Tom listened to Martin chatting away. He knew what Martin was trying to do, but it wasn’t working. Nevertheless he appreciated the effort and tried hard to give back a little of the kindness that Martin was sharing with him. Martin droned on and Tom attempted a smile, but soon he was lost in his thoughts again and his coffee turned cold and the sun went in behind a cloud.
He remembered happier times in his life and tried to recapture the moments. We all do that, don’t we? A certain smell of flowers, grass even or perfume can take us back to our childhood or a time when the colours of our life were brighter and sounds were clearer, summers were longer. Tom remembered the smell of a field where he used to play as a child with a group of friends. In that time he was closer to the ground. Sometimes crawling along on his tummy like a soldier and all the small animals were right in front of his nose. Mice and voles scuttled away and the pungent smell of the weeds and flowers in such close proximity filled his mind with their presence.
‘So Tom, Tamsin and I would love it if you came over to our place on Sunday and shared our barbecue. What do you think? Some of her friends will be there too.’
Tom smiled a little. He appreciated the thought and ‘hell, why not. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain.’
‘Thanks Martin. I’d love to come. What time do you suggest?’
‘Whenever you’re ready Tom. Just turn up – late afternoon would be ideal.’
Ok mate. I’ll see you there; oh and thanks…’
Martin returned to his own table feeling pleased. Well, it’s a start, at least he thought.
Over by the window, her cake now finished, Pat brushed the crumbs from her blouse and reached down to get her handbag so she could check her face in the small mirror, which was a gift from her late husband. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Mick coming towards her so she aborted the mirror and went for her handkerchief instead. It wouldn’t do for Mick to think she was vain. It was two years since Pat’s husband, Dick Clark, died. Every day that passed since Pat found herself thinking about him. Sometimes the thoughts made her laugh or smile as memories came back, but more often she felt a tear in her eye at a reminder of some past event that they shared together. Now though she must move on in life. It was time to look ahead, not back. There could be new memories to come, but they would need a little encouragement. She was still attractive and she still had much to give and wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to go to the theatre with now and then or out on one of those inviting day trips she kept reading about in the daily paper.
Take that nice young man in the corner for instance, the one with the striped jumper. He shouldn’t be looking so down and depressed. What could have happened to him? Perhaps he’s lost his job or failed his exams? Maybe his girlfriend has finished with him. He looked well cared for. Perhaps he’s been living at home and now he’s been told he has to move out. We all have our problems, thought Pat.
She looked up into Mick’s kind, smiling face. He wanted to know if she had enjoyed the cake and if today was a special occasion.
‘Yes, it’s my birthday today,’ she told him, ‘so I thought I’d give myself a treat.’
Mick smiled broadly and replied ‘Well we can’t let this day go without celebrating, how about another cup of coffee, on the house?’
to be continued …
ps Yesterday I noticed that someone from The Faulkland Islands had looked at my Blog. I want to say ‘welcome’ to that person in particular because as you all may know, The Faulkland Islands belongs to Britain, even though it is on the far corner of the world. I was delighted to see that one of our own had found my Blog. It made my day.