glass of Madeira wine.
As I paid for my supper at Restaurante O Tapassol for the third night running, Viktor slipped a white card in with my change.
‘Maria?’ I frowned.
‘Yes sir, on her back.’
The penny eventually dropped and I turned the card over. Largo do Socórro, I read, No. 13.
‘After ten o’ clock sir, brown door, green shutters above. But,’ he wagged a finger, ‘Not if black Citroen outside. Show the card.’ he nodded and took away the ceramic dish containing his tip.
The following morning, as it was on my route to visit the church of Santa Maria, which in the past had provided solace and inspiration, I checked out the address. In a clean and tidy area, smelling of disinfectant, the small terraced house stood four doors beyond the Socórro Bar, within twenty five metres of one of Funchal‘s most significant churches.
Not normally so sensitive, but not wanting Victor to ask if I had visited Maria, I ate at different establishments for the next four evenings. It was on Sunday morning; just after I’d left the hotel that I met him. I felt my cheeks burning as he shook my hand.
‘You no go to Maria?’
I shook my head.
‘But she expecting you.’
Not sure how to explain, I shrugged, but he was in no mood to let me off. His expression demanded a response.
‘Er Viktor … I … I don’t pay women for sex. I—’
‘Who told you sex? Maria is poeta. I see you reading book of poems, I think you should meet.’
‘All right, I’ll go tonight.’
He frowned; shook his head. ‘Ten in the morning, so that little Diogo has gone school.’
‘Right, I’ll go tomorrow, I promise.’
We shook hands and parted. After he’d turned the corner, I began to wonder. What was the significance of the black Citroen?
About the author
Roger is a regular contributor to CafeLit