Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Stories from Le Bar Marchè,, Closing time
Laurent went round his tables wiping them down and stacking up the chairs. He always enjoyed market day in the summer. The colourful clothes the tourists wore, the bright colours of the drinks they ordered,cassis, menthe, citron,, the hum of the different languages as they reached his ears,the air of excitement and expectancy that came with people on holiday, he drank it all in and felt like he'd been on a journey. He was tired now and looking forward to going home. He loved living on his own. he loved the feeling of walking into an empty flat, knowing there would be no surprises. He would find it just as clean and tidy as when he left it.He had thought of getting a cat though, that might be nice. Cats are good at looking after themselves and being on their own, like him. Only Karim was still sitting at his table. He always stayed till closing time on market day. Laurent patted him on the shoulder as he walked passed him. Karim smiled and raised his hand in a salute. They never said much to each other but a close observer would see how much they meant to each other, would feel the bond that linked them. Karim was like a guardian angel for Laurent. Some years ago when she was a newly trained doctor, Karim's daughter had been sent by the school to check on Laurent's brother who had been absent without notification. She had assessed the situation with an intuition beyond her years. Within no time at all Laurent's father was in a special clinic, being looked after . She then found his mother a job in her parent's cafe giving her days a structure that they had never had and making her eat properly.Laurent and his brother had been sent to the local priests where his brother flourished, passing his Bac and going on to qualify as a teacher. It was too late for Laurent he had too many scars but he was happy with his job as a waiter at the Bar Marchè.. Both his parents were now living in assisted accommodation.. Nurses and carers were on hand to look after them as needed. There was a restaurant for visitors and once a month Laurent shared a meal with them. They didn't talk much but it was enough for Laurent that they could look like a normal family, at least to outsiders. Laurent felt he could never repay Karim and his daughter.