Sesame Seed: B’Ar Iniz.

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Hotel Ar Iniz, St Malô

Silence swept through the background hum of the dining room as if a blanket had been carefully spread over it. From one side of the room to the other, heads turned in wonderment. As the young woman gingerly descended the steps, several men jumped up homing in on his companion. They each offered an outstretched arm while fighting off the competition with the other. The victor, a tall handsome North African, triumphantly guided Shirine down the steps. His face changed from smug to puzzlement as she flicked her yellow mane in Tony’s direction. She took her seat next to him after an exaggerated triple kiss of the cheek “a la Francais,” and a nod of thanks to the crushed young man. The hum returned to the room but the tone was different. Gone was the monotonous white noise of pre-dinner conversation to be replaced by furtive whispering and Gallic chuckles. There was a lot of nodding and winking going on.

Determined not to let the ambience be ruined by their fellow diners, Tony  addressed his young charge.

“Wow, you look amazing! Did you see the fight to help you down the steps? It was like a scrum at the Stade de France!” He began, full of enthusiasm for the evening ahead. “He was a handsome chap, I think you are in there”, he continued.

“In where? What are you talking about?” Her face changed from serene to confused, Tony’s comment was lost in translation, not for the first time and certainly not for the last. Backpedalling to avoid another episode like the ferry, he explained what he meant about the young man’s ardour, which she laughed off, her face lighting up in true modesty. She was beautiful but in no way vain with it.

“I understand you know,’ he said, pouring some water into her glass.

“Understand what?” She replied, nodding and taking a tentative sip of the water.

“What happened on the boat and why?” He repeated the process for himself and handed her the menu.

“It was extremely selfish of me, not to mention your injury.” Shirine looked at the freshly bandaged hand and her face crumpled.

“You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. This just happens to be one of the eggs to the most amazing omelette ever.” Tony held up the offending hand, twisting it from side to side, like a lot in an auction.

Shirine’s expression smoothed out to reveal one of his favourites – the puzzled innocent. However, her brilliance dismantled his idiom and he was greeted with his number one countenance – amused recognition.

“Yes! Eggs!” She raised her glass and took a gulp of water in a toast, as much to her own cleverness as Tony’s phrase.

“So, we’re good then? The trip goes on?” He held his breath, a fixed smile frozen on his lips.

“The trip goes on. I’ll make you proud of me.” Another toast and a refill, he was relieved she didn’t drink.

“Good, let’s order. Salmon? Now where are those mussels?” A feeling of calm permeated through his whole being, enhanced by the vision sitting opposite.

***

This, the first real date of their trip passed over far too quickly and as Tony finished his coffee, he detected a trace of a shadow under her piercing black eyes. The conversation had been intense. It had also been a busy few days, not to mention the episode on the ferry; and he suggested she retire. Shirine attempted to put up a fight, but finally stood up and raised her arm to be led over to, and up the steps. Another show of cheek rubbing affection sent a rumble through the room, this time in full view on the “stage”, then she was gone. Tony’s sinking feeling at her departure was aleviated by the looks, comments and gestures from fellow diners. These varied from sheer admiration to a tabloid-like curiosity; something which he knew he’d have to continually endure.

He returned to his own room and took a bottle of Coreff blond from the minibar. Removing the top using the opener situated on the side of the desk, Cheers, it said on the top; he raised the bottle to the inanimate object.

“Cheers!”

He took out a floral stationery set, in a matching folder, from his bag. Selecting his favourite fountain pen, he began to write.

My Dearest Sesame Seed,

***

Tony allowed the ink to dry while writing on the matching envelope. As he slipped the letter into the sleeve and sealed it, the same feeling hugged him from the dining room. He briefly held it to his chest then placed it in the folder. He drained the bottle of refreshing blond beer, heaved a huge sigh and prepared for bed. A few feet above him, the human jigsaw that was his life was taking shape, still a massive pile of pieces scattered on the table, but next to it the final picture, in all its glory.

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