It was a surprise at breakfast the following morning to see the other Australian girl at one of the few tables; Jess immediately went over to speak to her, which was typically brave and bold, and not the kind of thing I’m able to do with any sense of ease. I had only expected they’d exchange a few polite words, because the young woman was naturally in quite a state of grief and distress. After about twenty minutes of intense conversation Jess finally returned to the seat next to me.
‘What was all that about ?’
‘She hasn’t been able to leave yet because she’s run out of money and is waiting for funds from her parents.’
‘And that took all those minutes to explain ?’
‘No, the more disturbing news was that she had been followed by a man in Essaouira, and her description is very similar to the person I saw in the medina.’
‘The one you thought you saw.’
‘She’s also convinced that her friend didn’t drown.’
‘Does she think this man is involved ?’
‘The poor lass is not really thinking logically at all; but like ourselves she didn’t want to remain in Essaouira.’
‘I’m amazed she’s still in the country.’
‘Apparently she has a friend working in Taroudannt for some UK charity, something to do with agricultural development.’
‘So why isn’t she staying with the friend ?’
‘The chap is out in one of the Berber villages at the moment, but he’s expected back tonight or tomorrow.’
‘The poor lass looks in a right state.’
‘I asked if she wanted any help, but she said this bloke would be back soon.’
Jess didn’t touch any of her breakfast, but it would have taken something really momentous to prevent me from tucking-in, though I wasn’t too sure about the local ‘pancakes’ that looked more like the inside of a cow’s stomach. I decided to opt for the safety of croissants and coffee, and also daubed some Laughing Cow cheese on a couple of bread slices.
‘I bet you eat all the buffet at funerals’ Jess said sarcastically.
‘I’ve got a larger frame to sustain than you.’
‘I won’t argue with that.’