Helga throws her cigarette butt away and shuts her eyes tight. She wants to cry; knows that this situation calls for her to react in some visceral way. After all, the man she's desperately in love with has stood her up in the most fantastic manner. She stands up from the deckchair and takes the ring off her finger. Even though they had promised not to make any contact, he had sent it to her six months after he left Sydney, like a promise that he would meet her. She feels stupid for holding on to the thought that he will fulfil his promise.
She stands up and begins to walk back to the backpacker's resort. It wasn't the same place they had stayed at when they had first met but it was the same beach. She is frustrated. She wants to collapse with exhaustion. How long had she waited for this moment? How long had she waited for him? Something in her breaks and she falls on the sand, drawing her knees to her chest. Then she cries. Because it is beyond pain and disappointment. She doesn't think it is possible for hearts to break but she can feel cracks in hers, before it shatters.
She is trying to control her sobs; she is gasping for air; and it hurts. It hurts more than she can bear. It is not unfair it is reality; and reality operates on far different terms than we mere humans do. Fate is benevolent, but it is cruel too. She doesn't question how, but why. Why has she found herself here? Why, after a series of fate-like circumstances, does she find herself alone. She steadies her breathing and wipes her eyes. All that she feels, all of her thoughts, both good and bad, pool into a dark well at the bottom of her stomach, and with each passing second it rises, until she feels like she can drown. And she sits there, a lonely figure on the deserted beach, thinking that drowning doesn't sound so bad.
She wipes the table with little energy. When she agreed to meet Kit on the beach she had come to Corfu earlier, and found work at the backpacker's resort. She helps with maintenance, and taking the backpackers to the mud baths, wipes tables, and serves dinner, in return for a free room. She gets lots of free time, and she takes the lulls during the day to write her novel. Really, she's not doing much for her board. She drops the rag on the table and picks up the broom. It is 7 in the morning, and the resort is still asleep. Soft blues plays on the radio as she sweeps the terrace of the resort, slowly moving to the beat. There are a few people awake; one sits drinking his coffee and writing furiously in his journal; two girls are smoking and watching the sea.
She's hardly had any sleep and she is exhausted. She fell asleep on the beach and when she had woken she left the broken shards of her heart on the sand, and her chest was now an empty cavity. She knows she is being melodramatic, but it is the first time her heart has really, truly been broken. And she knows, now, she is broken too. She continues to sweep and she hears the resort van sputtering outside. It is only Spiros and the new batch of backpackers. The two girls hear it too and they stand up. They are probably on their way to catch a ferry. They take their bags and hook it over their arms. They wave to Helga when they pass. And she bids them farewell with a wan smile remembering her own backpacking experience more than 8 years ago.
A small group of young people, probably in their early 20s, roll through the side entrance. There is maybe 8 of them, excited to be there. Their jaws drop almost simultaneously when they see the view from the terrace. Helga stops sweeping to look at the group. When she first saw the view from the backpacker's resort, she too felt like she had been punched. From the terrace you could see an unending sea - clear and flat. It winded her. Spiros is talking to someone outside as his wife walks out with a tray full of coffee for the new arrivals. They chat animatedly and excitedly.
"Katia, do you want me to do anything?"
She small Greek woman shakes her head. "Don't be silly, do you want a cup of coffee?"
"I'll get it myself." Helga gestures to the group of people. "A new batch of kids for you to baby."
Katia smiles and watches them too. "Yes, they have had a horror night. Apparently their flight from Athens was delayed, and they were at the airport the whole night."
Katia grins. "Would it be any other airline?" She turns to her companion and sees the dark circles under Helga's eyes. "He didn't come?" Helga shakes her head and wants to tell her that she's okay, but the words don't come out. "How about you grab yourself a cup of coffee," the elder woman tells her. Helga protests but Katia shoos her away.
Helga shuffles around the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil her water. She stands still and stares at the kettle. She can't explain the emptiness. It is like an out of body experience, like she's not really there. She shakes her head and tells herself she should stop moping. The kettle whistles and she pours the hot water into her mug with ground coffee. The aroma sweeps seductively through the kitchen and through her nose. Taking a sip she closes her eyes and enjoys the warm liquid slip down her throat. She exhales then makes her exit.
It is only her name, but it is the voice that arrests her in her place; because there he is, standing on the terrace with Katia (who has a pleased smile on her face.) His hair is dishevelled, and a five o'clock shadow peppers his jaw. Helga blinks a few times and swallows. He's here and the sight of him is too overwhelming. She finds her voice finally and sets the mug on a nearby table. "Kit." Her voice sounds like it will break.
He smiles simply and drops his bags. They walk to meet each other in the middle of the terrace. Kit ingests her in with his eyes. She looks beautiful. The new arrivals consider the couple standing in front of each other curiously. They pair look at each other just a little out of breath. Her eyes flutter close when he draws his fingers lightly down her cheek. He is afraid that she will dissolve like she does in his dreams, but she doesn't. Then he bends down and kisses her, deep and earnest. He draws her closer to him and tightens his hold on her, because he promises to himself that this time he won't let her go.
When they part she looks up at him as her lids flutter open; she knocks him out and he is momentarily speechless. He plays with the fine strands of hair on the nape of her neck. She sighs at his gentle touch and he tells her, "Sorry I'm late. My plane was delayed."
She only laughs and pulls him to her again because this moment is something kind of amazing. Like gravity, their two bodies meet. Their minds are at ease; no longer restless; no longer searching for their other half.
"And such a nature is prone to love and ready to return love, always embracing that which is akin to him. And when one of them meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and one will not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment: these are the people who pass their whole lives together, and yet they could not explain what they desire of one another. For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover's intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment."
(Aristophanes, in Plato's 'The Symposium')
A/N: I hope this ending doesn't seem rushed. Tell me if it is, though, and feel free to point out any mistakes.