Contemporary Romance / Metaphysical Fiction
Date Published: 12/22/18
For just a few, brief days on the Pacific Crest Trail, Matt Murphy fell in love and came to understand what was really important in life – until the woman he fell in love with died.
Where that left him, Matt couldn’t know. His only recourse would be to meet the man who had first married his love and understand what that love had meant to him.
The results of which could change Matt’s life forever…
Matt was so hungry he didn’t consider if his phone was ready. He was ready to face the music at La Blithesome Listhe if it also meant facing breakfast.
He wasn’t inside for two minutes before he noticed people looking at him, giving those sideward glances that people give when they don’t want to be seen looking. They were probably already talking about him in the kitchen. The waitress who sat them at a table did not appear to recognize Matt and he didn’t recognize her, either. Truth be told, he didn’t recognize too many people. He wasn’t particularly good with faces.
But as he perused the menu, a face he recognized very well came strolling in his direction from the farthest end of the restaurant. Annias Listhe, Diva’s old boss and owner of La Blithesome Listhe. Still dressing like she’s a burlesque dancer, Matt thought, although the days when she could pull it off were far behind her.
When Annias flashed Matt a smile, Matt smiled back at her. After all, despite her many quirks, Annias had always been good to Diva and, by extension, to Matt as well. “Mister Diva Murphy,” Annias announced, which was so typical of her Matt barely batted an eye. “How wonderful to see you back in these four walls.”
Hardly four walls, Matt thought as he said, “I’m sorry it has been so long, Annias. I just – ”
“No. No,” Annias told him. “No need for explanation. You’ve had a difficult year, Matthew. I understand. It’s just wonderful to see you again. We miss your Diva, our Diva, so very much.”
Her graciousness left Matt feeling a little like a schmuck. He stood up so they could embrace – he did his best not to breathe in her perfume bath – and Matt offered, “She made the best scones in the world. I only hope you found someone as good.”
“Well,” Annias replied, stepping out of their embrace, “our Baxwell is no Diva but he does have his charms.”
“I’m sorry. Did you say Maxwell?”
“Baxwell,” Annias corrected.
“Baxwell,” Eric repeated from his seat, speaking as though Matt was the jerk. Little did he realize that Matt was about to say “Back sweat.”
“Exactly so,” Annias complemented. “Who is your friend, Matthew?”
“Name’s Eric,” Eric offered, his hand outstretched.
Annias took it. “Charmed,” she told him. “Now, you two boys order whatever you like and don’t worry about anything. You’re like family, Matthew. You should know that.”
“Thanks, Annias,” Matt said, and he meant it. He felt like an idiot showing up after all this time but Annias was the perfect host. After she walked away, Matt sat down at the table. “That woman has always given me the creeps,” he said to Eric, leaning forward so he could speak softly. “She’s nice enough but I don’t think she’d recognize an authentic moment if it choked on her perfume.”
“She’s okay,” Eric chided. “Besides, she did offer to pick up breakfast. Let’s see what kind of damage we can do.”
Matt lifted an eyebrow as Eric dived into the menu, waiting for the moment that he was sure would come when… Wait. There it was. Eric’s face went from pleased to perplexed to downright embarrassed.
“What is all this?” Eric asked.
“High class food,” Matt confided. “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.” He called the waitress over and said, “Can we get two coffees – just coffee – with cream and sugar. Some orange juice. A couple croissant. Some melon, whatever you have that’s in season. And a couple of danishes, if you have them?”
As the waitress walked away, Matt saw the disappointment on Eric’s face. “What?” he asked. “It’s called a continental breakfast. We’ll pick you up a McMuffin later on.”
“Okay,” Eric said. “But only if you promise.”
About the Author
Author and occasional philosopher and monologist, Ken La Salle’s passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given his writing a progressive and environmentalist view. You can find a growing number of his books and performances available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.