“Katie,” I mumbled, waking up from my semi-drunken slumber the next morning, “what the hell happened to David?”
Katie looked at me from her bunk. “What?”
“He never came back to the bar last night. I hope he’s ok,” I said, images of him laying in one of the narrow UNESCO alleys of Split being forcefully pushed out of my mind.
“I’m sure he’s fine.”
I knew she was right.
Then, I cut to catching her up to the gossip from the previous night, mainly spilling the details about my little rendezvous with the Canadian in the bunk above her.
“So … you going to hang out with him again tonight?”
“Maybe,” I said, but knew the answer was leaning more towards no than yes. Carl was a nice guy, but I was only willing to take it as far as intoxicated snogging, I had no interest in anything else with him. “Well, probably not.”
A few minutes later, Carl poked his head in the room. We exchanged smiles, hellos, and then he left and I opened my laptop, and thankfully a note from David.
He was on his way to meet us. My heart instantly filled with joy. I knew he was taking the ferry to Hvar in a few hours and thought we would not have a chance to say “see you soon” before he left.
An hour later, David appeared at CroParadise and he, Katie and I were once again together, heading to get coffee and spend the last few hours as our awesome party of three.
Then, the afternoon was upon us. And it was time for both Katie (she was heading to up the coast 45 minutes to Trogir) and David to continue on with their journeys.
“D, just come up to Trogir with me,” Katie tried to reason.
I wasn’t ready yet. My trip had two weeks left, and I wanted to make sure I timed everything right so I could get to Zagreb to catch my flight. Leaving Split and heading north would mean I would need to spend more time in Zagreb, or Zadar than I wanted to.
“I don’t think I can make it there tonight, but I will walk you both to the bus and ferry,” I offered, switching into my bathing suit and grabbing a towel to head to the beach after I would leave them.
The three of us walked together for the last time, down towards the water.
David stopped once we hit the little line of cafes near the port.
“Right, I am going to go now and get the boat,” he said.
Tears immediately filled my eyes.
Katie and I both hugged him and watched as he crossed the street.
“Love you two,” he yelled as merged into the crowd of people heading to catch their boats.
And then, there were two.
Katie and I continued walking to the bus station. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her, so I accompanied her to the ticketing office.
We stood outside the station at platform one.
I don’t want to do this.
“OK, well …” I began. “See you soon.”
We hugged. I thanked her for everything. And then, I walked on towards Split’s sandy beach.
Just like that, two of the most important people I had met on my trip had faded back into the world of backpackers … on to new adventures … on to meet new people. And there I was, sitting alone on a soft beach, book by my side … thinking about my two friends and the time I had shared with them.
As a backpacker, there are so many people you meet while traveling. Some, you get to know. Most you don’t. Some you stay in touch with. Most you don’t. Meeting Katie, meeting David — those two people were nothing short of a blessing. Other than Anthony, I spent the most amount of time with them, grew close to them so quickly, and easily found room for them in my heart.
After an hour, I grew tired and the clouds began to roll in, so I gathered my belongings and headed back to CroParadise.
And back to Carl.