I hear the ringing of the doorbell as I’m talking to myself in the mirror making sure that my face looks presentable. I light a few candles on the way through the dining room and answer the door. Henry. Yes, it’s Henry.
He’s brought flowers. Of course. It clashes with the dress. Maybe I should change. He kisses me on the side of the cheek and takes his shoes off. He’s wearing odd socks. He apologises. I say I don’t mind, and laugh. Not too much though. Don’t want to make a scene. I tell him dinner is almost ready. Fish and other bits and pieces. He politely says its perfect.
I wonder if he wants wine. Does he want wine? I don’t know. I don’t want to seem to forward. He smiles. A little awkwardly. I do too. Maybe a slight giggle. In all the kerfuffle of facial expressions, I open the wine anyway and pour us both a glass. He says he’s not a big drinker, but oh why not? We clink glasses and take a sip.
The timer bings on the cooker. I excuse myself back to the kitchen as Henry looks through my books. He asks me if I enjoyed War and Peace – what I thought of it.
I’m pulling the fish out of the oven to rest and soak up all the juices, trying to recall some favourite quotes from the book, when he brings it through. He’s finished his glass of wine already. He says can he have another – that it tastes like juice. That the food looks delicious. That I’ve got a nice face.
I tell him to sit at the dining table and that I’ll bring it through. His socks clash. The flowers clash my dress. I should change.
I put the wine on the table for him and tell him I’m going to powder my nose.