The men spent so much time with their camels that they didn’t notice that I smelt like one. Amina and
Rhaicha understood. Tucked away, in a quiet corner of the compound, a shelter of twigs had been woven into a dome, over which coarse blankets were secured. Inside, lay a bucket, towels and a slab of black soap. A fire had been built between rocks, its flames heating a pot of water.
There I sat cross-legged, scrubbing, apart from camel sheds and goat rooms. The dirt lifted from my skin in sheets and a gritty river of dust and sand flowed out of my hair.
Some time later I opened the blanket, stepped into the cool dusk and let the cool air wrap me in silence. Beyond the compound the plain seemed unending, the sun now a gold disc behind the land. Reckless folly or extreme adventure, in reality I could not grasp what I was about to do, but for Fleabag’s sake alone, I was ready to try.