For the past two weeks my girlfriend and I have been on holiday in her native Spain. We spent most of it on the southern coast hitting as many beaches as possible, as well as taking a day out to explore Moorish Granada. One of the most striking beaches we visited was a small bay with crystal clear, blue water. Sandwiched between two sets of dramatic cliffs, the water’s edge could only be reached by a punishingly long walk down a seemingly never-ending path with no shade and no respite from the 38 degree heat. Here’s me, halfway down the route and still nowhere near the beach, simultaneously loving and hating life.
‘This is great but also fuck all this right now’
Eventually we made it down to the beach where we spent a good few hours roasting alive before embarking on the gruelling climb back up. On the way, about two thirds of the way to the top, we met a group of Americans. Friendly, smiley, ever ready to talk as Americans abroad are wont to be, their leader approached us. She was a short woman with a warm and engaging demeanour and she asked: ‘Hey guys. How long is it to the beach?’ Despite her jovial tones there was a despair behind her voice that we recognised from our own odyssey to the bottom. I responded with an only half-joking, ‘Don’t even bother. It’s not worth it. I mean, yeah the beach is gorgeous and the water is heavenly but shit, nothing’s worth this walk. Turn around, return from whence you came.’ We then told them for real how far it was and they went on their way and us on ours, waving goodbye to them and wishing them luck.
After getting back to our car we set off on a long journey crossing grand viaducts and skirting the feet of the mountains of the Sierra Nevada before arriving in Granada later that evening. The following morning we went to see the wonder that is the fortress of La Alhambra. After several hours spent wandering amidst the palaces and the fortifications we ended our visit in the gardens. There, walking down a gently curving path surrounded on both sides by well-manicured hedges, we passed a stream of people going the other way when from around the curve appeared a group being led by a woman with a face that seemed familiar but which I just couldn’t place. A short figure, she seemed to be examining me surreptitiously in the same way that I was her. We drew level while casting our eyes elsewhere so as to not be awkward and then we passed each other. A few steps on I looked back and saw her doing the same. At that point it clicked for both of us and her American accent rang out in the shadow of La Alhambra: ‘It is you guys! I knew I recognised you. You were right, as beautiful as it was, the beach was not worth the walk!’ We then remarked upon the sheer magnitude of the coincidence of bumping into each other twice on two consecutive days at two unrelated locations a hundred kilometres apart. Eventually we parted ways and I, having been raised by movies, couldn’t but help think to myself: ‘Sure. Coincidence. There’s a goddamn plot twist here coming and I’ll be damned if I don’t spot it before it hits.’ I spent the rest of the holiday looking out for the group of Americans led by a smiley, short woman, expecting some sort of shenanigans. Amidst the Atlantic-wind-battered sand dunes of the beaches of Cadiz; on the southernmost tip of Europe at Tarifa, looking across the water at Africa; even on the bloody flight home a week later I kept swivelling my head restlessly, expecting to hear that North American twang again.
It never came.
I’m convinced it still will at some point. It just has to. When I least expect it probably. And with it will come some cataclysmic, hacky plot twist that I can’t foresee.
But until then, here’s a Reddit thread about real-life plot twists. You can check out the full thing here, but below are some highlights:
(Header photo courtesy of Getty Images)