I try to claw my way back into dreaming, but it's useless.
Even the lace curtains can't find rest as the wind wrestles
them through the open window.
I'm sprawled across the empty bed.
Groggily I pull my eyelids apart. My hand shoots out to feel
the sheets beside me.
I'm finding nothing my eyes haven't already told me.
He's gone. I'm not looking for a person, but a note, a scrap
of paper: ''Gone to the market, meet you later, sweetheart
Fear is whispering livid thoughts: ''Maybe he's left you.''
I'm in Greece, I can't speak the language, I'm alone.
I try calling him but the same old monotonous automated
message drawls through the speakers.
I try to remember what we'd planned for today.
We'd both agreed the first day would be relaxing, no constant
bickering about money, just a day to ourselves.
I force myself to think he meant ''a day to ourselves''
literally, that he'd left me to do my own thing.
Outside, the endlessly blue sky is cancelling my negativity.
Red and green leaves hang from the vines that have crawled up
from the walls of this quiet cafe.
They droop above the red-clothed tables; a rustling,
whispering audience to my thoughts.
I'm wondering if my relationship is less than I think it to
be, like a child growing up and losing interest in the
Christmas cracker and the joke inside.
I shake off the thought and I sip my orange juice.
Suddenly, there's a vibrating block in my pocket.
Gingerly, I touch it to my ear.
''Why hello, love,'' he says.
I can hear the grin on his face.
''Hello, and what mischief have you been up to today?''
A flood of anger and fear threatens to overwhelm me, but the
need to seriously injure this boy is suppressed.
''You'll see. Well, you won't have far to walk.''
Walk where? He instructs me to step outside and look at the
green hill rising from behind the hotel.
''To the top of that hill.''
My veins are laced with anxiety.
My hands shake; I'm curious, excited.
Dragons are in my stomach, swimming into my throat and
flapping their wings wildly.
On the walk up the hill, the green looms over me like a tidal
My chest is heaving and my throat dry, my legs are burning,
but excitement is still running through me.
The first thing I notice is the patchwork blanket - reds
contrasting with the green of the grass - and the boy sitting
there, with breads and fruits I recognise and meats and
spreads I don't.
His grin has a tinge of nervousness.
I'm so happy to see him after the fear of this morning almost
His velvet hands encase mine as I sit down; his lips caress
my cheek with the sweetest touch.
''I'm sorry I didn't answer my phone today, love.
''I wanted you to have a day to yourself, to make yourself
happy without relying on me.''
His eyes flicker over me, but don't meet mine.
What? So this is a break-up picnic?
The dragons I felt earlier are suddenly steaming, their
snouts ready to blast a hole up through my heart with
The shock on my face causes him to laugh.
''OK,'' he mumbles and fumbles in his pockets.
That's when he brings it out, the little box you'd expect to
see at a restaurant.
That little box that requires one of the most important
answers you will ever give.
I eye it wildly.
I feel like the thing inside is fighting to get out.
I feel his hands on mine again, the left.
A hard band is resting on the first knuckle of my ring
''What do you say?'' he whispers.
• By Johanna Mthieson, Year 13, Kavanagh