PROTEA LADY

After a water cut in my neighbourhood once more, causing multiple frustrations and emotions, I’ve decided to go out for the evening. I was in the mood for something different, so I took off to a local pub that I knew can get quite busy on a Friday evening. For once I am tired of just being inside my flat all on my own. I was in need of people, people to surround me, but not for conversation. No I just wanted to sit down and listen to the sound of a busy, socialising atmosphere, the sound of life.

As I arrive and the waiter takes me to be seated, in the non-smoking section as I prefer, I look around and observe. I can see that there are numerous people in the smoking section, and everyone there is quite chatty. I sit down at a table, one that is not far from the entrance, and do have a varied view over the other tables. I order my filter coffee without opening the menu yet. As the waiter sets off, I open the menu and quickly browse through. I actually already had my mind made up on what I wanted, even before I had sit down, but still I am just checking the options out to be sure. I close the menu and gently put it down on the table, and with a sliding motion I pushed it over to the opposite side of the table. My eyes are scrolling over the people at the opposite side.

A young lady, near late twenties, enters at the front, and my attention is immediately focused on her. She is friendly and greats the waiter as if she is a regular customer. She is dressed in a way that can be described as classy, but not in the sense of being rich, more in an outstanding class. Her long dark hair is emphasised with a pair of fashion sunglasses on her head. She speaks to the waiter and indicates to him where she is going to sit, I assumed already giving her order, and in a very jovial walk she makes her way to the table. My coffee arrives and I indulge in the strong aromatic smell. I place my order and my waiter sets off again. Looking back over to the lady’s table I see that see is having a glass of wine in the one hand, and scrolling over her phone with the other. I look around for a moment to see if there might be any more people worth my attention, but I am drawn back to the lady. Something about her is just that extra bit mysterious, and my mind spins off creating a possible fiction character around her. If I was a screen writer, I would surely consider her for a part in a movie. The perfect, artistic like character, that displays just enough emotion, and don’t give everything away at once. She makes eye contact with me, but with a gentle turn of my head I conceal the fact that I am observing her, and as soon as she also starts gazing over the people, I can look at her again. I can only think we are here for more or less the same reasons. She can be an artist; a musician; or even a writer, like me. She is clearly also observing people and I don’t think she is waiting for any one. In a romantic scenario this would have been the right moment for me to stand up and say the first words to her, starting off the conversation with some great quote out of a film or novel, but that is not me. I prefer to observe people without talking to them. Sometimes if you start talking to them the characters in your mind change and it becomes a whole new gander into another dimension. I mean the reason for me observing people, is to get inspiration for my stories, build characters. I am actually working and not just socialising here.

My food arrives, and I am now focused on my hunger, letting go of all observation duties. You can say that this pizza just distracted me from working. I order another cup of coffee and start eating, only focused on my table now. Half way through I am replete and pushes the plate to the side, pouring the milk to my coffee. As I look over to her table again, she is still just sitting, observing, and enjoying that glass of wine. After some moments she pays with a bank card, greats the waiter very polite and chirpy, and out she goes. She walks quite fast as if she is going somewhere prearranged now. As she passes my table I am amazed to the colourful tattoo work on her left upper arm. A pinkish, protea flower head if I’m not mistaken. Just that tattoo, the mere ink and display, added so much more to this lady. Protea flower lady, will I ever see you again? I think I do have a spot for her in a novel. An evening’s work, all worthwhile.

Gone like the wind, some would say, but in my mind, she sure will stay.

 

 

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