Fiction by HS Quarmby
One of the advantages of being English is, well, I speak English . . . . And if I am ever a little stuck for cash, I can always do the predictable and teach it. Which is what I did, one hot and steamy summer in a certain European Capital. I mean, there are worse things to do than sitting in cafes, drinking coffee that you do not pay for, and correcting someone’s grammar. So that is how I met Mr Tuesdays.
“We will meet outside the station,” he stated in his email to me.
So, on Tuesday, I stood there, eyeing each passer by, nervous. I had no idea who or what to expect. He had conveniently not replied to my question about what he looked like, so it was up to him to spot me, as I had attached a head shot. I was not even a hundred percent sure he was defiantly a he as first names can often be misleading.
But then, all of a sudden, he appeared before me, tall, bearded, handsome, blue eyes sparkling, he smiled and shook my hand.
“Let’s go in.” And I followed him meekly into the cafe.
And thirty seconds, one hour, or maybe two days later, I couldn't tell, he smiled and said, “Shall we go?”
It was over, so quick, I was in a daze, clutching the coloured notes in my one hand as he shook the other and promised me the next week.
Over the next days, my mind was filled with his eyes and his smile, I could not wait until Tuesday. When the morning dawned, I dressed extra carefully, my best bra and shirt, buttons undone way down, a spritz of perfume.
I arrived early and took my seat, ordered an espresso.
When he arrived, I stood up and our cheeks touched, one, two. I felt the soft prickle of his beard. I was close enough to smell him.
My heart was beating hard as we sat again, I had to concentrate so hard on the words, the English, and not who was saying them.
I moved my legs under the table and one accidentally touched his knee. I couldn't help it, I kept it there for a fraction of a second longer than normal etiquette would allow and as I was about to move it away, his other knee appeared from nowhere on the side of mine, trapping it in between his strong joints and through all this, he did not faultier. I had to let two bad sentence structures go by until I had the courage to speak again. "Make" was used instead of "do," and I finally managed to pipe up and correct the error. Whist I did, I could not help moving my other knee to entrap his, how he had done to mine. Our legs stayed there, fitting together like entwined hands.
And five minutes before the hour was up the question came.
“We can have the lesson at my apartment next week? Is that good for you?”
I nodded my head, hardly believing it. We stood up and I turned to his goodbye. It came once, twice, three times on the cheeks until our lips met for a brief second and then the lesson was over.
I did go to his apartment the next week, though not much English was spoken. I only really said one word really, over and over and over again.
I received my best hourly rate ever for that lesson, which was good, because I never saw Mr Tuesdays again.
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Young and innocent I left my small home town in England to go travelling and I don't think I have stopped yet. Currently in France, I write about my travels, experiences and the fictional stories inspired by them. You can read a full selection of these on HSQuarmby.wordpress.com.