For as far as he could see the world was clean and still and cast in amber. The sun hung languid and white, and he could feel his skin already wet and tightening about him in the heat. The man who had promised to wake him never came.
He had gone to bed last night with music outside his tent and laughter and fire, and violet smoke to shield them from the sky, because if you looked for too long at that sky at night you felt it beating down on you in all of its darkness and with all of its stars, and you felt your own body hollow and cave in on its own unimportance. He had gone to bed last night with the taste of too much mint tea in his mouth and had faded thinking of being woken for the sunset.
The other tents were gone now and so was the music and the smoke and he was left to face alone the sky and the lonely silence which had begun to beat with his heart and shake him from within. The tents were gone and there was only sand, as if they were still there and buried. He wanted to scramble to the ground and in a bombastic gesture sift the sands in search, he wanted to perform because in his gesture he would make an audience, but then he was afraid and embarrassed of lifting his head when he found nothing in the sand and having to know that no one was watching.
He remembered the faces of the men who took him out there, men wrapped in Berber white with faces braided in wrinkles, whose eyes seemed to be the world and whose names ran together in his head, and the women with turquoise tattoos knotting down their foreheads, and they now seemed to him to have always been the faces of liars and the ones that smiled as they danced last night only masks.
The winds began to stir, dancing upon the dunes and feathering their razored edges with dust. He wandered, scrambling up a dune, marring its pristine paper folds. As he reached the top, he looked down and saw the dune's face rippled like water and its perfect edge crushed, and his head swirled with guilt.
He tried to grasp vaguely about how he had been deceived, but he knew. He knew that he had come out here with no thoughts and only dreams. He had wanted to get so lost in such a vast plane of only two colors that something brilliant would have to come, to remove himself from everything and let the desert swirl in the sirocco and embrace him, but it did not swirl and it did not embrace and no brilliance came. Only more of the blurred white heat and the sweat curled around his eyes and the sand all stuck to him and became a part of him until his skin was orange with it and his hair powdery gray, and still no epiphany.