Monthly Archives: April 2017

Meeting …

I think he just smiled at me. Can I look again? Yes. Yes he smiled at me. No, no… wait, is there someone behind me he’s smiling at? I casually pretend to look all around, and especially over my shoulder.  There’s no one behind me. He must have been smiling at me.

As I turn back he starts to get up and flashing me that smile again points at the seat beside me with a ‘can I?’ look on his face. I shrug and nod. He picks up his glass and moves towards me.

Arriving at my table he carefully places his glass in front of the empty seat and holding out his hand says, “Juan Carlos.”

I grab his hand and shake it telling him my name at the same time.  His brown eyes don’t leave mine as he repeats my name back. These are the eyes of a lover, of a gentle bear of a man.

“I can?” he says pointing at the vacant chair.

“Of course … yes, … please,” I tell him thinking ‘Oh my god yes, you bet you can.’ My mind is in turmoil as I watch his muscular frame drop into the chair beside me. All the time his eyes are on me. I’d noticed him when he came into the bar, along with most of the other old queens. Dressed casually in jeans and a plain shirt he drew some stares. Of course I casually glanced, no staring from me, oh no, not I.  We were both getting a few looks now, looks of lust for him, darts of envy for me.

“I see you here many times.” he tells me in his accented English.

“Really?” I ask adjusting myself as casually as possible. He’s having quite an effect on me.

“Yes, many. But I know you don’t see me.” He picks up his drink keeping his eyes locked with mine.

“I must be blind. I don’t know how I could ever have missed you. Are you here a lot?” I ask embarrassed that he’d noticed me and I hadn’t noticed him before.

He laughs as he sets his glass down and licks an errant drop of  beer from his moustache. Did I mention he had the most amazing moustache and beard. Sitting there I also notice some ink under his shirt and not just a little hair.  “I am always here. I working here.” he interrupts my thoughts of his beard, tattoos, tongue and ….

“You’re a waiter?” I ask even more embarrassed I hadn’t noticed him. I usually notice the cute ones, and at least pay attention to the others.

“No I work in kitchen. I see you through the window.”  He points at the hatch.

It was my turn to laugh now. “That’s why I haven’t seen you.”

He joins in my laughter and caresses my knee, leaving his hand there. “Always solo. I watch you every time. You’re not like those,” he nods his head in the direction of some of the faces that were turned our way. Realising he’s not of interest to them they immediately feign indifference.

I smile and gently touch his hand. He grabs my fingers as they touch his, electricity sparks to all points.  His eyes light up as I imagine mine must have just done. The connection is nothing short of incredible.

“You’re hot.” he says.

I’m not sure if it’s a question or a statement. “No I’m okay.” I say for the sake of modesty hoping my interpretation is wrong.

He laughs again, a deep throaty sound. “No, you’re hot.”

I clear my throat slightly embarrassed. “Thanks, but I am so not in your league.”

“League? I don’t understand you. You are liking football?” He still holds onto my hand.

“Sorry. No I meant that you are much hotter than me. I don’t think I am hot at all.”  more smiles, this time abashed.

“This is why you are hot. ” He squeezes my hand. “I buy you a drink.” He nods at my empty glass and waves to a waiter who rushes over to take his order.

02 beard

 

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Just Desserts

This last week at the writing group we were asked to think of someone we saw daily but really knew nothing about.  I chose a waiter who serves me regularly (only coffee though). They were to be our main protagonist in a fictional story from a choice of genres. I chose ‘crime’. We then had to chose five words from Annette’s mass of flash cards. My five words were: aluminium, judge, sodomite, quarry, chloroform……. just as well I had settled on crime…

this was my story…..

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All summer I saw him every day without fail, the waiter at one of my favourite cafes in town. I guessed he must be the owner or simply never got a day off. He was always there with a ready smile and the cutest blue eyes that twinkled with a suggestion of a promise much spicier than any of the food he served.  He was forever dressed in black sweatpants that swayed temptingly as he served; and a black t shirt that hugged his body drawing more than the occasional glance, and not just from me.

Then one day he was gone and there was a waitress serving my coffee and croissant. She had neither the twinkle or the full sweat pants to compete.  I thought that perhaps he had finally got a day’s holiday and thought nothing more of it. The next day he was still absent from my morning’s break.

By day three there was still no sign of him so I decided to ask the waitress, who now seemed to be his permanent replacement, where he was.

“Haven’t you heard?” she asked in a conspiratorial whisper.

“Heard?” I repeated her final word.

“Yes. He’s gone.” She replied adding more mystery than I thought was strictly necessary.

I simply raised my eyebrows in silent reply. She needed no more encouragement to go on.

“He wasn’t all he appeared, you know,” she began. “He was living a double life: By day a  charming waiter, by night a disgusting sodomite.”

“Are you saying he was gay?” I asked her. It seems my gaydar must have faltered.

“Yep, queer to the bone. You’d never have guessed though, right? He looked so normal.” She was getting into her story now.

“As normal as you or I,” I replied, annoyed at her obvious bigotry.

She ignored the inference. “Right, but they never get away with it, you know?”

“Get away with it?” My hackles were rising.

“Hang on, I’m getting that look from the manager,” she told me nodding at the woman behind the bar; someone I’d never noticed before, though I can’t imagine why.  “I’ll be back in a minute.” She said and waltzed off to serve another table but returned within minutes dropping the local paper in front of me. “Page five,” she said winking and heading off again.

I turned to page five and there was a stark photo of the waiter, who I now could see was called Ruben accompanied by the headline: “Smalldole Quarry Murder – Judge Implicated.”

My mouth must have fallen open as my heart sank. I read the story. It seems Ruben had been picked up in a notorious local cruising spot and allegedly drugged with chloroform while he was performing a lewd act. Don’t you just love journo-speak for a blow job.  The recipient of said BJ was a prominent judge, allegedly of course, who also allegedly had dragged Ruben’s lifeless form back to his car and to his home to take all manner of advantages before finishing him off with an aluminium pole.

The judge had, allegedly, been caught red-handed dumping Ruben’s body in the quarry mentioned in the headline.

It was apparent from the final lines of the story that said judge had previously got away with similar crimes and had been under suspicion for some time. He had been under police surveillance, which purportedly had watched his every move but had not been quick enough to intervene to save poor Ruben.

As I dropped the paper back on the table the waitress reappeared. “Just desserts, right?” she said half smiling.

I could hold back no longer and told her just what a bigoted harpy I thought she was. I dropped enough coins on the table to pay exactly for the coffee and headed for the door.  The rest of the café had come to a standstill as the waitress stood there aghast at my outburst. Slowly one of the other customers started clapping, to be joined by the others one by one. I was getting around of applause.

“Marie, I think you’d better get your coat.” The manager leaned over the bar and called to the waitress.

I stood in the doorway watching as she grabbed her coat from the hook, had a short and meaningful exchange with the owner before heading my way and towards the door.

I stood aside to let her out. “Just desserts,” I commented to her as she pulled the door open.

 

 

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A Memory

A couple of days ago I had a lovely message from a very dear friend. She said she was thinking about Tony and me. She’d been remembering a time she was in El Taco for Easter and the madness in the bar next door. She was worried that by recounting this memory she might upset me.  Not at all. Those memories are always in my head anyway, tears are always a moment away and hearing someone else’s memories can’t really make things any more difficult. She ended by saying she missed him too.  Yes, she made me cry, but it was a holiday, it was a weekend… both are impossible to get through without tears these days.  This Easter has been no easier.

It was, in fact, refreshing to hear someone say they were thinking about us both, and especially warming to hear her saying they missed him too. I can’t remember anyone else sharing that with me before (and I’m sorry if you have and I’ve forgotten). So dear friend if you are reading this I thank you, you’ll know who you are.

Tony is still a massive part of my life, and always will be, yet most (almost all) are afraid(?) to say his name. I can only imagine their reasoning which doesn’t help with my overactive imagination. Some ‘friends’ have broken off contact completely while others rarely get in touch any more.  I know my state of mind isn’t easy to handle/witness at times but I really thought some of those people once closest to me would be here should I need them. It seems not. The desolation and isolation are all too often overwhelming, and not hearing from people who profess to care simply makes things worse.

The following day I found and reposted an article on Facebook about grief and the griever. I agreed with a lot of the comments, although some were still wide of the mark for me. Grief is different for us all, and different each time we suffer a loss.  For anyone finding my grief difficult to handle take a look at the article on FB; it might help. And please know that no matter how difficult it is for you it is nowhere near how life destroyingly difficult it is for me.

Sadly I know I am probably preaching to the choir again as those I would like to read and absorb this never will. And if it all sounds like I’m feeling sorry for myself you bet I fucking am. I do not apologise for that for I am hurting immensely.

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Tested

Sitting in the car I was aware that my belt was a bit tight because I’d put my back support belt on under my jeans. The night’s events had jarred my back and I was in a bit of pain. Even I can’t put weight back on that quickly. I pulled at the buckle and shock horror it came apart in my hands. “For fuck’s sake,” I muttered. I pulled my belt through the loops and threw it into the footwell on the passenger’s side. Turning the key I felt sure the engine wouldn’t turn over. It felt like that kind of day. It started fine and having set Maud to vocal (That’s what I call the google maps app) I pulled away.

The journey was uneventful thank goodness, although as the sun rose I realised I’d left my  sunglasses on the desk at home. At least I hadn’t left my reading glasses there. That would have been the end.

Having already been to the same place for the oral two days before I knew where I was going and found a parking space really quickly too. I stopped for a coffee and croissant to revive me a bit before arriving at the examining centre.

Once again everything was very well organised. Answer papers on the desks ready along with the requisite HB pencil.  Looking around the room it was clear I was one of just 4 or 5 ‘Europeans’ taking the exams. The amount of Arabic being spoken was another clue as to where most people were originally from. There were people of all ages, and for a change I don’t think I was the eldest.

The first exam was reading. At exactly nine o’clock the question papers were handed out and we began.  I found the questions easy and finished well before the allotted time. That gave me time to have a further look around and take in the limited eye candy there was too. It was clear that some found the test harder. An older gentleman near me was sitting with his friend. His friend had his answer paper angled so the older guy could copy.  They did this throughout the exams, but I’m guessing the writing would have been the paper that sorted it out.

The listening exam followed immediately after the reading. Again I found it easy. If I didn’t get 100% in each of those parts I will be surprised. The third part, the writing, was after a fifteen-minute break during which I called June to find out my little man was very perky. What a relief that was. The writing paper was the worst for me. Gender and accents are my failing. But again I feel I will have passed it.

I now have to wait up to two months for the results. In the meantime I am continuing with collecting the documentation necessary for my citizenship bid. Watch this space for more as it happens…

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Disturbed

“What the…?” I had been rudely awakened.  “What are you doing?”  I turned the bedside lamp on and checked the clock. It was just after 2am. I lifted the duvet cover to investigate. Franki had the good grace to look a little shamefaced as he came out from under the cover and settle on their blanket on the far side of the bed. “Comfy now?” I asked, my voiced laced with sarcasm. “Ok if I turn the light out?” I added as I did just that.

Moments later it was clear that the boy hadn’t settled. I reached over and tickled his tummy in an attempt to get him to settle.  Bit by bit he became even more agitated. I turned the light back on and staring at him tried to make out if his face had swelled up. I took his face in my hands and gently rubbed him. “What’s up baby?” I asked.

Wriggling free Franki started to rub his face on their blanket. Cuddy decided she had had enough and retired to her own bed on the other side of the room.  She sighed deeply as she dropped onto the canvas.  “Me too, girl,” I grumped.

I got Franki to look at me and could see that his face had swollen quite badly.  I decided to waste no more time and slipped out of bed, although in my case it is less slip and more struggle, and picked up the hall phone. I dialled the vet emergency number.  Franki bundled by towards the garden but didn’t get out in time. His tummy was clearly upset too.  What a delightful night.

I explained what had been going on to the young lady that answered the phone. She asked if it could wait until the morning. I told her ‘no’. I was too worried. She advised me that it would be much more expensive to bring him in at that time instead of the morning. I told her that wasn’t my priority while Franki’s comfort was.  I advised that I would be there in about 15 minutes.

I threw on some clothes and put Franki’s lead on. He was delighted to get a night time excursion.  I secured him on the back seat of the car and drove down to the vets. Although he was quiet during the short journey he was clearly in distress as he wet himself, something he never does, which I found out when I got to the animal hospital and lifted him out.

As soon as the vet checked him over she told me it looked like an allergic reaction, possibly to an insect bite. She said the warmth was bringing them all out. She gave him a couple of intravenous injections as she checked the hives that had appeared all over his tummy, and gave him a good check over.  He was enjoying the attention and despite his obvious discomfort was treating it all as an adventure.  Everything else was fine.

After further advice from the vet and a prescription for more cortisone tablets should he need them we were back in the car and off home.

Back in bed he settled almost immediately and was soon snoring. I on the other hand was not. Whenever there’s a problem with any of the kids I sleep lightly and am disturbed by any slight noise. I did eventually doze off again only to be woken by the alarm (which I very rarely use as I normally wake naturally). It was time to get up and get ready for a trip down to Tarragona where I was due to do my language exam for Spanish citizenship.

Before leaving I sent a message to June to ask her to pop in on the kids while I was out to make sure that Franki was okay. She agreed, thank goodness, or I’d have cancelled the exam. I knew I’d spend the morning worrying but knowing that she was going to be checking in I was slightly less so.

It hadn’t been a good night. I’d had very little sleep, which always makes me grumpy. I was so not ready to prove myself a suitable citizen.

3am

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