Each day through the holidays, Tarek, Sami and I would walk to the waterfall.
Tarek would lead, long toes curled round the tips of his sandals, skin paled from the dusty road. Sami would take the middle, eyes on Tarek’s heels, towel trailing from his arm onto the path. As the youngest, I would bring up the rear, trotting to catch up when I lagged behind, when I had to stop to pull up my sagging hand-me-down shorts.
The oasis was a miracle, a splash of lush green, nodding grasses and pink flower spikes erupting from barren rock and bare dirt.
We met Lely there one day, swimming dark and sleak as a seal through the green water. We all loved her I think, all blushed when she splashed us, all wanted to catch her round the waist in our games of tag.
She never allowed herself to be caught.