My Little Flower: Part Three.

by | Feb 29, 2024 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

At that moment he passed the monumental stairs of Marseille St. Charles railway station.

Steve closed the book. The action was accompanied by a dragging feeling of melancholy, as if the last few minutes hadn’t existed. Had they? He opened the book again and read his words. Everything came flooding back to him, banishing the blues. Licking his finger, he picked up the remaining flakes of croissant and drained his coffee cup. He placed a ten Euro note under the cup, folded the notebook back on itself with the writing uppermost, and left.

His head was full of ideas. From famine to feast, his imagination was gorging on his new found creativity. What would he do with his Little Flower? “Ma Petite Fleur,” he said out loud to himself. A passing elderly woman gave him a toothless grin and chuckled loudly, covering her mouth with a wrinkled hand. Where did that name come from? She certainly was the epitome of a rare orchid or a carefully cultivated rose.

As the day wore on, Steve’s realistic side began to doubt the events of that morning. It fell out with its creative cousin, resulting in her image fading in his head. He took out the book and read his words for comfort. Still, his rational self rattled his cage.

At that moment he passed the monumental stairs of Marseille St. Charles railway station. The stairs, as wide as a Parisian boulevard, take one up to the beautifully carved station building at the top of the hill. He devised a plan, or at least an experiment. One that would defeat his sceptical self and send him cowering back in his second’s corner. Steve took the stairs two at a time arriving at the top in a few breathless minutes. He located an empty bench, beneath one of the many statues depicting the port’s visitors from around the world. Placing his bag on his knee, he took out the open book and his favourite fountain pen. He closed his eyes, tilted his head back, “This is crazy!”  His conscience was up against the ropes, then down on the canvas. “Three, two, one, out.”  Steve’s sensibility had taken a beating. In its absence, creativity stood tall – he began to write.

The man sat on a bench at the railway station, awaiting inspiration. It wasn’t long in coming as the pretty muse from this morning ascended the wide sweeping flight of stairs below him. Each step was so elegant, it was as if she was gliding. Her head was perfectly still and her wonderfully proportioned figure as erect as a statue.

Steve held his breath and closed his eyes again, gripping the two instruments of his fantasy. As his slim contact with the real world gave a faint groan, his ears were treated to the most beautiful sound.

“Are you following me?” This was accompanied by a laugh so light and airy, it almost floated by without being heard. It was heard though, and would never be forgotten. Steve exhaled slowly and opened his eyes to the key to heaven.

“You could say that,” someone who had taken ownership of his voice uttered. Another sprinkling of warm rain that was her genuine amusement, covered Steve.

“I’m flattered. Do you often stalk complete strangers in foreign cities?” Her intonation was mesmerising. He could clearly hear the click in her throat on certain words as the Arabic fought to get out. Tunisian! That’s what she was. That tiny country wedged between its giant neighbours was the perfect marriage of French and Berber.

“Only the beautiful ones,” the stranger replied, using Steve’s vocal chords again. He checked the book as she treated him to a third dose of exquisite mirth. Every word was there. He quickly placed another line of dialogue between those two soft red cushions, this time in her mother tongue. The result topped everything that had gone before, the mix of Arabic lightly seasoned with French dressing was a dish to savour.

“’arak ghada. Meme alwaqt meme almakani.” See you tomorrow, same time same place.

Steve watched her walk away, every part of her body in perfect synchronicity.

2 Comments

  1. Kenneth Childs

    Another fleeting encounter.

    Reply
    • brian

      Slowly but surely Ken.

      Reply

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