The sound of the waves pummelling the beach of Cala San Vincente beckon me slowly from sleep, drifting up out of comforting dreams. The steady rhythm of the waves is intoxicating, soothing, and gently guides me back to the land of slumber.
I sit up in bed with a start. The light peeking out from the edges of the bedroom curtains is bright. I fumble for my watch, blinking rapidly to clear my vision. My watch reads 10 a.m., but I remember it is still set on GMT, having forgotten to set it forward earlier in the year. So it's 11 a.m. No, it's not. We are in Ibiza, Spain - one hour time difference - which means: It's midday!
Christ, where were they?! Where were The New Arrivals?!!
No idea of their flight times, no idea. Kathy rolls over, still deep in sleep. The realisation dawns like the day did six hours ago: It's all up to me.
I stumble out of bed, make my way across the unfamiliar landscape, banging knee on this, shins on that. I spot the green light. Kathy's phone has no missed calls. Okay, okay, everything is fine, they haven't landed yet. There's plenty of time. Dropping back onto the bed, eyes heavy again, images from last night blurring at the beginnings of a dream, the sound of the waves crashing, crashing, crashing . . .
No! I have to stay awake. The New Arrivals will be landing at the airport soon - they might need my help. They might phone asking where the car rental desk is at the airport. They might phone about the best route across the island. They might call about finding their way to Cala San Vincente. They would definitely call about finding their way to Cala San Vincente. Those winding roads, the turn offs, the Nascar section. Christ, they might even be stuck with a manual car. They definitely would be stuck with a manual car. The One Finger Man was still out there, driving around the island, rocking his head back, laughing.
I get up quickly, grab Kathy's phone and head downstairs. I lay out the map of the island on the table, ready to guide them from the airport to the villa, shaking my head clear. When they call, lost somewhere on the island, needing a guiding hand to direct them to safety, I needed to be alert and on the ball.
Who was that?! It was coming from outside. Someone at the front gate? It couldn't be The New Arrivals, no way. They were on the hard shoulder of the C-731, realising they should be on the C-733, just about to call me to ask how to find their way across the intricate roadways of Ibiza. Calling me for my navigational expertise. No, the person at the front gate is an interloper.
Taking a deep breath, I venture out onto the patio, the sun a sharp glare, glinting off the pool. There is movement around the side of the villa; the sound of the front gate falling back into place. My heart is racing. My throat is parched. I need water. A brief flashback to last night makes me think again. I squint. I need my sunglasses. Another flashback. Damn.
"Is anyone there?" someone calls.
It's now or never! This interloper needs to be confronted with confidence. Maybe it is a drug crazed maniac. Maybe it is a serial killer. Maybe it's the black cat that we have been warned about.
"Hello? Is anyone home?"
No, probably not the cat.
I turn the front corner of the villa, body ready for battle, mind ready for anything. Paul and Christy are standing at the other end of the villa, peering through the laundry door. Their heads turn and they spot me. We're all smiles and laughter. Harry is in Christy's arms giggling and wriggling. Paul and Christy - The New Arrivals have made it! I'm too proud to boast about my contribution to that fact - without me, alert and on the ball, their holiday would've been ruined, wandering the villa grounds searching the front door that they would never find - they were looking through the laundry door for heaven's sake!! I'd saved their holiday. What a champ.
I clear my throat.
"Any problems getting here?"
"Not at all."
"Pretty tough place to find though, isn't it? You know with the winding roads, the turnoffs, the Nascar section."
"Not really. Straight forward actually."
"Yeah? Straight forward. Hmm. Driving an automatic I suppose?"
"No. A manual."
"Well, okay. Let me take you into the villa. Through the front door. It's around here."
Paul and Christy walk into the villa and are immediately blown away - the view, the interior, the sounds, the smells. They love it! Kathy and Tam emerge from their respective corners and we all bask in our greatness - smug and content in our holiday villa.
Paul and Christy haven't met Tam before, so introductions are made. No uncomfortable silences here. All good stuff. In fact, by the end of the night, all five of us would be enjoying each other's company over red wine and paella at a restaurant on the beach just down the road - toasting to a great summer holiday in Ibiza.
To kill the time before that, we sit back and relax - soaking up the glorious view, soothed by the sound of the ocean on sand, loving it sick, but this time, loving it sick times five.
Actually, make that six: Harry is loving it too, exploring every corner of his new pad, taking everything in. You could see in his eyes that he is cataloguing everything, clocking this, registering that - the white walls, the sliding doors, the three steps leading into the lounge room. Oh, those steps - plenty of good times ahead there I can tell you. Not only that, he has a new crew - Mum and Dad of course - blood. The tall git who keeps going on about maps and front doors. The two beautiful girls who absolutely adore him and melt like butter with just the slightest cheeky smile. Everything is perfect. The crew. The shiny pool. The deck chairs. The remote control for the television. His toys. Yeah, he thinks as he falls onto his bottom on the floor - I'm one cool eighteen month old!
He slaps his hands on his knees: Come on, Mum! Come on, Dad! Warm up your singing voices - it's party time! Ibiza style!