Tuesday 10 September 2013


Susan Eames


Cafe Cortado

Antonio was taking an order when he spotted her.
               She skirted the barriers where small children were playing hide and seek between people’s legs. She looked pinched with distress. He watched her sidestep a sour-faced woman in a flowing caftan and no-nonsense Birkenstocks to stare up at the flight arrival monitors. She visibly relaxed and grinned at Caftan Woman who glared back at her.
               Antonio felt a crackle of excitement as if an unknown destiny had just tapped him on the shoulder. He returned his reluctant attention to his customer; a woman tanned to an unwelcome shade of mahogany and wearing a red halter which showed way too much creased cleavage.
               A couple waddled over to the cafe, looking for a free table. Unsuccessful, they waddled off again, their shorts bunching up between their thighs.
               Maybe the Pinched Girl would come to the cafe? If so, she would have to sit at the bar counter. All manner of opportunities for dialogue presented themselves to Antonio. With a jaunty step, he delivered coffee to the Mahogany Woman.
               'Graaa …cias.' She winked and jiggled her wrinkled bosom at him.
               He controlled his gag reflex and fled to the safety of the counter, his former jauntiness snuffed out.
               Antonio turned his attention to the fidgeting crowd who were waiting for the arriving passengers. Where was she?
               The Pinched Girl walked towards the barriers as if she wore shackles. Antonio felt a twitch of pity. Who had she come to meet that could cause her such anguish? He strained to catch her eye. Any second she'd look at him and destiny would answer.
               A crumpled man trudged through the barriers. They embraced. The Pinched Girl threw back her head and laughed. Antonio sighed.

The fat couple returned and sat at a recently vacated table. They craned their necks expectantly towards the bar counter. Antonio went to take their order.

About the author
Susan Eames left England over twenty years ago to explore the world and dive its oceans. She has had travel articles and short fiction published on three continents. Until recently, Susan lived in Fiji, but is currently exploring new possibilities.

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