Kendra looked out of the window of the plane down onto the muted browns of Cairo, a city sprouting from the desert around it. She wondered how it would be to see Asra again after so long. Would he have changed? Would she have? She and Asra hadn’t seen each other for four months. Would they still have such a strong attraction? She hoped so. In her heart she knew she felt the same about him. Or was it just wishful thinking. When she met Asra she was a needy pile of human flesh. She wasn’t anymore, at least less so. Maybe her new perspective would make her see him differently. If she was honest, they didn’t know each other that well. They’d only really gone on three dates and had already broken up once and now they would be spending two weeks together, completely together, 24 hours a day. That seemed slightly mad. She was thinking that maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea after all. Her stomach lurched and it wasn’t because of turbulence.
The plane landed, she got her bags and went through immigration. She came out into the wide glass fronted reception of Cairo’s airport. She tried to find Asra in the crowd, but he wasn’t there. For a second she wondered if he too had realised the recklessness of their plans. Who decides to get back together after four months and their first date is a week in a foreign country together-alone? It was madness!
Several taxi drivers asked if she needed assistance but she told them she was being collected by someone. She hoped that was the truth. But where was he? Maybe she and Asra had got their signals crossed. Maybe she hadn’t given him the right date or time? Only now did she realise, she had no phone number for him in Cairo. If he didn’t pitch up she’d never be able to find him. She had no address for him. Cairo had over nine million people, she’d never find one Asra in the middle of all of those people. She began to panic. Just when she’d decided the entire thing had been a stupid misguided mistake and she should head back to London, she heard someone call her name. She turned and there he was.
He looked even more handsome than she remembered. His short hair had grown out a bit, still dark and wavy with bits of grey, but pushed back hanging slightly over his collar. He wore a casual shirt and jeans that showed his strong arms and muscled thighs. He smiled when she turned to him and, as the familiar clench of her stomach and surge of excitement went through her body, she was happy to find the connection was still there. She was happy to see that even the new Kendra was attracted to the old Asra.
“So you arrived okay?” he said while kissing both of her cheeks. Not her lips though she noticed. She nodded. “You look great. It’s really good to have you here. Really good. I’ve missed you.”
Kendra could see he was nervous. He was chattering, very out of character, not giving her a chance to say anything. Neither one of them knew quite how to act. Basically they were starting over. It was as if they were strangers again, even though they weren’t. In a way it would be better if they were complete strangers, in this in between place they had all sorts of expectations. They knew too much about each other but also not enough too. They both hoped that everything was sorted out between them, that it would be all lovely now, puppies and rainbows and sugar plum fairies. At least strangers came with their jagged edged realism, most first dates ended there so you came prepared.
“So are we going to your flat?” Kendra asked.
Asra picked up her bags. “No. I wanted something special. My flat is tiny and drab and hardly lived in. I don’t think I even have a spare tea cup there, we’d have to share.” He laughed. “No, I’ve booked us a penthouse suite at the Nile Hotel.”