The end of the holiday, or Portunus vs Surgat

Throughout the month:

Portunus looks over us, god of waterways and gateways and keys and doors. Marseille is often white hot. At night, we keep our doors closed .

One week to go:

I go on a date with a very rich man and talk exclusively about air conditioning (“love it!”) and recommendations for his girlfriend to do when she goes to Paris. He is wormy and uninteresting, so I speak to the bar staff in a language he doesn’t understand, refusing to translate anything more despite his asking. It is sweeping to say but: I am exhausted by this, and by all men, and my trying to please them. I have become the woman peering through the keyhole in her own head, so I drink more and more.

The riots will come a few days later and cancel the girlfriend’s plans, and I will think “good” into myself.

Two days to go:

The last day at the beach. Some topless girls get out of the sea preternaturally calmly on the craggy rocks, and explain how they’d all been bitten by teeny tiny little crabs. A crab is just a cockroach that evolved in the worst direction: it became too flavourful to us to be left unbothered. A girl with a perfect face smokes a roll-up to the left of them, with no tan lines round where a bikini would go, just caramel carambar oneness. My friend and I are hungry for the same things.

One day to go:

Throughout the dinner, a lizard skirts the wall in vulgar spasms that remind me of spiders. On the higher part of the stairway where we’re dining, some live musicians sing happy smallnesses and it feels like keening wafting downwards. Some Danish girls having a great time ask us to take a picture to remember. My friend and I talk and we’re both scared about going back to our lives. I want to live on these stairs with her forever.

Afterwards, there is a family of cockroaches dancing around the bottom rung of the stairwell, the same ones I saw a few days prior. They croak and click around each other, doing their dry little moves. It’s so nice that they have each other and, being drunk on orange wine, I want to hold them, but I do not. During the day, when the heat is hottest, where do they go?

Departure day:

I text my friend, who is already in Paris having a nice time, as my flight is delayed. The riots are there already, spreading and reaching what was our home by nightfall. 

Apparently, cockroaches will still be there at the end of the world, but it’s not the end of the world they’re waiting for. They’re just chilling out and being ugly, unusable. Of course Surgat is only a man in the end, unassailable and dully relentless: he will not leave me alone, and now I am so tired in my locking and waiting.