Kendra wasn’t sure how much time passed when Asra said, “Are you sleeping?”

She opened her eyes and somehow he’d transported himself from the buffet table to the pillow next to her. “No, no of course not.”

She wiped the dribble from her mouth, she feared the corners of her eyes were caked with sleep but she didn’t dare touch them remembering the make-up at the last second. The belly dancers at the front were magically replaced with whirling dervishes. They also had lights on their spinning skirts so she looked away and down at her food. “This looks lovely.”

Asra had a puzzled look on his face.

She pulled off a piece of the pita bread and dipped it in the baba ghannoug. Asra watched her. “Do you want some wine?” he asked.

“No! I… mean no. Aren’t you a Muslim? I thought they don’t drink.”

“My family is Muslim but we’re not religious very much anymore. My mother died and my father decided he would not believe in such an evil god that would take her away. So we stopped going to mosque. ”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Already she felt better. It must have been the nap and the food was helping too. “He must have loved her very much.”

“Yes, he did. But she died quite a long time ago, twenty years now. We’re fine, only no religion.” He smiled though Kendra noted a tinge of sadness.

They ate in silence and watched the dervish whirl and whirl. “So what do you do in UK?” he asked.

Kendra was surprised, how did he know she was from the UK? Did she tell him? She couldn’t remember. He must have noticed her accent just as she had noticed his. “I’m an accountant, at the Royal Opera House.”

He smiled nodding his head. “Really? That’s a nice job.”

“I like it. I love theatre. We have opera, of course, but also ballet and other productions. It’s quite a special place to work. I once thought I might be a ballerina, but I didn’t cut it.”

“I’m sorry,” he said and looked as if he genuinely meant that.

“Don’t be. It was long ago, dreams of a girl really, a wild dream. I love my job, I really do. I work with great people. What do you do?” Kendra asked.

“I’m a pilot. That’s why I’m here actually. I had a four day lay-over and took my friend up on his offer to stay at their family villa here in El Gouna. I think mostly he wanted me to check on the staff. I know he and his family hardly ever get here, always busy in Cairo.”

“So do you live in Cairo too?” Kendra asked.

He hesitated. “It’s hard to say where I live exactly. I have a flat in Cairo I rarely use…I sort of bounce around. I’m often in London too. I haven’t decided where I want to make my home just yet.”

Kendra smiled. That was sounding hopeful. Maybe this didn’t need to be a holiday affair after all. He watched her eat the lamb kebabs. “So you like Egyptian food?”

“Yes, I do. This is my second trip to Egypt actually. I was here before. To Alexandria with my boy…” She stopped. She forgot for a moment that she didn’t have a boyfriend. Will was not her boyfriend anymore. She’d also promised Bianca there would be no Will talk, but now here she was. She’d been feeling good, almost forgetting all about Will and with one word she was back to her pit of despair. Back to feeling her old rejected Kendra self. New exciting Kendra, where did you go??


Tell us what you think: Are there certain things that you should try not to talk about on your first date? If so, what do you think they are?