Fish and Chips
Gino's fish and chip shop opens up again after a six week refurbishment which includes a brand new Pasta, Pizza restaurant.
And...everybody is talking about her.
' Have you seen her yet ?' She is... beautiful?'
'I'm in love?' ' Stunning ?' Like a film star ?'
'Oh so gorgeous...?' they all said shaking with excitement as if an angel had suddenly fallen to earth.
'Nina, that's who...!'
' Her name is Nina, an olive skinned Nefertiti beauty with green eyes and soft red lips!' sighs one with hands clasped as if in prayer.
'She speaks a little English !' said another dreamily.
' Ahh...and she is going to be working in the new restaurant' adds one choking with emotion
On Monday night I head a long caterpillar queue which trails behind me and disappears around the corner.
'Single cod...a small portion of chips...mushy peas and onions...please !' I stutter.
She smiles and winks, I suddenly feel weak at the knees.
I blush as she nods an ok and returns to stir the cauldron of boiling oil.
The shop although crowded is unusually quite as everyone stands transfixed in awe of the dark vision behind the screen of bright chrome and smoked glass.
The wall behind her is covered in mirrors, reflecting her in a veil of vapour that shrouds her in mystery.
I want to leap over the counter and throw my arms around her.
Shield her from the spitting fat that threatens to erupt from the steaming vat and engulf her.
I want to lick the hot batter that drips from her arms.
I want to...
A fish is selected and a portion of tiny crisp fries are offered up to me.
With a tilt of her beautiful head she indicates.
In her hands the vinegar turns into a delicious red wine.
Microscopic grains of salt become tiny sparkling diamonds.
Purple onions change to pearls with the peas dissolving into emeralds.
A silver fish lies amidst the bars of gold, a treasure chest of priceless gems.
And Nina...the most precious and desirable jewel of all.
For the last two months I had been learning basic Italian.
Absorbing day and night everyday words, key words, enough for me to get by including a piece of romantic poetry that will impress her.
On Friday I intend to have a meal in the restaurant, I shall stroll through the courtyard and sing to her, some Verdi or Puccini.
The library has a Andrea Bocelli CD, a concert in his home town of Lajatico.
Singing along with him will help with me with the high notes.
Her beautiful green eyes will flash.
'I love you, I want to have your baby...three, four, children...I want a large family!' she will beg me.
I begin to feel dizzy with anticipation as I doh, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti,...doh...in front of the bathroom mirror.
On Friday as planned I sit at a small table overlooking the whole restaurant.
I'm getting anxious, I fidget with a small Italian phrase book marked at my lines of poetry there is no sign of Nina, maybe it’s her night off I think.
Carlo one of the new waiters approaches to take my order.
‘Good evening sir, may I take your order? He beams.
'What do you recommended...?'
‘Of course, may I suggest the...'
I'm aware of his lips moving as he describes a delicacy of something or another, but I hear nothing as I look over the menu in hope she may glide in bearing a tray of olives.
'Yes, please, I will have that thanks...'
‘A nice choice sir…very nice, would you care to try our new house wine while you wait ?'
‘Thanks, I will...and tell me please... where is Nina this evening?'
‘Ahh...Nina...yes she had to go back home...suddenly!’
‘Yes, back home to Italy…her husband, you see was due to come over here…’
‘She...is married?' I mumble.
‘Yes, she is married to Gino's brother, he was coming over as well...to help run the new restaurant, but a personal matter came up at the last minute, they may be over later, perhaps in a few months time, perhaps not, we shall see...I bring your meal shortly...please enjoy your wine’
‘Thank you!’ I whisper.
As I sip the wine the taste of vinegar fills my mouth.
The sharpness pierces deep into my heart.