I walked away on a Wednesday.
We were on holidays at the time. The Greek Islands. Paros. It was beautiful. The hotel was beautiful. The sea was beautiful. Blue skies, white beaches, warm days and endless sunshine. Just as the brochure had promised. But something felt off. I was cold.
I was thirty-three and like looked great. From the outside. I had a good job, a nice home and a handsome partner. Neither of us believed in marriage so we never pushed that. We didn’t want children. We had plenty of money.
We were heading out for a meal with another couple. It was the last two days of the holiday and Peter said we were properly relaxed now. We walked hand in hand. It was a friendly resort. As we passed through town I stopped to look at a street performer. One of those human statues. You know the ones, a person dressed and painted to look like a statue. They stand still all day entertaining tourists and collecting money. She was done up to look like Athena. She was stunning. Her face was perfect. Especially her profile. I wanted to be her. It was such a good costume. I wondered how she could stand so still in the heat. I was fascinated but Peter wasn’t so he pulled on my arm.
‘Come on’ he said. ‘I’m hungry.’
That’s him for you, always thinking with his stomach. I just looked at him. I wanted to punch him but said nothing as usual. And that’s when it hit me. I have to leave. I’m not happy. It was the clearest thought I’d had in months. Years maybe.
I sat through dinner in a trance. Greek salad. The others talked about houses and holidays, finance and France. Moussaka. I paid no attention. Coffee. I didn’t say a word. Not even when the sexy waiter spilled red wine on my shirt. It didn’t matter.
When we got back to the room Peter asked what was wrong with me. I’d barely spoken all night he said. He was annoyed he said. I could tell he was looking for an argument. I lied and told him I wasn’t feeling well. He was nice then. He made me tea. Then he took off his clothes and went to sleep in his boxers. I did too.
He was out like a light as usual. The wine always does that to him. He was snoring in ten minutes. I lay awake waiting for the right time. I could feel it coming. My heart wasn’t pounding though. I was calm.
Once I knew he was in a deep sleep I got up. I got dressed, packed a few clothes into a small bag and left. I walked down the steps of the hotel and out into the night. It was still warm. I looked out to the sea. It was so dark it was impossible to tell where it began and the sky ended. The soft waves were washing the sand clean. Getting ready for another day of footprints and sandcastles. It was one o’clock but the streets were still packed with young lovers out for fun.
I went to the nearest ATM and took out as much money as I could. Even the savings. Two thousand and three hundred pounds. Then I got a taxi to take me to the nearest port. I was lucky. I caught the last boat leaving for Anti-Paros. I sat on the deck of that boat watching Paros slip away while the engines rumbled underneath. The churning of the turbines left a white trail behind the boat. It felt really cold out on the sea so I put on my jacket. I wasn’t cold then.