So I am sitting at a table on the veranda of a hotel, facing the sea. Beside me, to my left is Daniel. A man I have loved for over ten years in my imagination. In front of me is Fiona, a woman I work with whom I have despised from minute one.
She asks me if I had eaten here before and what I would recommend. He doesn’t say anything to me. He tells Fiona he’s going to wash the salt off; and walks to the bath room.
“You have to excuse my husband…” she says in a voice that is tired. “He has no manners,”
I was going to ask where she met him, how long they had been married, but I actually didn’t care, I really didn’t care. I was feeling a sense of buoyancy,
Fiona, whom wasn’t the nicest person, had noticed her husband’s behaviour. I had, when we were at high school, but thought he was just shy or felt he didn’t belong, that he didn’t talk in class because he didn’t speak English well or didn’t want others to hear his accent.
I had seen him as a hurt puppy when he was an unfriendly dog.
The waiter came with menus when Daniel returned and I focused on the entrées not on Daniel. Fiona asked what I would recommend and I suggested the red snapper in coconut milk, which I ordered, as did they.
I focused on Fiona when she spoke, and made absolutely no sign I recognised Daniel, nor spoke to him.
We paid for our own meals, and they left, and I, I stayed, savouring a glass of wine, feeling free.