Nov 21, 2013
the Tale of Liam and Lorelei
Half asleep I stumbled on to the bus, and flashed my Metro pass at the driver, still unaware of what the day had in store for me. I was an optimist though, so you know positive thoughts, positive results. Maybe, just maybe today would be the day “he” noticed me. I found a seat and glanced around at the usual Monday to Friday crowd I had become accustomed to seeing each day on my route to work. Nameless souls, whom my small town self could not reconcile to that fact. I’d been raised in a town where if you locked yourself behind a closed door and sneezed at midnight, there would be dozens of polite enquires the next day asking how your cold was or if your allergies were flaring up again. I smiled at the thought. So in an effort to give these people more colour and meaning I would paint my own canvases of who they were and what their lives were like in my thoughts as I journeyed to work each day. There were the “Mario Brothers” as I had dubbed them, two paunchy little older Italian men, clutching their battered lunch boxes, loving packed and brimming with a scrumptious feast by wives of thirty plus years. Laughing and joking about the bambinos in the family, the latest soccer matches, and gesturing wildly with their hands, as only the Italians seemed able to master the entire time.
Then there was Negative Nelly, I swear that woman never had a kind thing to say, and you couldn’t help but hear her with the shrewish pitch of her voice, single and staying that way I well imagined. Her seat mate the Mouse, sitting quietly and listening yet seemingly disinterested, valiantly trying to be attentive and nodding and chipping in softly now and again with a “oh yes indeed”. I wondered what had caused her to become so compliant and cowed by this wretched creature beside her. A bullying co worker perhaps? There was the Librarian, a conservative looking woman of a certain age, in her high necked blouse, pinstriped skirt and sensible shoes, her nose forever buried in a book. I happened to glance at the title on one occasion, surprised to see she had fallen into the hype and was reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I had to smile inwardly, well I guess we all have our little secrets from the world don’t we? Never judge a book by its cover, even in the case of those staid looking literary ladies. The Madonna sat so serene and calm even when the child she carried in the snuggly against her breast was wailing, she would only smile and coo softly at the chubby little bundle wrapped in blue and thus lulled him back into a dream land , his little face blissful once more.
There was the gaggle of school girls the Breakfast Club as I deemed them. In their matching navy uniforms but trying to be oh so independent and distinctive by the streaks of purple and pink in their hair, that I somehow felt certain was the bane of their parent’s existence. They chattered animatedly like magpies, and teased each other of crushes, and how stodgy Madame Duckworth the French teacher was, and cute Mr. Braverman the science teacher was, and the nerve of that cow Miss Pringle springing a quiz on them in history. Ah yes, I remember those days of my youth, all too well myself. Einstein always amused me with his disheveled hair style and the utter lack of distain for fashionable clothing. Comfy and rumbled, and usually dozing off, often catching himself when he began to snore, his head jerking upright and a startled look on his face as if to say where the blazes am I now and how on earth did I get here? It’s all a matter of relativity, he seemed to reason before drifting off into a slumber once more.
I checked my wrist watch and glanced out the window, sure enough we are on schedule. No, I wasn’t referring to the fact that I’ll make my next connections and be at work on time, it was a much more special connection than that. Soon the bus would come to a stop and the door to the bus that seemed so ordinary and mundane to others would be transformed to a magic portal, and through that opening the most perfect being in the world would alight. My logical mind knew it was only a door and he was only a man, but my quickening pulse, and heart told me that this man was special, magical. In my mind’s eye he was as god like as any of the ancient Greek, Roman, Norse or Celtic gods of lore. He was a man with a most regal and commanding presence yet at the same time he was a humble man with kind eyes and I just knew he had the heart to back them up.
Dreams of this man often occupied my thoughts throughout my days and nights. Barefoot walks along moonlit beaches hand in hand, stopping only for lingering kisses that began as delicately as the wing of a butterfly brushing against your lips and deepening in intensity and desire. Arms linked, as we walked through the park on an autumn day, kicking at the piles of leaves on the ground, sniffing the crisp air that only autumn can bring, and sharing smiles and laughter over little inside jokes as only lovers can. Building a snowman, and gently teasing each other if we should name him Parson Brown, then going home and lighting a fire in the hearth and snuggling into each other, and knowing what a perfect fit that we were for one another. Tenderly planting seeds in our small garden together, feeling the earth on our hands, and the sun on our faces, and knowing that we be both would be enjoying the fruits of our l labours both then and in the months to come. Just to be in the same room as him and be reading the paper, separated but still joined together by an invisible thread Looking up and realizing he was watching me silently and just being happy in the fact that of anyone in the world I choose to be near, and I was his and belonged to him and with him heart, body and soul. The stolen moments ….”ST. CLAIR” bellowed out the driver, breaking my reverie and snapping me back to the here and now.
I willed him to be on time, with every fibre of my being. The “HE” I was willing to appear was none other than the man I had come to jokingly refer to as the “Future Father of My Children.” Of course he didn’t know that, at least not yet, not did anyone else for that matter with the possible exception of my orange tomcat named Barclay. Thankfully Barclay was a saint in the fact that he could and would hold his tongue and keep a secret. He was beyond handsome to me, and I thanked his parents whoever they might be for coming together and creating this magnificent piece of perfection. It wasn’t just his outward appearance that had drawn me towards him, like a magnet towards steel. It was what I sensed was beneath the surface that gave him that ethereal aura. Eyes are said to be the windows of the soul and his seemed to sparkle and say “All right world give me your best shot, game on.” The crease around his eyes would crinkle in an endearing manner as well when he laughed.
He exchanged pleasantries with the bus driver as he boarded the bus and flashed his Metropass. He seemed like a stand up sort of a guy, you know the type, helped elderly people on the bus with parcels, helped harried mothers with strollers, gave up his seat to the infirm, just an nice thoughtful sort. Also if I’m honest, I wasn’t immune to the way in which he wore his jeans, moulded snuggly to him in all the right places. My thoughts were broken, and the magical trance I was in ended for the time being, as we were pulling into Bathurst Station, and it was time to gather my belongings and head down into the subway a bit like a mole heading into its hole. I followed him off the bus but then quickly lost sight of him as I rushed with the rest of the crowds down crowded escalators towards the trains. One pulled in immediately and I quickly stepped on and headed off to Spadina Station where I would disembark and change to another bus route. I disembarked when I reached Kensington Market and trotted off towards the little bakery I was employed at.
It was cozy inside the shop, the intoxicating scent of freshly baked loaves of crusty Italian bread greeting my nostrils as I sniffed the air appreciatively. Mingled with the sounds of mixers humming away, and knives tapping on wooden table tops, it was a cheery environment. I could hear the booming voice of Mr. Morelli the owner as I pushed the door open to the back of the house where the bakery was and his hearty laughter which was contagious. I smiled as I entered and was greeted with “Bella, so good to see you my dear, and how is my girl today?” I’m good Mr. Morelli, I smiled at him, as I walked to the change room. Bella was his little pet name for me and I was cool with it as long as he continued to issue me my paycheques under my legal one, as banks are so fussy about little details like that. I buttoned on my white chef’s jacket, and put the apron around my neck, and tied it securely around my waist, pulled on my baseball cap with the Morelli’s bakery logo on it. Then I was ready to start my day in earnest. Where to you want me to start today I inquired of the boss man himself. He quickly gave me a list of tasks to complete, decorate the cups cakes for an order for a sweet sixteen party that were for an 11am pickup, but first finish putting out the trays of Italian cookies, meringues and other house specialties in the display cases before our opening at 9. I happily set to work.
In between my exits and entrances between the front and the back of the house there was good natured banter between our own little family we had formed over the years. As I plucked cookies off the cooling racks and arranged them in neatly percisioned rows on display trays. Mr. Morelli started one of his favourite topics “Bella you’re a sweet girl, why you no, find a nice young man and settle down, raise some bambinos, then you bring them by to see their Nono Angelo?” He would enquire of me for the umpteenth time it seemed. I was saved from answering by the arrival of his wife Gina a plump little woman, with greying hair and warm brown eyes that revealed what a sage soul she was. “Angelo, leave the girl alone” she chided him affectionately “maybe that’s not what her dream is, and if it is, then she’ll find him all in good time in her own way, with no help from you my dear husband.” I silently thanked my lucky stars for having dodged that discussion, and was relieved when Mrs. Morelli asked if I’d watch the front of the shop for here for a few minutes while she ran around the corner to the bank to pick up some change for the till. Sure thing I smiled, as she disappeared out the door.
Moments later the bell to the shop chimed and I bustled out front quickly to attend to our first customer of the day. A tray of cookies balanced on my hand and held high over my shoulder as I entered. I must have looked as startled as deer in headlights who didn’t know where to turn and my powers of speech seemed to fail me suddenly. I wanted to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming or hallucinating. But no I was wide awake, and it was none other than the Future Father of My Children. I scolded myself inwardly and actually audibly squeaked out “oh my stars and garters”, and instantaneously felt the colour rising in my cheeks. I ducked and slid the tray of cookies into the glassed in display case, hoping my ever reddening cheeks wouldn’t betray me. He just smiled charmingly and responded with a very courteous “I beg your pardon, miss?’ Trying to gather my wits about me and maintain a sense of professional decorum, I mentally tried to shift gears “Er sorry, sir”, floundering like a freshly caught fish flopping on the dock. “Just practicing my Italian” I murmured before getting my act together enough to deliver a coherent sentence. “Good morning, and welcome to Morelli’s” I couldn’t seem to fathom a time I had been more flustered. Heaven help me if he could read my mind. The countless hours I had spent dreaming of our life together, gentle tender times, laughter filled joys, and even intimate passions, which always left us panting for breathe and lying cradled together, holding on to one another never wanting it to end.
Suddenly feeling very vulnerable, I inwardly quaked, oh why oh why do floors never conveniently open up and swallow you whole when you need them to, I wretchedly thought.
This is sheer torture, having him so close and not being able to tell him all the things I harbour in my heart for him, all my dreams I have for our future together. I want to touch him so badly, to run my fingers lightly along his jawline before I kiss him tenderly, sweetly, with such devotion. To feel him envelop me in the safety and warmth of his arms, to cradle him back in my own loving embrace. I wanted to become one with him, to hold him and cherish him forever. What had seemed to be an eternity was in reality just moments in time. I felt euphoric and yet oh so vulnerable as though I were standing there naked on display for him. Is this what a sacrificial virgin feels like I pondered? “Are you alright miss”, he gently probed, genuine concern registering on his handsome face. “Oh I’m fine thank you”, …………..my words dropped off. I wiped some imaginary flour off my apron, “now what is that I can help you with today sir?” “A few pastries as a special treat for some co-workers of mine, are there any recommendations you’d make” he asks casually. It causes me to sigh, thank heavens he doesn’t think I’m stark raving mad, and if he does he’s too much of a gentleman to say so. I suddenly felt very at ease with him as we discussed the various merits of biscotti, napoleon slices, tiramisu and the like.
The time we were sharing together drew far too quickly to a close as he made his selections, and I boxed them, then brought them to the till as he settled his bill with me. His hands connected with mine as he placed the bills for payment in them, and an electric surge pulsed through my body like none I had ever known. I’m going to faint I thought grabbing the counters edge to steady myself. Get a grip on yourself woman I told myself, he can’t read your mind, and he more than likely just thinks your some flakey little shop assistant, and thus are a source of amusement for him. I bid him farewell just as Mrs Morelli came flying in the door from her quick jaunt to the bank. “Please come again” I called out to him, longing to hear his voice once more before he walked away and disappeared amongst the crowds on the streets, and left my view yet again. “You can count on it.” he said smiling and turning to leave, bidding the two of us a cheery farewell as he did so.
Mrs. Morelli dropped the bag of coins and small bills on the counter by the till and slipped off her jacket, and folded it over her arm, and started towards the back cloakroom. Then she stopped and seemed to study me intently. A soft smile crossed her lips, and blossomed into a broad grin “your secret is safe with me Bella” Pardon????, I was genuinely puzzled. She patted her hand on my cheek in a motherly sort of way and then gave it a gentle pinch, “it is as plain to me as reading a story book to one of my grandchildren, you care about that man, and I’d say you’ve had those feeling for some time now unless I miss my guess. Now you just have to tell him that, and give him the chance to share all you have to offer him.” She said it so plainly and matter of fact as if the issue were simple, uncomplicated and settled. She continued to the back to hang her jacket, and left me to let her words sink in.
I still to this day have no clue as to how I managed to get through the rest of my work day. I somehow had busied myself, finishing of decadent cakes, dipping cookies in chocolate and garnishing them with crushed nuts and cherries, piping the creamy centres into canollis , creating a spectacular wedding cake with oodles of creamy swirls of buttercream, and delicate piping. I refilled trays in the front, and waited on the odd customer or two when it was crowded and cramped in the little store, but it was as if I were on auto pilot, for my thoughts were very much still on him. How I wished I knew his name and that I could in fact tell him what I feared most, that I was hopelessly, deliciously falling in love with him. I finished cleaning up my work area leaving it as though no one had ever been there and it would ready when the night bakers came in to start their shifts in the wee hours of the morning. While they toiled I would be tucked in my bed snuggled under my duvet, Barclay curled up on my chest snoring away, as I dreamed of a future with “The Future Father of My Children.”
I pulled my apron off from my neck, and tossed it in the dirty laundry bin. I’d drop my chef’s jacket off after I changed. I needed a diversion of some sort after all that had happened today, and so I’d rang, my friend Matt during a brief break earlier in the day and left a message to see if he wanted to meet me at the “Public Library”, emphasis on the pub part, for a drink, maybe a little nosh and a couple of games of pool. He’d texted me back, that he’d meet me there about half six or so.
The Tale is continued, just click on the "chapters" button for more!
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