Riding the ticker

Павлина Гатева (670301)

Раздел: Проза на чужд език  Цикъл:

Author: Pavlina Gateva



I was waiting for my kids. There, 15 minutes earlier, because I was afraid that they would be late and he hates it the most when someone is late. Viara came on time, but Bella was still missing. She wasn’t answering her mobile at first and then she repeatedly said “I’ll be there in 5 minutes”.

Yet, here she comes at last.

“Riding the ticker” was nearby. We went down the stairs. It is difficult to guess that this was a restaurant from outside, but to the people from the neighborhood it is quite familiar. Clocks hung all over the walls. Perhaps that where the restaurant took its name from.

He was waiting there at “our” table – behind the wall, right from the bar in a distant room. Wearing dark-blue official suit, a tie with small figures and freshly perfumed. Flawless haircut. Glasses that suited him perfectly. My heart trembles of joy and fear whether they would notice how handsome he was. He stands up and takes our coats. The waitresses are quietly polite. A young girl gives us the menus at once.

Bella has already had a beer with her dad and laughts a little too strong.

“I was just meeting my dad and his girlfriend, now I am with my mom and her boyfriend and latter I’ll be with Viara and her boyfriend”

Bella is 18. Long hair. Grunge. A little bird, eager to fly out of the nest soon, but still so fragile. Viara is 22. Blond. Beautiful. Looks mellowed by time.

He is calm. Encourages them to choose from the menu.

“I’ve already eaten” – the one says. “Some sort of chicken”

“I’m not hungry either”- the other replies. “Granny had made some “sarmi” ”

 I note in my mind that he loves “sarmi”. He even asked me once to cook some for him.

“I wanted to meet you both”- he starts almost officialy – “first of all (he pointed at Viara) because you are going to France in two days. And secondly, because I wanted to introduce myself officialy. I don’t like being half-legal”

Viara and Bella smile politely. They know his face. We were traveling together to the USA three months ago – the two of them, him and me.  He was seating next to me in the plane on our flight back; long and tireing flight, during wich we shared just a few words.

“I’m starting with the informal tone”- he goes further. An starts telling “our” story. “Everything started here on that table. At the end of our journey I gave my business card to your mother, she called me and I invited her to a restaurant. That was followed by a wonderful weekend in Greece together.. and so here we are, seeing each other three months now”.

Viara and Bella show changing interest. I believe he had already told us some things about himself during the flight. With tension I hear the familiar story about his first marriage, his second marriage, his Great Love, for whom he divorced his second wife and who I resembled in a way…

“Come, place your hands on the table” – he says and they hide them. “I want to see if that is genetically”- and he takes my hand- “Here, these small hands I was watching the whole time and I wanted so badly to touch them…What do you think about early marriages.”

 I have told him that Viara has a serious boyfriend for four years now. He didn’t wanted her to “repeat my mistake” – that he fortunatley did not said, but he had told me that before.I don’t like to examine my personal life under a magnifying glass.

“”Well, a woman must give birth when young. ” – speak Bella. – “In late pregnancy, the incidence of genetic defects increases.”

“A men before 30 and a woman before 24 are not read for marriage” – he said.

Funny. He had complited with  this “condition” and both times his marriage had failed.

The conversation turned to Viaras departure to France.

“I can drive you to the airport” – he suggested. We arranged – in two days, at noon he will come with his car.

The salads were eaten. The wine and beer – gone. Viara and Bella suddenley tore at their next meetings. We stayed – me a 40-year-old woman and him – a 70-year-old man. Both fell from the clouds, riding the ticker in this resturant in the center of Sofia, and trying to block time so we can  live our last love.