Cora restaurants are hiring, be part of the team!
June 16, 2024

A shameless tigress

Here we go! I’ve finally decided to write fiction. I’ve been toying with the idea for a few months now. Will I be able to pull it off? To create a plot from scratch; maybe a love story with sufficient events and facts to spin a brief tale. A short story, as real novelists call it. I’ve always dreamed of becoming a best-selling author, but where should I begin? I read somewhere that “if it weren’t for mountains to climb, we’d never enjoy the view from the top.” So true! If I go on this adventure, I’ll need a giant eagle to help me ascend.

I muse about an idea, search for a thread, a story that’s part fact, part fiction perhaps. And VOILÀ! The idea comes to me! A new friend has been hanging around at the coffee shop where I write. The man, older and still good looking, loves to drink lattes and clearly appreciates our circle of friends. The day before yesterday, he divulged a miserable tale of love to us.

Typing away on my iPad, I listened as he talked about a certain beauty that he had under his skin. Heavens! Could I take this story and embellish it? Disfigure it? I know almost nothing about love and physical attachment, so I had to ask my friend Google to tell me more about the expression “I’ve got you under my skin.” Popularized in a 1936 song by Cole Porter, it means to be so madly in love with someone that it’s as if they’re a part of you.

Google also informs me about the pleasures of the flesh, the ones that are only ever partially forgiven. Eating to excess, gorging oneself, swallowing the sea and all its fish. I wait and despair; I don’t know who to pray to. Maybe love is the worst possible topic for a Sunday letter in my case? After all, what do I know about love? I’ve never loved enough to lose my mind!

Tonight, as I sit at my kitchen table, I implore the white page in front of me with a wavering heart, a few ideas scattered about me. I’m terrified I won’t be up to the task. My fingers are typing in mid-air, I hear a wall crack, darkness surrounds me and traps me in a cage. Will I find a crevice through which I can enter this story of the shameless tigress?

He fell madly in love the first time he saw her. This quiet man left his wife, his children, his home and his social standing for this woman. Grave mistake! He quickly discovered that she was a seductress, a resourceful and grumpy woman with little virtue. But this man loved her and forgave all her shortcomings. Brought up in a disreputable family, she admired all the great thieves and worst scoundrels. Small unpaid debts, here, petty thefts there – she relentlessly exploited the system to her advantage.

The other morning, the unfortunate man made us laugh out loud. He recounted that his buddies jostled each other to catch a glimpse of his sweetheart. Orphaned at a very young age, this dolled-up force of nature was in full control of her universe. She bargained, haggled and stole all she could without ever getting caught. The missus’ favourite past-time was shopping, and she dedicated herself to it almost daily. Dining in five-star restaurants, her beauty proved a useful charm when she “accidentally” forgot to pay.

Believe it or not, this mismatched couple lived together for 25 long years. A cruise in the Greek Islands, trips down south, gold rings, diamond necklaces, gondola rides in Venice, a climb up Mount Fuji… What she desired, my friend gave her, all out of love. The woman’s extraordinary blue eyes had him bewitched. That’s what those around him thought.

Now older, isolated, scorned and abandoned, he opened up to our group of friends for the first time at the coffee shop this week. He unpacked his frustrations, his idiocy and his terrible grief of ending up alone. Yes, the heartless chick plucked him to his very last dime!

Once more, I realize that fiction is often less tragic than reality.