“He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.”

W. H. Auden


It was in Dubai, 2005. Rafael’s dark curls were unnaturally tapered to his head. I told him that those curls were better left alone. He sheepishly agreed that it was a bad hair day. We spoke about the unforgiving weather and the cold nights. He smelt like sunshine and detergent. The heavy Spanish accent rolled off his tongue like music to my ears.

We agreed to do dinner that night. Unfortunately,  I couldn’t keep my end of the promise when I had to meet a journalist for work and to visit the Gold Souk with said journalist. I never saw Rafael again.


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