Saturday, October 2, 2010

Moonlit Dinner - A Short Story

This is just a short story I did as English homework last week, thought I might as well stick it up.

The moon hung in the night sky, backed by a chorus of shimmering stars. The paved courtyard outside was illuminated beneath the heavenly glow. The seven flags lay limp against their poles, not a single breeze to move them. The courtyard was picturesque. The perfect night for romance. Too bad I was with her.
“Those restrooms are terrible. I think I saw a rat under the sink. She complained in her monotonous voice. She always complained.
“I’m sure it was just a mouse.” I laughed. She didn’t.
“Must you always be so childish?” She sniffed and turned to the waiter serving the table beside us. “Garcon.” She jabbed him in the shoulder with a stiff finger.
“I’ll be with you in a minute, Miss. He called over his shoulder, I could see him rolling his eyes.
“The service here is dismal.” She groaned, making sure the entire room could hear her. The locals at the table beside us scoffed. I found it hard not to join them.

“Now, Miss, how may I help you?” The waiter appeared by my shoulder. He didn’t seem keen on getting too close to her. I don’t blame him.
“It’s about time. I’ll have the Caesar salad.” She flung the menu at him and turned away to look over her nose at the other diners.”
“The usual?” He wrote down my order before I could even confirm it.
“Thanks, Myles. And could we have a bottle of your finest wine please?”
“Of course, Mr. Long.” He smiles at my disinterested company and leaned down to whisper into my ear. “Alcohol can tame even the foulest of beasts.” I struggled to hide my smirk.
“That’s the plan.”

“Have you talked to your father recently?” She stopped me in the middle of lifting the fork to my mouth. “I’ll take that as a no then.”
“What happened? Is he okay?” I panicked. The only time we’ve ever talked about my father before was when he became ill. The two of them never got along.
“Oh, he’s perfectly fine. In fact, he’s living with the woman who used to be his neighbour.” She shook a disapproving head.
“At least he’s happy.” I was delighted for my father, he spent years in a broken down marriage. He deserved some joy in his life. But I could no longer convey happiness, or any other emotion. She sucked me dry of it all.
“They’re getting married next month.” She dismissed it as if it were a commonly known fact and summoned the waiter to our table. “We’re ready for dessert. And that salad was dry.” She added scornfully as he picked up the plates.
“I’ll inform the chef.” He grunted, an impatient smile forced across his face.

“Will you be going to the wedding?” She raised her eyebrows high over her cup of coffee, watching me through the rising steam.
“I suppose I will, assuming I get an invitation.” I immediately regretted my answer. I slouched behind the chocolate cake in front of me in a pathetic attempt to hide.
“You suppose you will?” She rapidly lowered her coffee, nearly shattering the cup when it collided with the table. A loud clang filled the ears of everyone in the room. She gently raised her cup and tipped it towards her lips, acting as if nothing had happened.
“I don’t know yet.” I grumbled like a little boy throwing a tantrum, unwavering in my stand.
“How can you not know? You can’t just leave it to a last minute decision!” She snapped, startling the table beside us. She cleared her throat and slid her fringe back into place. “Well?”
“I want to go, I really do. I just don’t know if I can get the time off work.” Once again, I found myself grabbing at my words as they escaped my mouth. Too late.

“Time? Time is the problem?” She rumbled, rage building up from within. I cowered even lower in my seat. “I thought money would have been the main obstacle!”
I opened my mouth to say something but drew blanks. There was no way I was going to wriggle my way out of this one.
“Was it or was it not only a week ago that you couldn’t come visit me because you couldn’t afford the gas money?” She shook wildly, eyes fixed manically on me.
“That’s because I leant my money to a friend. He paid me back a few days ago.” I stammered unconvincingly, even I wasn’t buying it.
“Do you think I’m some sort of monster? Am I that horrible that you need to create little excuses just to avoid seeing me?” She flared. I didn’t answer but she could see the reply in my silence.
“And to think I arranged this lovely meal in your favourite place just so we could talk. And this is how you repay me!” She screeched hysterically. Despite the threatening atmosphere I found myself trying to suppress a laugh. Seeing all the other puffed up cheeks around me, I think everyone else was too.
“You should just be thankful if I ever speak to you again!” She howled and sprang to her feet. Grabbing her coat, she swung it over her shoulders and made a be-line for the door and a theatrical exit. The chilled night air flooded into the room when she opened the door but we were instantly warmed by the bang when she slammed it shut behind her.

Myles, the waiter, approached me slowly with a bottle dangling in his hand. “More wine?”
“Please!” I eagerly slid my glass towards him, keen to wipe this encounter from my mind.
“Mothers, eh?” He laughed dryly. We both did. I reached into my jacked pocket and carefully took out a slip of card and a pen. Turning it over, I marvelled at the illustrious, golden lettering on the top. ‘Patrick Long’s and Nadia Poole’s wedding’.
With a swish of my hand, I gleefully ticked the ‘Is Attending’ box.

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