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Bobby`s Gap Year

by Cliff Hanger 

Posted: 19 August 2017
Word Count: 469
Summary: Very rough but I tried.

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Bobby’s Gap Year

They never spoke about the accident but thought of nothing else. It wasn’t so much the elephant in the room as the room itself. The elephants were all outside trying to squeeze their way through the door-jamb.

Why do you keep coming here?, Bobby said. Should have gone with the others, I’ll never go travelling now.

Don’t be stupid, Alison said. Of course you’ll go travelling. Wheels move don’t they?

I don’t want to be one of those inspirational dicks that you see pulling themselves to the top of Machu Pichu just to prove some point, Bobby said. They resorted to silence, punctuated by food, she was a good cook, she wanted to care for him. It was the least she could do. She hoped that cooking spoke louder than words but he left her offerings half eaten. Just didn’t have the taste for it.

Sorry, Alison but I just want to go back to being the old me.

You are the old you, just your legs don’t work now, she said. I was never that bothered about your legs.

He laughed at that one.

It began with a postcard.  A picture of an enormous paella pan brimming with prawns and chicken, olives and peppers. When you rubbed your fingers over the shiny coating they picked up the smell of smoked paprika.

Wish you were here. WISH YOU WERE HERE, Bobby raged but she could tell something had stirred. She had an idea, if he won’t go to the world, I’ll bring the world to him, and started looking up the national dishes of Serbia and Vietnam. Soon he was looking forward to the dish of the day but whenever she broached planning their own trip he would put his knife and fork down onto his plate abruptly and they’d go back to spending time with the elephants.

Sri Lanka changed everything. She was sick of being apologetic so had looked up a recipe for the most punch-you-in-the-face and wake up your senses curry she could find.

Not for the timid eater, she dared him. He sniffed a forkful, timidly, then rammed it into his mouth. One taste and it was as if he’d exploded from the inside out. Couldn’t get enough, shovelling it in until the juice ran down his chin and dripped back down onto the plate. Between mouthfuls he shouted. I can feel it. I can even feel it in my legs.

In a while, when they’d found a way round the logistics, they were together again.

Let’s take a trip, he whispered through strands of her soft hair.

We could start small, she said. Try it out,tTake a ferry out to the islands.

Hell, no. He replied. We’re off to Sri Lanka. Got to try out one of those dishes for real.

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