A 4 Course Year
By sean mcnulty
The Choices of Autumn
Autumn almost snatched the menu from the waiter’s hands. She was eager to see what choices she had, but knew her decision would rest on some as yet unseen shine in her nature.
Minutes marched by.
‘Hmm, let me see, I’ll have… no, wait a minute…’
Autumn was aware the menu meant nothing. She could choose whatever she saw fit to choose; the menu listed only a portion of what was truthfully on offer.
‘Hmm, let me see…’
Just then, Summer walked in wearing a pleasant ocean gown and mandarin-coloured charm; Autumn was at once ablaze with memory. Leaves were emerald green again.
Autumn looked the waiter dead in the eye.
‘I’ll have whatever she’s having.’
The Designs of Winter
Winter’s dinner date adjusted his tie again and again as they waited for the starter dishes to arrive. He was an encyclopaedia of insecurities. He knew she didn’t love him as he loved her, so his anxieties swelled with every droop and turn of her head.
It had taken some time for Winter to become certain of her beauty. Always considered the harshest and most hostile of sorts, and knowing there was some truth to be found in these estimations, she had spent many moons examining her profile, unsure if there was any beauty there at all.
‘What would you like to do after dinner then? asked her dinner date. Would you like to go see a film? Or, if not, we could just go for a drink somewhere? Whatever you want.’
He worshipped her. She was beautiful. She was certain of both.
He stopped adjusting his tie once the starters had arrived at the table. He tried to focus on the food, but was disrupted by Winter’s wandering gaze. He saw that her eyes had located Vivaldi. He hated Vivaldi, that greasy piece of shit. He put his fork down and chewed slowly. He’d seen Vivaldi trying to seduce some diners in this restaurant before, all of them spirits of distinctive impression. He’d even made a move on Winter, but she’d laughed him away. Wasn’t Vivaldi sweet on Summer now?
Winter’s eyes swerved dryly, seeking to contain only the food that was before her. She delicately cut herself a slice of bread, buttered it, and tasted.
Winter’s face turned ashen-grey.
‘Oh, it’s too warm!’
The Pangs of Spring
‘Wake up, buddy!’ yelled Spring, slapping the waiter’s ass and laughing. ‘An espresso, on the snappy double, ya hear me?’
Nobody in the restaurant liked Spring. She was too animated, too pushy. There was an excess of sun in her disposition, too much for one so young. Although they desired sunshine in their lives, they knew they were living within an operation of weather. They expected a certain proportion in the colours and qualities they experienced. Spring’s sunshine seemed to them immature, boisterous, and somewhat artificial. She was just a schoolgirl.
Why don’t they like me? Why do the waiters in this restaurant ignore me? Is it because I am young? Maybe I’m too full-on, eh? They’re not ready for me. When will they be ready for me? They may never be ready for me. They’ll wait until I’m in my teens, when my legs have grown long, and I’ve learned how to treat my hair in such a way that I can dye it blonde.
The Foxes of Summer
Summer’s entrance entranced all present. Sullen expressions became expressive smiles, miserable husbands became tawny forsythia, miserable wives ivory gardenia. The restaurant became the golden beach banquet of a diner’s dreams.
Minutes after this spectacular entrance, Summer collapsed. Vivaldi was the fourth to offer his assistance, but the first to get to her fallen body (following the stampede and wrestling to get there).
‘Are you okay, sweetheart?’ asked Vivaldi.
‘I just…came over all dizzy,’ she groaned.
The alarmed diners gathered around the scene as Summer’s complexion slowly faded, her vim slowly weakened.
‘Don’t die on me, honey,’ wailed Vivaldi, as Summer breathed her last.
Autumn, Winter, and Spring arrived to observe the commotion of Summer’s passing.
‘What’s all this?’ asked Autumn.
‘Summer took a turn,’ a voice replied. ‘She collapsed.’
Autumn aimed an unusual expression at Winter and Spring.
Then all three bowed their heads gently, invented condolences swiftly, and presented them furtively, like foxes attending a farmyard funeral.