know the room better. It was like hunting for treasure. Every nook and cranny was out in the open, so it didn’t take long for me to check everything out; like the fact that the shampoo and bath and shower gel had exactly the same ingredients. I never knew I’d discover an existential crisis within a cleanser all the way in North Africa: was it a shampoo or a bath and shower gel? In this time I guesstimated Daniel’s arrival, but he never showed. I opened the door and listened out for footsteps but I couldn’t hear any. I listened out for the elevator but there was no movement. I was disappointed, and I was missing Daniel. I took all of that as a good sign, though.
There was a section of the room that held the safe in the middle of a floor to ceiling shelf. A ledge sitting out of the wall on the opposite side of it with two drawers, and a closet situated in between the two. In the closet, within a protective sleeve, hung Daniel’s suit. It was an extremely nice suit, one for going out in the night to an exquisite restaurant. I couldn’t help but grab a feel of the sleek fabric like I was groping it. I removed the jacket from the hanger and tried it on, turning around in the mirror. Damn, men’s clothes on women look so good! I love that style.
I ran my fingers all along the sleeve and inside the jacket. I dunked my hand inside the breast pocket and crushed my fingers on a hard surface. I thought it was empty which was why I stuck my hand straight through, but ouch, that hurt. Hot chocolate, stat! I fiddled around and pulled out a box. Baby blue. White ribbon. Tiffany and Co.
My heart sank and I placed it on the shelf and sat myself on the ledge. Keeping my eyes on baby blue up there as if it’d disappear if I looked away. I started getting hot and feeling the burn of the salt water reappear in my throat as I breathed in and out shakily. It was like a bunny in the hat type of surprise. Ta-da! Out of the pocket. Were there any other surprises? I quickly checked the rest of the pockets and then jumped at the pants. I crushed my fingers on another box in the right pocket. I began pulling it out while feeling a tiny bit of relief, thinking that the two boxes were a part of a set. This time, it was a Cartier box.
Now I’m…terribly confused.