|23| Creste di Gallo

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|23| -  "I think your shower can wait."

Airports should be a place of excitement.

As I looked around the departure lounge, that seemed to be the case for the majority of travellers. A group of girls in matching pink t-shirts threw back shots in a nearby bar, their laughter and cheering becoming louder with each drink they downed. A rowdy, drink-fuelled hen party abroad wouldn't be my cup of tea, but I still felt jealous watching them.

One of those girls had a fiancé; she was due to get married and spend the rest of her life with him. What had they been through? Had they had bad arguments? Had they ever felt like they wouldn't make it? Had she ever spent long amounts of time away from him?

I watched the group for several more minutes, creating a whole story in my head about the girls, how they knew each other, where they were going and what their plans held. I wondered what her wedding would be like. A small, intimate event, or a big, white wedding? With an ironic smile to myself, I imagined them spending their honeymoon in Italy.

The girls faded away to a distant memory when I boarded the plane half an hour later. Taking off always gave me mixed feelings.

On the one hand, the hardest part of the journey was over. I'd survived the trip to Gatwick where I'd battled against the realisation that our time in the car would be our last few moments together. I'd said bye to Nathan and fought to hold back the tears. And I'd killed time in the airport whilst reacclimatising to being alone again and trying my hardest not to think about Nathan. Once airborne, that was done. Over. I was effectively on the other side.

On the other hand, however, there was something undeniably distressing about feeling the plane, quite literally, leave British soil, and seeing the landscape of England gradually disintegrate as we climbed higher, the clouds replacing the green fields and brick houses. It was the sensation of being pulled away from home—away from friends, family and Nathan—and taken to a different place where I knew I'd be tested.

At least I had Jasmine.

"...And then I said to him, look. We met for the first time tonight. If you add up every word we've said to each other and string them all together, then it will probably be equivalent to a conversation of about seven minutes."

I raised an eyebrow at Jasmine across the kitchen table. "Ouch."

"Ouch? What do you mean ouch?" Without waiting for me to reply, she continued. "He was repulsively clingy. Now, I'm not saying people don't have the right to want more to come out of a one-night-stand, but you have to be rational about it. I don't owe him anything. In fact, it was his idea to go home together. It's not as if I tricked him."

She shook her head to herself before taking a sip of tea. Whilst I'd been sorting out my shit with Nathan, Jasmine had spent Christmas embroiled in a drama within her friendship group. One of her girlfriends had invited some uni flatmates on a night out with them, and Jasmine had slept with one of the guys. Appalled at the realisation that it was a one-time-only affair, he'd resorted to shaming her in front of their friends.

Jasmine then chuckled to herself as if remembering another detail. "Oh, that was it. He said it's no wonder I'm single when this is how I treat guys. Which I thought was amusing considering that he was the one pushing for us to go on dates when all I'd agreed to was a night of mediocre sex."

"Well, he sounds lovely and you've definitely missed out."

She laughed and then downed the rest of her tea, gesturing towards my cup to offer a refill. Whilst she pottered about in the kitchen, I stole a glance at my phone. Nathan had arranged a meeting with his boss to discuss the prospect of a temporary post in Italy. I hadn't heard anything about how the meeting had gone, so I could only assume it hadn't finished. I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not.

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