The departure

Suze was his first serious girlfriend. Even as the boarding call went out on the PA Carter still hadn’t come to terms with their next four months apart. Though she didn’t want to see him unhappy Suze had plans. She’d fill the time with other sights and other companions and hoped he’d lighten up a bit while she was away. She whispered I love you to his ear. That much was true and as much as he needed, or wanted, to know. He whispered it back his head swimming with desperate thoughts of forever. They stayed entwined until the only other passenger left to board was a guy locked in his own parting embrace with a girl with straw-coloured dreads. Frustrated ground staff announced a final call.

The door from the gate lounge swung shut and she was gone. Carter looked across at the dreadlocked blonde. The two of them made such a forlorn sight that he couldn’t help smiling. She told him her name was Bea, and she didn’t know about him, but she could do with a coffee.