One day I took the ferry across the wide bay to the far side where there is another little town and, if you walk around the headland, an enormous, lonely, white sweep of sand. We came and camped here one night. And in the middle of the night Mercedes woke us because she had heard footsteps. Pilar and I wanted to go out and investigate, but Mercedes, frozen with horror, wouldn't let us,and the footsteps walked backwards and forwards. Finally I couldn't bear it any longer and I looked out. I went out. Pilar followed. No-one was there. When we went back in we could still hear the footsteps. "It's an effect of the wind on the sand and the grasses." I said. And I slept and Pilar slept, but Mercedes listened to the footsteps all night long.
But this time when I reached the beach it felt unwelcoming even in daylight. There was no shade and I felt that I looked conspicuously like a tourist and felt eyes on me in a way that I never felt them when I was with my friends. Alone I wasn't quite able to keep my impervious shield of glorious womanhood around me, but reverted to being an English girl. On the way back across the bay. The ferry driver invited me into his little glass bridge. And I went in like a little kid offered a treat, and of course he tried to back me into a corner and kiss me, so then I felt like a fool for going in. And somehow that summed up those last few days - I was no longer a part of the town, I was a foreigner.
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