Simi could not take her eyes off Katania’s hair. Blonde? Or fake blonde? Usually she could tell the fakes from across a room, but this time she was not sure.
“May I get you ladies some more coffee?”
Simi turned to see Innocence just behind her.
“Perfect timing. Strong and black please,” said Simi.
“Of course,” said Innocence.
“A cappuccino for me,” said Katania, her grooming complete.
“I’ll bring those over.”
Katania placed both palms flat on the table, fingers drumming, while Simi picked up her fork again and pulled off another wedge of pancake. She ate it slowly, then pushed the plate to one side. The pancake was cold now, slightly rubbery, and her appetite gone.
“The thing is,” Katania said “the priest really impressed me. Tall. Handsome. Collared shirt. Who cares if we don’t know him. Jen gets these things so wrong. Getting a priest now is like calling in the plumber or something.”
“Calling in a plumber!” Simi, choked on the last of her pancake. She slapped herself on her chest, until her coughing stopped. “Getting a priest to marry you is not like calling in a plumber.”
“Well …” Simi stared at Katania. “You’re not serious are you?”
“Oh I am,” she said, smiling, and leant back again, her fingers running through her hair once more, first one hand, and then the other.
Shocked, Simi watched in silence. She barely noticed Innocence when he appeared with the coffees.
“Thanks,” she said automatically, and stirred in some sugar, her brain blank. She raised her cup, held it in both hands, elbows on the table, and watched Katania over the rim.
“I had to use all my charm to get the priest to agree. He was very happy when he heard that they’re actually married – properly married. Whatever that is.”
There was a brief silence, then Simi cleared her throat.
“Well, whatever you think of priests, and of this priest, whoever he is, choosing him … it’s not really your choice, is it?” She lowered her cup back on to its saucer, her eyes never leaving Katania. “Surely this decision is up to Jen and Hansie, and the priest?”
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023