The sun was dipping into the ocean, a shimmering ball of orange light, lending its softened light to the stunning vista of the bay between Cape Town and Robben Island. Lydia was leaning into my shoulder, cradling her wine glass in one hand, the other gently playing across my thigh. The sunset was beautiful, the wine was exquisite; it was easy to pretend that everything was well in the world, but despite her attempts to set the mood, I could not shake the row the night before.

In the past going on holiday had been a way to create the initial idyll of our relationship, to put a pin in the reality of day to day life and the little and the big issues between us and just enjoy one another again in a bubble away from home. Not so this time. This time I was trying to enjoy the view and the luck I had to be in that place, and yet all I could think about was the fights and the disagreements from the week before.

She nuzzled into my neck, looking for a kiss. I pretended not to notice; it was easier. She did not persist.

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