The girl wore a green dress and sat in the corner. She wound her legs around the chair legs in a suggestive way. Something told me that the suggestion was all for me, although she hadn’t even looked up since I’d gone into the restaurant.
I glanced over in her direction while I was waiting for the soufflé I’d ordered. Sixteen minutes exactly, Mario had said, and I always trust Mario. Somehow I knew she was a singer, although she’d uttered not a single sound. The green of her dress sparkled. Then I turned back to my paper. This was ridiculous. I was not looking for anyone, really I wasn’t. The words on the page didn’t make sense. All I could see was an image of a long-legged girl in a sea-green dress moving on the page. Her legs crossing and uncrossing. This was absurd. I swigged my wine, furious with myself, remembering too late that I’d promised myself to have only one glass. I called Mario.
‘Signor, it eez four more minutes.’
‘No, no, yes, fine,’ I cried.
‘Signor, there is matter?’
‘No, yes, what? No. Wine,’ I gasped.
‘Signor, no problem. I is understanding,’ he said with an extravagant wink.
He brought me a large carafe and two glasses. I don’t know what got into me. I watched, as if from the ceiling, as I got up from the table and walked over to the girl. I watched as she turned and as she smiled, like Minnie Mouse, and started singing, horribly. Then Mario was coming out of the kitchen with the soufflé. It was wobbling, and I was backing away from the girl. And she was standing up, her singing getting louder and louder as she moved towards me, the Minnie Mouse smile flitting across her face between phrases of the ghastly song. Then I was back in my body, suddenly clear-headed.
As the girl approached, my senses and her frock shimmering and her song intensifying, I spoke.
The words were enough. She fell silent, returned to her corner and turned her face to the wall once more.
copyright Cath Barton/June 2013
This is the story I wrote at the National Flash Fiction Day event in Abergavenny on 22 June. We all wrote for 15 minutes only!