This story was inspired by the following word prompts:
Word of the Day: Insipid
Your daily word: Accommodation
The Haunted Wordsmith’s Three Things Challenge:
Today’s things are: caterpillar, silent, hotel
Sun, Sea and a Cup of Tea
It was a lovely hotel and for once it looked exactly like it had in the brochure. The online reviews ranged, like they normally did, from describing it as paradise on earth to an outpost of hell. Ignoring the two extremes most people had posted that they’d had a positive experience, so she booked. For the money, it was reasonable accommodation.
One of the unexpected things that really pleased her was how silent it was. They had chosen to come out of season. It was the middle of September and so the schools were back, thank heavens. She couldn’t think of anything worse than going on holiday and being surrounded by packs of screaming kids. It reminded her painfully of the fact that she couldn’t have any and also made her feel slightly glad of it.
It was a perfect time of year; the weather was still lovely and warm during the day but cooler in the evenings. She packed a few lacy tops and even a pullover or two to prepare for any eventuality.
She lounged next to the crystal blue pool and picked up the novel that she was halfway through. It was the number one recommendation on a famous book list published every year at the start of summer. She wasn’t really enjoying it, it had all the adventure and depth of story as ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’, which was perfect for a child but not meaty enough for her. The heroine was a girl called Jessica who seemed to be sleeping her way through the staff at a hotel on the Costa Del Sol with an energy and vigour that was quite astonishing. However, apart from a slight thrill at the beginning, all the love scenes were practically identical and there was no character development whatsoever. All the men were tall, dark-haired adonises in white shirts and black trousers. All the love scenes began with her flirting and ended with knocking cocktail glasses off the table. It all became so samey she was totally bored with it.
Just then, the waiter came over to her and asked her if she’d like a drink. She let her sun glasses fall down her nose and peered at him from over the rim. He was tall, dark-haired and was wearing a white shirt and black trousers. She briefly imagined flirting with him and ending up rolling around on the table. She smiled and asked for a cup of English breakfast tea.
“I could do you a nice Pina Colada madam, or a Cappuccino?” the young man said, obviously not taking her request too seriously.
Looking at her Watch, it was only ten o’clock in the morning, she reiterated her request for a cup of tea.
The waiter left, seeming despondent, and asked the only other person who was laying by the pool. A girl more like the character in her book, judging by the lurid looks she was directing at the young waiter. She asked for a Mai Tai and the waiter departed smiling, clearly much happier with her choice.
Giving up on her book entirely, she decided to be neighbourly and ask the young girl her name.
“Hiya, I’m Ang. I’m from a place called Canvey Island, in Essex. Have you heard of it?” she replied, clearly up for a chat.
Ang, pronounced with a J sound, she hated that shortening of the name Angela. Angela was a beautiful name, in her opinion, derived from Angel. Ang always sounded like a disorder of the personal area to her.
Her mind not quite on the ball, she replied “Mine’s cleared up now. Sorry I meant to say, my name’s Jane. Yes, I’ve heard of Canvey Island, I can’t say I’ve been there though.”
“It’s very nice, we’ve got a beach too and everyone’s friendly. Of course, we don’t have this lovely weather, or the dishy waiters” she laughed, timing it impeccably when the young man was in earshot.
The young waiter gave Ang a warm smile as he handed her the cocktail. Then he walked over, smiled politely and gave Jane her cup of tea.
It was the colour of old ivory and tasted insipid. You can’t get a decent cup of tea anywhere outside Britain. She wished she’d brought her teabags down with her. They were still in her suitcase next to her husband who was still asleep. Who’d have thought he would have jet lag after only a four-hour flight? He’d been sound-o since eleven o’clock last night.
“Are you here with anyone?” Jane asked Ang.
“I’m here with my friend Bev, but she came here last year and has gone to stay with someone she met then. He’s head waiter of the hotel down the road. I don’t mind, you’re only young once, that’s what I say, and I’ve got a few prospects of my own” She said, glancing over at the bar and smiling.
Just like the character in her book, Jane thought.
“Well I had better go and make sure my husband is still alive. I’ll catch you later then? Nice to meet you.”
The pleasantries over, Jane went back to her room to get her travel kettle out of her suitcase and make herself a proper cup of tea.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 23/July/2018