The Holiday

Ronan looked over the bright blue bubbling sea. He looked above to the cloudless blue sky with its taunting yellow sun shining down on the earth below. The day was a balmy thirty-degree day on the east coast of Australia. Down below he heard the frolicking laughs of young kids and their nagging of their parents filling the pool area. He stood on his balcony, noting the slight breeze. This was a perfectly lovely day, he told himself as he tried desperately to believe it. He felt the cool tiles of the balcony against his bare feet and decided it was time to head inside.

Inside, he spotted himself in a mirror. He was wearing a light blue t-shirt that bulged uncomfortable around his rotund belly. His khaki shorts exposed his spindly legs covered in a thin layer of black hairs. His face was sagging and sunburnt. Flecks of skin peeled around his neck. His sunglasses hid his eyes as they tracked to look at his balding head. While the top of his head was beginning to shine like an egg, the sides and tufts from the top had decided to head in three separate directions. His hair was somewhere between a light brown and grey. Nothing showed his age worse than holidaying in the sun. He wouldn’t have been at all if it had been his choice.

He had options of course, but what did options matter when it came to making her happy. Ronan put her happiness first, perpetually. He hoped that, in always trying to make her happy, he could prevent her bouts of lost control and quiet sobbing. He hoped, but the sadness always returned. It had been less frequent of late, but it wouldn’t leave them alone that easily.

Ronan grabbed a travel brochure and looked at his options. Whether it was because his mind was filled with the idea or because the brochure was full of it, all he saw was couple’s ideas. Couple’s tennis, couple’s massage, couple’s cruise around the bay. He briefly spotted an ad for single’s night. He entertained the idea but then abandoned it as a traitorous thought. He considered wandering down to the pool, but then he remembered all the rambunctious children and thought better of it.

Yesterday he had just fallen asleep on the banana lounge on the balcony while his holiday reading lay splayed open on his chest. That was where the ridiculous sunburn that made him look like an overripe tomato had come from, exposing his age against his greying hair. He slipped a pair of thongs onto his feet and made his way down to the car park. He retrieved his car, a bright red Tesla Roadster and took it on the road. Before the thought of roaming around in his Tesla had seemed exciting, but now as he got in, the mundanity set in. He rolled out of the hotel car park as if he was driving a mid-range sedan, not an exciting sports car.

Perhaps this was how she felt. Everything was clouded, and clarity only came from mundanity. Even the red of the bonnet against the blue of the sky seemed somehow muted. It was as if someone had fiddled with the colours of the world, making them slightly muddier. He drove down the winding road till he found a decent lookout. He pulled over and looked out at the ocean. The inviting ocean and the fifty-foot drop towards it.

They had all told him to get away. To escape. Go on that holiday they had been planning for months. He had the time off work so there was no issue there. Paying for everything in her absence was tricky but manageable. They had quite a bit saved up. They had plans. Go on holiday, come back and renovate the kitchen. Those ideas felt tainted and useless now. Why change the kitchen now? A kitchen is just a kitchen. She had always been the one who loved cooking, now he sat over the stove cooking the most basic of meals to fill him.

He ate, he slept, he worked. Maybe he read a good book before bed but that the most exciting that his life got since she was gone. He’d never been much good at spontaneity or changing things. He would do things one way until he was forced to change, or he died, whichever came first. You’d think that someone so vivacious wouldn’t get sad, but she did. Sadder than most, though perhaps he wasn’t the best judge. Most people aren’t forthcoming with their sadness. They hide it and cry alone in a dark room.

Ronan sat on the bonnet of his car and began to cry at the thought of all those private tears. An ocean of concealment. He stood up and cried into his hands. Then, he slipped. He tumbled over the edge and began to fall. The wind rushed past him as he got closer and closer to the rocks below. Ronan fell from a height many times his own personal height. Then, right before Ronan hit the water below at terminal velocity, he could’ve sworn that he flew.


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