I groaned even before I opened my eyes I’ll admit it, Bloody Valentine’s day – Yay. So, we had to start early, pratting about with stupid roses and pathetic shiny hearts scattered on the table tops. They’d all have to be cleaned up later and we would have to do it because the cleaners had refused.
We all had to wear antlers – bloody antlers with sparkly heart shapes on em. I ask you what the hell have antlers got to do with sodding Valentine’s day – huh. Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Luigi had us all in for a staff talk before the lunch time service. “You are my link with the lovers – oh for Pete’s sake. My waiting staff are the ones who make the impression on my beautiful romantic customers, well I would have thought it was the free pudding and inclusive wine deal but, hey what do I know? You must smile, be so very, very nice to them, make the restaurant hum with love.” Hum with soddin love, he’s from Preston, Luigi, his name is really Les but he’s got so caught up in his pretend Italian background he makes me want to vomit. On he went “Make sure all of the candles are lit and the glasses are sparkling yadah yadah yadah and not a word of thanks to those of us who had taken an extra shift to help out.”
So, I thought of the extra cash and the red stiletto heels I was going to buy with the bonus, I gritted my teeth and I got on with it. It was every bit as ghastly as I thought it would be, simpering bloody girls giggling and crying and stupid arsed blokes looking smug, – Oh look at me aren’t I the cat’s pyjamas, I’m so cool, I remembered to make a booking three weeks in advance and with a bit of luck it means I’ll get my end away tonight. Pathetic.
That was until they came in. I saw one of the other girls jump to open the door, that was what attracted my attention. Two older people struggling with the heavy wood and glass. Milly showed them in and checked their names and took them to the table in the corner, one on my tables.
I grabbed the menus and gave them a minute to get themselves sorted, coats off, seats adjusted but they were making all sorts of fuss, that table is behind the pillar and I couldn’t see everything that was going on but something was. Yes, I admit it I sighed, great just my luck a high maintenance pair. Nothing to be done, think of the shoes, think of the shoes.
Well I took them the menus, they were holding hands and he was leaning over and kissing her on the cheek, and I mean they were old they must have been nearly fifty. I felt like making that fingers down the throat gesture but that would have lost me my job and I thought of the shoes!
So, I got there and by now he had picked up the freebie rose and kissed it and handed it to her and she was sniffing at it, oh bloody hell, think of the shoes, think of the shoes.
Then I saw, two Labradors under the table, well behaved, tucking themselves in out of the way, both wearing yellow harnesses. The bloke turned to me “Hi, could you be lovely and read the menu to us, do you mind? They were still holding hands, they were both smiling and then he said “It feels so lovely in here, you can feel the love in the air. It’s our big treat this we come every year it’s the anniversary of the day we met. Are you all wearing those silly antlers again? The waitress last year said they were giving her a headache.” I nodded and then realised that wouldn’t do it and so I just muttered
“Yeah, yeah sparkly antlers,” and I looked at her and at him, sitting there so – you know together somehow and so happy in spite of their problems. I poured them some water then I told ‘em, “The tables are set with white linens, the cutlery is the heavy silver stuff that we keep for special occasions and there are silver vases with red roses in each one.” There are little shiny hearts scattered on the tops.” I picked a couple up and gave them one each to hold, “there are vases of lilies in the corners, I expect you can smell those?” she nodded then,” The lights are very low and candles are stood on all the window ledges in red heart shaped holders, each table has a wine bucket with white wine chilling, Shall I pour yours now before I read the menu to you?” He nodded and reached out and just found my hand and squeezed it.
“Thank you, thank you so much. That’s the first time anyone has taken the time to tell us what it looks like. It sounds wonderful, you have made this so very special for us, bless you.” I think they enjoyed themselves. I even sneaked some chicken to the guide dogs.
Yeah, I got the shoes, they rubbed a blister on my toe