last sitting

threadbare-carpet hotel breakfast

 

‘té? café? sir? madam?’

‘is there marmalade?’

‘I fetch you mermelada’

‘and a spoon for my muesli’

‘I fetch you, cuchara, madam’

‘no, ‘spoon’, I said’

 

porridge is ladled

and admired

 

‘the Scots make it with water’

‘I didn’t know that’

‘I have five prunes in mine every morning’

‘I think I will too’

‘prunes are good for the stool’

‘I didn’t know that’

 

my designated table-mate is absent

I did not catch his name

he told me he had a dry sense of humour

‘not many people get my jokes’

it occurs to me that he might have died overnight

 

I won't miss him

nor his conversation

his porridge-brain philosophies

his rattling teeth

he’s never heard of fixative?

 

he told me he was political

proud that he always voted Labour

or

was it Conservative?

 

I will miss his buttered toast crumbs arching to the table

(some landed on my side  - I flicked them back – he did not notice)

and his contented ‘aahs’ after soup or tea

 

‘té? senor?

 

I show my cup and nod

the waiter pours coffee

I sigh thanks to the back of his shirt

 

‘té? café? sir? madam?’

‘do you have lime marmalade?

‘lima mermelada? lo siento, senora’

 

mine is the window table

behind me

a shuffle of plate-loaders

 

at the toaster bottleneck

an eruption of angry muttering

someone swears

a dislodged plate hits the parquet

smashes

someone cheers

someone tuts

 

‘no use moaning over spilled beans’

 

I peer into breakfast darkness

Scotland is somewhere in the glooming

 

a plump matelot shirt bustles up

on the prowl for a partner in misery, asks,

‘how did you sleep?’

(‘like a baby but she doesn’t want to hear that’)

‘terrible, I hardly slept at all’

‘could you hear that generator humming?’

a lying tut, ‘oh yes it kept me awake all night’

‘you as well?’

a comradely shoulder pat

‘I’m seeing the manager, change my room’

 

the matelot shirt glides through the tables

dissolving into inner darkness

 

‘té? café? sir? madam?’

‘is there marmalade?’

‘I fetch you mermelada’

 ‘and a spoon for my muesli’

‘I fetch you, cuchara, madam’

 

at every table couples

grown fat, comfortable,

and grey together

sit together

discussing omelettes

 

except 58

the one with the view of nothing

which I share with some guy from somewhere

with a dry sense of humour

who didn't make it to breakfast

and I wouldn't mind if he died overnight

 

‘maybe he choked on his dentures’

 

in the half-gloom

a ‘private ambulance’ noses the gravel

 

I tap on the window

‘room for one more?

◄ Tiresias takes the bus

happy-hour confab ►

Comments

Rick

Sat 1st Feb 2020 17:42

Thanks, Mika 😀

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Mika

Sat 1st Feb 2020 17:15

I enjoyed this very much.

Rick

Sat 1st Feb 2020 17:00

M.C. - you asked for more toast!! I am in awe 😀

Rick

Sat 1st Feb 2020 16:59

Thanks, Brian, I googled your comment and I understand it exactly 😀

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 1st Feb 2020 16:18

Diverting and disarming - with a great sign-off. It brought to mind a
personal experience when staying at a hotel in Edinburgh and
having breakfast when it was still dark outside! And the time when,
as an overnight guest in a small highland hotel, I asked for an extra
round of toast (on a walking holiday across the country and in need
of all the sustenance available). The look on the face of the hostess
was priceless and stays with me still. 😵

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Brian Maryon

Sat 1st Feb 2020 14:25

Entiendo exactamente!

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