Story postcard – debating elegance (3)

Simi, heart tight with rage, watches Katania raise her coffee cup to her lips.

This woman. She shakes me up like popcorn. Sitting so special on her little mind throne.

Simi tears her eyes away and breathes in slowly. Fresh, sun-brushed air threads through her, cooling her. Shoulders back she fills her lungs again, letting the green soothe into her. Then she picks up her cup, and takes another sip, her eyes reaching over the rim and into the distance. She holds them there, firmly, trying to ignore Katania, but the new sugar in her tone draws her back.

“Such a tricky situation. Perhaps I sound a little harsh but Jen will come round. You’ll see. And, by the way, I am sorry Mick’s not here. I love him dearly, but with this new priest, I think it might be for the best. Now, if you’ll excuse me. I can’t sit around here all day waiting for Jen.”

Simi flicks her eyes back across the table and sees Katania getting to her feet. As she steps away, a voice trills over the grass.

“Simi … woo hoo … Simi!”

Simi turns with her cup still poised, to search out the voice. There, at the top of the steps to the golf course is Marybelle, in a big, floppy-brimmed staw hat. She is on her tiptoes and waving one arm in a wide, generous arc, back and forth across the sunshine.

“Good morning Simi – I hope you slept well!” she calls. “See you at the rehearsal … I’m off to do some yoga with our yoga guru. Catch you later!”

Like a sunflower thinks Simi, returning the wave, as Marybelle, one hand holding her hat in place and the other blowing kisses, descends the steps behind a bare-chested young man with long hair.

Katania’s voice chips over Simi’s shoulder. “No idea why those English like long hair. That’s the best man’s brother. Trust Marybelle to be hooked by every passing yoga guru … oh, hi Jen darling, hello Hansie.”

Simi swings around to see the couple pull up some chairs, while Katania takes back her old seat at the head of the table. Simi smiles but is barely noticed.

Right. This is probably my chance to get away.

“Jen says Mick can’t make it, is that right?”

“Don’t worry Hansie. I’ve found a solution. There’s a priest from London here, who seems perfect. He’ll be up soon to meet everyone.”

“Jen said.” Hansie nods, but his body does not relax.

As the silence tightens, Simi scans the golf course in the vague hope that Marybelle might suddenly abandon her yoga teacher. But there is no sign of her, so Simi finishes her coffee and stands up. She is about to explain that she is off to get her sunglasses, when she realises that she has become invisible in the standoff. Katania does not look at her, and Jen and Hansie, fingers entwined beneath the table, are too busy searching each other’s eyes for alternatives, to see her. Simi slips away quietly.

Good luck to them. Tied together, happy as a pair of laces.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

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