I listen to the warble on the foreign radio and it’s weird, like something Patriotic that would be in the Eurovision song contest.
“It’s only in Jordan…” is the only phrase I fully catch, though there are traces of words about dancing, and something to with jackets.
I take a good look around the Jordanian restaurant with my mother:
Bright lights. Silk-cloth tables. Wooden boarded floor. And a group of muscular tanned men dancing about a platform in the center of the restaurant. They grab hold of the wrists of one of the passing diners and pull her up to join their spiraling dance. We can tell that she is eager but, personally, I wouldn’t trust those men.
My mother leads me over to the table that the rest of our tour-group is at, still mesmerized by the dancing, as though it is a magician’s trick.
“Hey,” Imogen Cater waves from her place at the table, all Chinese features but English personality. We’ve become good friends, even though we only just met some three days ago.I suppose with some people one just ‘clicks’… Unlike Ezme and myself…
As the adults get submerged into their conversation, suddenly I blurt out:
“I have a friend called Ezme.”
Imogen turns to me fully and raises a perfectly shaped eyebrow.
I look away, embarrassed at my sudden outburst and, having looked at the attractive dances to my full, let my mind wander to the local play and Ezme and Daniel.
What really does ‘taking a break’ mean? To be honest, it wasn’t Ezme’s fault, Year 7’s Kevin had always been crushing on her, and Bernice had encouraged him to take a step forward. Of course, the kiss wasn’t Ezme’s doing, but Bernice was the only witness… A little goblin.
“Hey,” Imogen shakes me away from my thoughts, “You’re here to get away from school, so stop looking so serious.”
That at least is true, I am missing two weeks because of this trip, but it’ll be the only overseas holiday I will have with my mother all year.
“So, this girl Ezme sounds pretty important to you…” Imogen nudges me to keep talking.
“I don’t know. To be honest, I never knew whether we were friends or not. She was the popular one…”
“What didn’t happen! This is Ezme we’re talking about!”
Imogen frowns, confused.
“I could write a book on her!” I exclaim, waving my hands out with wide gestures like a windmill.
“Okay, tell me,” Imogen says, much more calmly than I had done, “Who is Ezme?”
I turn back to Imogen, and inspect her simple but pretty- and trustful- features. I smile.
“Francis Ezme Winters.”