One day - A Short Story
Closing my eyes for a moment I feel the warm afternoon sun on my face and I am reminded of my last visit to Italy; delicious food, smooth red wine and evenings spend with warm passionate people. It all seems so long ago.
"Would you like some pepper or parmesen?" the young waitress standing by our table asks drawing me from my revere. Majorie, my for the past thirty years shakes her head. "We are fine, thank you my dear." Marjorie and I have settled into a steady routine over time. Lunch once a month, she always picks the location and more often than not these days my food as well. I've tried ordering for myself but each time I do she raises an eyebrow and says "Helen, don't you think that's a little spicy. You know at our age we need to be careful and not upset our constitution.
Majorie has been married to David for thirty five years. He is a kind, placid man. I don't know if he ever had a feisty bone in his body, if he did I am sure Majorie has arranged for it to be removed. I can hear her now, "David, you know that feisy bone is forever giving you jip, I think it would be best to get rid of it!"
However, I have been divorced for many years. I have been on a number of dates, but quite honestly meeting men seems to get harder the older I get. I haven't given up hope though, having a little spice in my life of the sexy male variety would be nice.
Twirling my spice free spaghetti carbonara around my fork I ask Marjorie about her week. To be honest she is so regimented I don't really need to ask but good manners dictact.
Marjorie is seems is half way through a story about a dinner date she has been on with the Theobalds. I guess I must have zone out because she appears to be well into the tale. "Simon spend the whole evening running in and out of the kitchen." She shakes her head, "If he wasn't keeping a check on dinner he was topping up Val's wine." "Oh my, poor old Simon," I mumble, hoping she doesn't see the hint of a smile on my lips. I confess I cannot remember ever seeing David sit down for more than ten minutes at one of Marjorie's soirees. Not that I have been invited to all of them, you know being the only single person at the table makes Marjorie uncomfortable. I've always found this funny, I mean you would have thought that I would be the one feeling out of place surrounded by nothing but couples.
As Marjorie finishes her story she leaves back in her seat and slowly sips her wine and it is then I notice a traditional Spanish song is playing gently in the background. I hear the beautiful tones of an acoustic guitar accompanied by a gentle male voice. As the song floats softly acorss the afternoon breeze I am transported from a garden restaurant in the heart of England to a sunny Mediterranean Isle. I envisage the old men congregating in the town square, gorgeous dark haired women in brightly coloured dresses chatting over garden walls and summer tourists leisurely dining on exquisite local delicacies whilst drinking cheap but wonderfully delicious local wine.
As I put the last piece of spaghetti in my mouth Marjorie pulls her chair back which I know means she is ready to leave. She is not one to dilly dally after the food is gone, I lean back in my chair, hoping we can linger just a few minutes more. "This really is a wonderful find Marjorie. The food, winde and music is ..." before I have the opportunity to finish my sentence she interjects. "Yes, but I could do without the tacky man playing the guitar. I am sure he is giving me indigestion," Marj grumbles. What man I wonder swirling around in my seat. Sitting in by the side of the outside bar I notice a man with a guitar, I'd thought it was a CD we were listening to. His hair is dark with flecks of grey and he has rich chocolate brown eyes, the kind you that draw you in and blurs out the rest of the world around you. I watch, mesmerised as his fingers strum the chords effortlessly.
"Helen! Helen are you listening to me? We need to make a move." Marjorie barks at me.
"Just a minute." I reply, not bothering to wait for a response. I walk over as he comes to the end of his song.
"Hello, I'm Helen." I smile shyly at him. "I just wanted to say you play and sing beautifully. I can easily imagine myself sipping Sangria on some stunning Spanish island right now. Thank you."
"You are welcome ... Helen. It is always a pleasure to receive a compliment from a beautiful woman." he smiles and his eyes sparkle in the afternoon sun and I melt a little more. "I will be here again Thursday evening. If you would care to return I am sure I could persuade the barman to mis you a Sangria or two. By the way my name is Marco."
I glance at my friend, kind, bossy, spice free Marjorie and a thought pops into my head. Smiling I nod at Marco before replying. 'That would be lovely."
As I saunter across the restaurant I smile to myself, perhaps a little some spice is exactly what I need!