I’ve developed travel morbidity. I’ve been backpacking for five and a half months, and only four days left. I’m packing my bag for the third-last time, then the second-last. Nearly done.
I have a blue shampoo, and a green shampoo, allowing me to choose between volume and shine depending on my plan for the day. Today I choose blue.
On my way out of the shower, he starts whispering to me. “Leave me. You’re only going to have a couple more showers, knowing you. You’ve got green. He’s still half-full. He can give you shine. I can only volumise, and you with your hair so thick and curly. It’s too humid for that palaver. I’ll only slow you down.”
So I leave him to some dirty hippy, hoping that the gift of shampoo will encourage him to experiment as freely with hygiene as he does with tedious banter.
As I round the corner my shampoo calls to me. “Tell your deodorant I love her!” He doesn’t know what I know – the deodorant is almost empty. She has days left at most, and we both know, without discussing it, that she will not make it back. She will lie forever in an unmarked grave, somewhere in Singapore.
Through all this, the collapsible neon travel spork sits silently. I never had call to take him out of the ‘stuff’ bag. Now he will never ride an elephant, and he is sad. But at least he’s going home.