Saturday, October 01, 2011


Twenty-five years and more ago, there were two Italian restaurants in Church Street, Cardiff, opposite each other, looking equally attractive. I had no reason to choose one rather than the other, but I am no Buradan's Ass, so I just picked one, the one on the right. It was ok, and the raven-haired young waitress who served me was most attentive and chatty. As I was paying the bill, she whispered "The restaurant opposite is better than this one."
Over the next two-three years, I having regular business in South Wales, I visited "the restaurant opposite" many times, and as often as not, my young informant joined me for a meal. It was a loving, but non-sexual relationship, something like uncle and niece. She was one of the nicest, funniest, brightest, dottiest, and prettiest, dinner companions I could have asked for.
Twenty-five years later - last Wednesday to be exact - I got up at ten to three in the morning and drove to Stansted Airport so that I could have a cup of coffee and a chat with my long-lost Cardiff dinner companion before she caught her seven a m flight back to Turin.
Sonia is fifty now, but to me hasn't changed a bit, except for perhaps being more worldy-wise.
We met, we hugged, we sat, we chatted, and it was as if the intervening twenty-five years had just melted away. Isn't it wonderful when that happens?  Sonia is long divorced, lives with her two grown-up daughters, works as an ambulance nurse, writes poetry, is in love with a doctor (though she calls it "just flirting") and yet, bless her, still has time for me. I am a very lucky man.

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