Things have certainly changed in the old bar in the few months since I was last here - it has new owners, a new facade and has gone up-market. Inside, the long corner benches and straight backed chairs have been replaced by large, curved, maroon-red leather buttoned sofas and chairs; the wooden tables by opalescent smoked glass; the blocked floor by gleaming chess square tiles and the plain walls by an eclectic mix of ebony and alabaster blocks and uneven ceramic tiles. Subdued lighting is reflected from the perfectly smooth, ice-white ceiling, by large inverted fawn coloured flying saucers.
The sporty blonde behind the bar has had her nose ring replaced by a discrete ruby stud and there’s a new tall, Polish barista with agleam in his eye and a small upward pout to his full lips. Is he gay or is he not? He did give me the once over, but not in the way that makes a woman slightly wet. So I suppose he is.
I miss my secluded spot over in the corner, and I miss the Banker-boys, who could be relied upon for a hot strip stare as I walked by. There is a new set of suited business types with over white teeth, designer stubble and well manicured nails. I caught a syllable or two concerning property as I made my way to a vacant couch. Their looks washed over me, noticed my bump, and that was that. How to make a girl feel undesirable, boys….
There are others - couples, but none of much interest, except perhaps the well dressed pair two tables away; one platinum blonde, pale skin, thin as a stalk of corn, a little too much mascara on his eye-lids; the other in a pin-striped suit, pink shirt, red socks and Etonian tie. They, it seems only have eyes for each other.
A pretty waitress with blonde streaks in her auburn hair and dimple in her chin has just gone away with my order for a prawn salad, with sliced avocado on the side. She wasn’t sure about the avocado but she was going to ask, she said.
So, where were we?
I’d swam in and out of sleep all night, battling torrid dreams one minute, and then counting the seconds in the darkness when I shot to the surface gasping for air. The last nightmare was like those I’d had a hundred times before – darkness and almost endless horizon, me naked, running, fleeing from something or someone I couldn’t see, my feet slipping and sliding in a thick gooey molasses; silent screams, terror…... A re-occurring nightmare; my guilty sub-conscious punishing me with warnings and consequences - ‘you can run but you can’t hide from yourself’ it was saying. Finally, around six-thirty I gave up, slid out of bed, drew on a robe and went to sit on the balcony, the pictures from my last dream flickering in my head.
He was ready to leave at nine. The smile on his face as he took my day-bag from me was friendly enough, but for an instant I thought I saw a carnivorous gleam in those dark eyes, that sent a small shiver scurrying down my spine. I told myself that it was my imagination running riot because my disturbed sleep.
My Lunch has just arrived…..with the sliced avocado. I’m famished. Hope they have some chocolate iced cream.