‘HERE SHE COMES. Her long flowing skirt dances as the coming storm teases the edge of town. It is on its way. A woollen jacket’s large buttons are undone. But each half wrapped one side over the other and held in place by delicate pink and gracefully artistic hands. The right hand is caught in two minds as the wind tries to steal her blue and white cap. No chance, her mind and movement are far too quick.’
I knew she would be aiming for her favourite coffee shop. I’m already there. She won’t see me.
The moment I dreaded has arrived, she kisses a seated Roger full on the lips. She never did that to me, at least not in public. Her best friend, Felicity, gets a peck on her forehead, and the other man, I don’t know him has his hand shaken.
‘Hi, I’m Gabby, great to meet you at last. Felicity has told me all about you, Pierre.’
At last, she sat and signalled for a mug of her favourite brew, a dairy-free Moka pot. God knows what that is. I never did find out, but she always ordered one. It is served with a hot teaspoon with sugar granules clustered over it. Like a dented three-year-old's white lollipop. Gabby was sweet enough, but she loved to play with her drink. Every day she comes here, and every day she has the same order with the same spoon and the same tiny pot of sugar. You may get bored like that, but the owner here better not question her choice. I made that mistake.
The chatter increases, mostly about the coming weather. New customers enter shaking raindrops from their outfits.
‘What plans do you have for the weekend?’ asks Gabby, looking at each in turn.
‘We’re off for a sexy weekend in London,’ says Felicity. She grins in her girlish way. She is cute, I guess and was always pleasant to me. But, well, times past.
Pierre, if it’s his real name, is handsome and gesticulates as only the French can. Why are all the French guys called Pierre? Or is it just me? Felicity deserves a decent lover, I hope this guy takes good care of her. As I had planned with Gabby. Not to be.
They pack their things and brave the storm. I’m staying here.
The following day, the sun was shining, and the coffee shop filled early. Roger and Gabby arrived together. Did that mean their romance had stepped up a division or two? Only one set of car keys. Oh, dear, I don’t like the sound of that.
‘Felicity and Pierre got off on time this morning. I do hope they have fun. They should, tickets for the West End theatres, great, don’t you think, Roger?’
‘Yes good for them. Do you want me to take you to the Big Smoke?’
‘Oh, yes, please, it’s been years since I shopped in Harrods.’
‘Who did you go with, Felicity?’
‘Eh, no, it was a long time. I think my Mum took me. Yes, that’s right.’
Yeah, right, I took her, and she spent all my savings.
Today is the second day in a row that they arrived together. What is she carrying? He has a laptop, but, don’t say they are going to work here all day?
‘Is it okay, if I bring my new baby in here?’ she asks as loud as possible. Naturally, all the customers look around. As did I. She never had a baby, as far as I know.
The package was her old coat, yes, one she bought in Harrods. Oh, no, don’t tell me. It’s a dog.
‘Normally, we don’t allow pets in here, but well, the owner is not here, and your little friend is so cute. Who could resist him.’
“Little friend” God help us, it’s a bloody Chihuahua. The smallest recognised dog breed is named for the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where it was first noted in the mid-19th century. The Chihuahua is thought to have been derived from the Techichi. How do I know all that? Because I looked it up when she wanted one before. I refused.
Oh, God, they are all making a fuss of the hideous creature. Oh, and what is Roger doing? The laptop opens, and he is showing all his Photoshop creations of a collage of pictures. And now he is taking photos of anyone daft enough to pose with that animal.
‘His name is “Chewbacca” great name, don’t you think? Gabby came up with it.’
At last, the dog-loving server delivers the coffee. Him an Americano, and she, as always, is a “dairy-free Moka Pot”. With her very own sugar pot, the spoon heated long enough to melt some sugar granules. Then with a graceful gesture, she stirs the coffee, ensuring the sugar has left the spoon. Perfect.
‘Can you look after Chewbacca? I must go to the ladies. Won’t be a minute.’
A long minute later she returns, ashen face and trembling fingers. ‘We must go.’ She drains her drink and begins to organise the four-legged beast. The two-legged one says, ‘What’s the rush?’
She whispers to him. I can’t hear, but my guess is that blood escaped her rear end, not her monthlies.
The next day, they arrive, minus Chewbacca.
‘Can we have our usual drinks? Can’t stay long, we must go to the hospital for some tests.’
‘Nothing serious I hope?’ the server asks.
‘Nothing I want to talk about in here, but I must have eaten something dodgy.’
A smile spreads across my face. It soon turned into a chuckle. I clamped my hand across my mouth. The last thing I needed was any attention drawn to me.
At eleven o’clock on the dot, they arrived. He grunted their order. She looks as if dragged from an ice hole. Chin on her chest. Silent and morbid, she flopped to her seat.
‘Whatever is the matter?’ asks the waitress.
‘It seems my toilet troubles are worse than I imagined.’
‘Oh, no, dare I ask, what is wrong?’
‘I must go for more tests. They don’t think it's cancer.’
She leans to the girl's ear, ‘When I poop, there is blood. I get pains in my stomach and sicked-up blood too.’
Their coffee arrived. A little pot of sugar, the heated spoon was then dipped into the granules. Sugar and tiny bits of glass that I had carefully sprinkled into her favourite jar. There was no rush, I could sit and watch her pain increase for days, months even years. I was going nowhere.
She got away with murdering me. Revenge is sweet.