Milk or Lemon?
A pleasant reunion; thanks to ‘Friends Reunited’.
We chat of this and that; she serves afternoon tea
in her ‘English country-garden’...
She’d done all right for herself,
you could tell; cucumber sandwiches -
paper thin, nestle on delicate, lace doilies;
Madeira cake and scones with strawberry jam
or cream, or both.
She takes me for a turn around the flowerbeds;
the hot-house where the oleander wintered
and, again outside – beneath the olive tree
we reminisce. Go back to our gap-year
when she and I were students; to Kalamata
where olives ripened in the warm,
Mediterranean sun... and dark-skinned girls,
cheeks flushed, giggled – smiled, ‘Hello,’
fresh from shaking the branches; dirndl skirts
brim full of a good day’s harvest
and how they gave us some
and how she spat hers out in disgust
and how I laughed – branded her a heathen
but I was glad; all the more for me.
Bitter as hell though they were,
kidded her I’d an eclectic taste for them;
gullible but lovely, as she was.
But that was light-years ago. We’d changed
a lot since then – drifted apart,
the usual story; until now, of course...
one failed relationship each behind us
and two kids apiece. Unanimously we agreed
life could be a bitch, sometimes. And then
she looked at me; those same indomitable eyes.
“A shame,” she said, “olives don’t ripen
on the tree. Not here at least...and anyway,
I never did get to like them.”