That evening as she reached the shore she realized her dress was not proper. She was wearing a skirt and also shoes. But then she had thought they would be going out – why had she worn the shoes?
The keys felt solid, she pressed them hard as she crossed the road back to her hotel. The sky was a mild blue and a mild grey and she could still hear the waves over the playing children as she walked through the park.
Did she like children? Not particularly. She thought them to be too daft. Look at them so happy, she often said, revering in ignored bliss. Look at us, she often thought, suffering in named miseries. If it changed for them, she never asked, would it change for us too?
The man had stepped on her long skirt.
She muttered him a pardon as he stepped ahead on the staircase.
Would you like to sit with me on the terrace, he said, without looking back.
The coffee here is excellent, as you already probably know, you are staying here I see, the keys in your hand, your skirt is very fine, I am so sorry I stepped on it.
Still two steps behind him she heard all that he had said, slightly amused at the distance in their conversation. But if he was not willing to step down, she was not willing to step up. She liked his thin profile. She liked how he was talking to her – two steps ahead like a man, a polite demand in his plea. But he was short, too short. She had never liked short men; she had never liked men shorter than her.
She opened the door and entered her room. She removed her shoe and laced her feet into a pretty blue. He was sitting outside in the terrace at a table for two. Beyond him she could see the sea, she could still hear it.
A man in brown brushed past her and stood outside her locked room. She could see another man in brown at the staircase. She could also see him looking at her from the terrace. She looked at her blue feet. A man on the beach had offered to walk her to her room. She had declined. He had also asked her to get rid of her shoes.
You are right, the coffee here is excellent.
I knew you would agree.
She smiled at him as he ordered the coffee. She could see the men in brown still standing outside her room.
I see that you have left you shoes behind.
Yes I indeed have, do you like what I am wearing now?
Oh, I like the blue way better than the brown.