“Who was Tyndareus? Do you think he went on Tinder. Was he Philomela’s sister’s husband?” My brother says.
“I don’t know,” I say, drinking my coffee, bustling around the room, looking for my key. Have to get to the gym by 8am or won’t manage an hour in there before breakfast at 9.
“Let’s look him up,” brother says from his nest in the middle of the lounge. We have a whole flat in the hotel so am in the bedroom and brother is in the living room. “Oh, that’s right: he was Leda’s husband. So he was the father of two of Castor, Pollox, Clytemnestra and Helen. And Zeus fathered the other two.”
“Shame none of them looked like their father,” I say, meaning the swan. “Half-human with very long necks and covered in white feathers and…”
“Well, Zeus didn’t look like that most of the time,” brother says. Sometimes he tries-to-reason-with-me rather than just letting my stream of consciousness chat wash over him. Silly boy.
“Yes, well he looked like a swan when they were conceived so it doesn’t matter what he looked like the rest of the time,” I say. “Did Leda lay a clutch of eggs?”
But I’ve lost him. He’s fiddling with his phone.
“Why have you taken twelve photos of me at the port that are all the same and put them on Facebook?” He says.
“They’re all different,” I say.
“I’m going to un-tag myself in them,” he says. Wrapped in his white duvet, he’s a huge butterfly about to emerge from its chrysalis.
“Sorry,” I say, drinking my tiny coffee.
“Just don’t do it again,” he says.
“OK,” I say, wandering through to the bathroom to clean my teeth. “Do you need these empty shells from your lenses? They’re daily disposables so…”
“No,” he says.
“Is it OK if I throw them away?” I say, picking up the little plastic pods. “We’ve made quite a mess in here and…if you’re going for a run before breakfast you’d better get going or…”
“Not going today. My legs hurt from the last couple of runs,” brother says. “I’ve worked out what to do with your photos: I just tag myself in a couple of them.”
“Great. See you in the gym then,” I say, applying lip balm: my lips are very dry, must be the sea air, and then leaving the room.
At the gym, I fill a plastic cup with water – need a water bottle – and settle into my bike. My yesterday’s cup is still in its bottle holder and the seat is still set to my height. There’s a middle-aged chap huffing and puffing away on the cross trainer in front of me. That is loud breathing. Hope he’s OK.
Must push self a bit harder at gym today: had a pudding last night, which never do. Hope is just break-from-routine making me so hungry and not long-term-side-effect-of-the-Zolodex. Will work hard at gym for an hour, have healthy breakfast and put chocolate-mousse-gate out of my mind.
“Happy Saturday?” I message Seb yesterday evening.
“Happy Saturday to you,” he fires back.
“Have escaped to the port for gin and diet 7up. They don’t seem to do slimline tonic here. How is your Saturday?” I say (photo of the port is attached).
“OK. Am at home now and everyone in poor old family seems a bit stressed. Winding down now though. I’d rather be with you,” he says.
Yes! He misses me! Result! Or maybe he just wants to be in Abroad where there is a Beach and a Port, and Gin at sundown.
“Next time xxx Love to everyone xxx” I say, smiling as I press ‘send’. Love that boy.
Happy Easter Sunday everyone!
*2012. By Richard C. Thuss. Detective thriller.