It’s funny: our Story A Day prompt was a picture, and I had already selected a picture with a door in it to use for today’s prompt! My Holly prompt was Tea or Coffee, so here’s my picture and here’s my story.
Tea or coffee
Of course, he chose a sidewalk table directly outside the front door of the brasserie. That way, he would be visible to the greatest possible number of people. Or, for once, we would. This is the fifth time we’ve come here after the theatres let out, so fans, curiosity-seekers, and photographers are boosting business.
The waiter bobs his head, which is downright obsequious in Paris. “Tea or coffee, madame et monsieur?” and the waiter knows we want a plate of cheeses and fruits and a small loaf of crusty bread to share. Twice, we’ve had coffee; twice, we’ve had tea.
The mega-star looks to me, eyebrows raised.
“I’ll have the house tea,” I say, and the waiter dimples at me.
“Two–” he begins, but my husband lifts a hand.
“I’ll have the house coffee.”
The waiter’s smile falters. We’ve always given identical orders. He recovers and disappears into the depths of the restaurant.
A woman approaches, fumbling a napkin and a ballpoint pen. “Pardon, monsieur. Pour ma fille?“
He smiles, flourishes his scrawl, and hands the pen and napkin back. The woman clutches the pen as if it were his … hand … and returns, giggling, to her friends.
They come one-by-one, almost as if they’ve choreographed it, not crowding and shouting, as they do in the movies. He isn’t just famous, after all, he’s mega-famous.
I beam at them. After our order comes, I lift my tea to them and nod in approval. When one apologizes to me for interrupting our time together, I say something like, “We have all the time in the world together,” or “I knew, when I married him, I would have to share him with the world.”
Some of them resent me, because I have what they want. Others love me as part of him. And some compliment me, as my husband’s wife, on my hair, my dress, my smile, as some Catholics petition the Blessed Virgin Mary for favors from her son.
During a lull, he leans over the table, and I lean toward him.
With his tenderest smile, he says, “I thought we agreed you would be withdrawn and irritable tonight.”
“No,” I say, stroking the side of his face, “you told me to. I never agreed.”
“Tonight was to be the first reported rift in our relationship. To-night.” He emphasized each syllable with a playful tap on the end of my nose.
“And it was to be me, who started it. Because Mr. Mega-Perfect must be heartbroken. Because Ms. I-Never-Thought-She-Was-Good-Enough-For-Him must be at fault. Poor Mr. Mega-Perfect! Back on the front page of the gossip magazines. Back at the top of the search engines. Free publicity for the new movie. And nothing for me but villification and perhaps a sleazy tell-all book that would just be more free publicity for you.”
He sat back, looking hurt and stunned. Oh, good move!
Well, I came up in improv, so two could play at that game.
I stood abruptly, knocking my chair over.
“No!” I shouted. “How could you? How could you?”
When I wrote my highly dignified tell-most book about our marriage and break-up, I would say, I’ll never repeat what he said to me that night. Let those who love him–as I still do–continue to love him–as I always will.
In fact, I thought, as I stalked away from him that night, that might just be the last line.
Thursday Doors is the brainchild of Norm Frampton, photographer extraordinaire. Visit his site, enjoy his wonderful photographs, follow his instructions, and enter a world of doors.
MY PROMPTS TODAY: picture, Tea or Coffee