~ 1 ~
"Heaven" said the sign, in curled blue letters, glowing like an infinite promise made in the middle of the night. Heaven. That's where they were right now, all three of them, on holiday and out together for once. The one thing missing yet was a shooting star to appear. Or rather three, one for each of them. Some ignition to go, to get into the groove.
Only that Jo wasn't sure if that really was what she wanted. At the moment she'd rather head for the exit, as this club wasn't even anywhere near a cloud. She thought of suggesting a change of place, but she couldn't come up with a better direction to head for. Fusion. Exile. Palace. Just another name for the same game.
"What's up? Still worrying about your luggage?" Ann asked, amazing Jo once again with her ability to pick up the faintest changes in mood as fast as pigeons pick up lost crumbs, a second after they hit the ground.
"I'm sorry," Jo said and meant it, even though she wasn't sure what exactly she felt sorry for.
"It will all be fine," Ann tried to comfort her. "Really, it happened to me twice, that my luggage arrived at another airport than I did. And both times I had it back just one day later."
"Yes, don't worry, it happens all the time," March agreed. Not mentioning the fact that some of those times, the suitcase took a lot longer than one day to resurface. Or the fact that some things, you lose and never see again.
~ 2 ~
The next morning, happy with herself, the world, and all the rest, surrounded by her favourite fragrance, the sweet taste of escape, March stepped out of the shower and was about to blow herself a kiss through the mirror when she heard Jo screaming.
A spider, March thought. A spider, or even worse: la cucaracha. She breathed in deeply and opened the door slowly, in case the evil beast was waiting right in front of her.
But there was none. No spider. No cucaracha. Not even a mouse. Everything seemed to be in place, or at least, in the place it had been when she went to the bathroom. The only thing that didn't fit into the picture was Jo, the way she sat on her bed, holding a t-shirt in her hand.
"Anything wrong with the t-shirt?" March asked, trying to get the point.
"Anything wrong?" Jo snapped, not at her, but rather at the shirt. "Everything is wrong! They found my bag, and brought it here. But someone stole all my belongings and filled the bag with black clothes."
March shook her head. "No, come on, that can't be true."
But it was. What once had been the home of blue jeans, yellow skirts, red tops and green shirts now hosted one single colour only: black. Black t-shirts and black trousers, in various forms and levels of age, but all the same size: medium.
"Are you sure this really is your bag?" Ann asked.
"Of course it is mine," Jo explained. Then she thought again. "At least it looks exactly like mine."
No one knew what to say next. They all stared at the bag, as if it was its turn to speak, to explain what happened since it was checked in. But the bag remained silent, in the same passive-aggressive way stuck computer programs or broken car engines do so expertly.
~ 3 ~
It was a joke that turned the black moment into a black day. A joke that started with Jo's vision of a guy, sitting on another bed, in another hotel room, a white towel around his waist. In front of him, her clothes. Her tops, her skirts. Her underwear. Pink. Yellow. Green. All colours of this world but black.
Ann put the icing on the scene. "Oh and I hope he is stranded," she said, "really, that would be the best, like Robinson Crusoe, stranded on an island, having the choice between your pink tops and green banana leaves, between yellow skirts or flower trousers."
None of them was serious about this wish, of course. Nevertheless it was this joke that triggered the idea to pretend she was the one who was stranded. "Just for breakfast," Jo said to her friends, "just for the sake of walking around all in black for an hour." She picked one of his t-shirts and a pair of his trousers, more or less on random.
Maybe less on random, though. She knew which t-shirt to pick, had known it since she had piled them up, one by one, since her hands had rested on the lines that were printed on the shirt, dark grey letters on worn out black, saying "Don't touch." How could she resist that.
Still, it had all been just for fun: she hadn't even expected the clothes to fit properly. But they did. In fact, they felt more comfortable than some of the tops and trousers she had brought herself. Plus there was this odd excitement of doing something mildly forbidden. Something that was even dangerous. After all, they were on an island, and the guy in black couldn't be that far away.
Seen realistically, the chances that he would cross her path just now, while she wore his clothes, were rather insignificant. But then, the chances that their bags got mixed up at the airport probably had been just as small.
And yet it happened. Such an odd chance, and here she was, dressed all in black, filled with emotions that changed their colours like chameleons that decided to head for a walk through a gallery of modern art.
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