The sun was ruthless, impressing a sense of danger with each step I took away from the road. The heat was primordial, baking through my skin, drying my muscle and bones, desiccating everything but my darkest, wettest core.
Those third and fourth nights, I cried and wailed. On the morning of the fifth day, my eyes were so swollen my father took one look at me and said, “Shiori, your face—it looks like the goldfish put a curse on you.”
Later, when the rest of the girls said they were dipping out to another bar, Fiona stayed behind. “Use a condom!” Tish had whispered in her ear before giving her a slap on the butt, like a coach sending a player out on the field.
I admit I felt something strange as I listened to the popping of the bones as they were devoured by the fire: Murad spoke, and I saw. It was grief. Grief squeezes the heart till you feel you’re about to die and your heart bleeds tears into your eyes.