I remembered him from a few weeks ago. He bought three different cards - With Love at Christmastime - the insides blank. As I gave him change he glanced at my badge. ‘Happy Christmas, Alison,’ he said.
This time he came to the counter with tasteful Valentine Cards. ‘Three lucky ladies,’ I said.
‘My daughters. One year, when they were teenagers, only two of them received cards. Since then I’ve ensured that all three get at least one card. They’re in their thirties now, married, but I still send them.’
I smiled. ‘Is that everything?’
He nodded. ‘Yes, I don’t need … I’m widowed.’
‘Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to … I’m on my own as well.’ I offered him the packet but he didn’t take it right away, saying. ‘If I can get a table at The Talbot for Wednesday evening, will you join me for supper?’
‘That would be lovely, thank you.’
‘I’ll pop in tomorrow,’ he said.
As he walked towards the door, I called. ‘I’m here between ten and five.’
It was five past ten when he came in. I looked up and saw he was shaking his head. ‘No luck I’m afraid, I’m so sorry, if I’d asked you earlier …’
‘That’s all right,’ I said, but couldn’t look at his face. When he didn’t move away, as my cheeks began to burn I added. ’There’s a prize-winning fish and chip shop five minutes from where I live.’ When I did summon the courage, he was grinning.
’Do you like salt and vinegar on yours?’
About the auhtor
Roger has had more than 100 submissions posted on Cafe Lit. Slimline Tales, comprising 75 of his stories, has just been published by Chapeltown Books.