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Lazarus (standard:other, 3096 words)
Author: Andrew RAdded: Jun 10 2002Views/Reads: 1755/1047Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Ever passed someone in the street you thought you knew. Nick is waiting for his fience who is late again, someone passes the window of the cafe, was that Rosina?


By Andrew Rough 

The Café Anselim, Hendon.  It's an old Parisian style coffee house,
without even the smallest hint of multinational starbuck.  Cast iron 
tables with mahogany tops adorn the roadside; the general smog of the 
chain smoking clientele creates a minor disturbance in the atmosphere.  
Nobody sits outside today, the weather has just shifted cold and the 
first flecks of the oncoming downpour have begun. 

George and Merlo sit at their regular window side table, the chessboard
the centrepiece and a draw to my eye for the last fifteen minutes.  The 
waiter Henry (said with a French accent) drops another large espresso 
at my table, efficiently swapping the dirty ashtray for a clean one; he 
turns without comment and returns to lovingly polishing the chrome 
mechanics of his coffee machine.  I glance at my watch, slightly 
annoyed that Rosina is late again, then return to watching the chess 

Merlo is looking smug, he chuckles at George as he is on the point of
moving his queen, and "Do that if you think my old friend, please do." 
George studies his friend with a thoughtful look, a sly smile cracks 
across his face, "You do this every time Merlo, you try and psyche me 
out.  You know what that tells me?"  Merlo adopts an innocent lost 
school boy face, "It tells me that your panicking and your about to 
loose." Merlo laughs out loud at George, "and you my friend fall for my 
games every time, you think I'm on the run when really your falling 
into my trap." 

They go through this ritual every time they play chess.  Both men look
ancient, I'm not even sure which century they were born in.  I think 
George may be one of those unlucky people who has spent more of his 
life being a pensioner than anything else.  He comes here every day, 
and when Merlo is visiting his sick daughter at St George's, he 
philosophises about the 'good old days.'  The funny thing is he was in 
Auschwitz, Henry told me, so I can't see why he would want to reflect 
positively on the past. 

Fixating on the odd couples chess game is just my way of killing time. 
I keep glancing at my watch because Rosina still hasn't turned up; she 
is twenty minutes late now.  I would be willing to forgive her but I 
know she's at the Synagogue, which is literally around the corner.  
Since we got engaged she seems to have developed an unhealthy obsession 
with preying.  I know she is hanging around gossiping with the old 
women rather than meeting me.  She knows how much lateness winds me up 
and that's why she does it, she's a woman of passion and loves nothing 
more than a good argument as a precursor to love making.  She knows 
exactly which buttons to press to get the required response from me, I 
know this about myself and it annoys me.  Rosina knows this too and it 
delights her. 

Twenty minutes and two espressos later I get up to buy some more
cigarettes.  The heavens have awoken now with a mother of down pours.  
The odd couple and Henry are staring reflectively out of the window, 
the drumming of the raindrops on the window hypnotising them and 
opening some secret inner window in which they peer, faces blank and 
unfocussed.  Henry's cigarette machine is empty; I am going to have to 
brave the storm, "Shit," I see someone running from around the corner, 

Instead of running into the café she speeds past the window and
continues down the road.  I dash outside, all thoughts of the weather 
evaporated. "Rosina! Stop!"  The woman I think is Rosina carries on 
running without looking back.  The rain is falling pretty quickly now 
and puddles are forming quickly, the road looks like it is a boiling 
river of black lava.  I run down the street, chasing after her. 

She turns another corner and I loose sight of her as I give chase.  The
rain is falling so heavily that my leather jacket is beginning to leak. 
 I'm soaked through in under three minutes.  If I were running with 
Rosina, hurrying to get dry, I would probably be enjoying myself.  The 
anticipation of stripping off and warming up with her in front of the 
fire would be getting me aroused even as we ran.  Right now I am 
feeling frustrated because I am wet and chasing a woman who might not 

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