I don’t go to the police. I think about it of course, but I don’t go. Mr. Lynch back at the hotel don’t ask questions and I have no idea why. I look like hell. He just gets a maid to come up and help me wash and bandage and ask if there is anything more I need and when I say ‘no’, she doesn’t come back. But there is something I need, so I go out again to a 24-hour store.
In the morning then I haven’t slept at all and I’m all drugged up on caffeine and cheap booze. It’s a wonder I can still walk down the stairs to the ancient computer that Mr. Lynch has lovingly installed on a small table across the minuscule reception desk.
‘Free for use for guests’ – whenever it works that is…
There’s a single e-mail. Nobody’s written to me in ages… Who –
My uncle finally went to Villa Tunari, so I could get a lift. You had not answered my last mail so I try again. Where are you? Your mother has left a message, too, at ENTEL. I picked it up. She is very worried. But you have not given her your e-mail address, she said. I am praying for you – wherever you are. Please answer this mail and tell me you are all right.
I sit for a long time, staring at the screen.
There is no question it will be awkward, perhaps even humiliating in trying to explain why I left. And my mother, oh … good riddance. Don’t even get me started.
Julia could not hide that she is angry. She usually writes longer. No, not angry. Hurt …
What happened to friendship forever and all the things I told her that it meant to me, that we had met – after what happened to her family, after what happened to me? I know. It’s easy. What if something happened to Julia, too, and I couldn’t save her?
I turn on the patched up stool, it is swaying but holding.
Mr. Lynch is sleeping behind his counter, it seems.
His eyes are suddenly open. Was he watching me after all?
“I know this is a strange question – but you wouldn’t happen to know anyone who lives at the Falkland islands – Las Malvinas?”
Mr. Lynch frowns, then he smiles, but not as broadly as usual:
“Why are you interested? It is not topic for a young lady like you.”
“I just thought of it … that’s all. I’m interested in the War … ”
“Think no more of it,” Mr. Lynch says “The War is past. You have all of the future to think
Mr. Lynch then shuts his eyes again, leaning heavily back in his armchair. I turn back to my screen. After a few more moments, and some breaths that seem to last forever, I hit begin to rewrite my own ending:
“Dear Julia … “