This short story was the result of a task where writers were given a title (in this case “The Diner”) and asked to write a story within a specified word count. It was a great exercise in creativity and also my first attempt at writing something with a twist. It got some quite good reviews and I’m placing it here today because it came to mind through the week, and…well…just enjoy.
On such a pleasantly mild evening, it seemed almost sinful to dine indoors and Genevieve lingered before the open window, gazing out at nothing really as she breathed deeply of the floral green fragrance of the early spring dusk. She sighed inwardly and then flinched when the family clatter became too loud, fracturing her reverie and snapping her back into the room.
In the background a small voice whined that it didn’t like peas while another griped about having to set the table and Genevieve knew she had to take a break, if only for a little while. She moved away from the window and turned toward the door. “I’m going out” she called “but I won’t be too long. Don’t hold dinner for me though, I’ll get something while I’m gone.” She wasn’t sure if anyone had really heard or even if they’d notice immediately that she’d gone but Genevieve dismissed it all as she slipped quietly out into the twilight.
She was hungry and excited by the prospect of dining alfresco on such a beautiful evening and looking forward to a leisurely repast with just her own thoughts for company. The hustle and noise of her family had become difficult to deal with of late and she needed some space, even if it was only for a short time. She thought briefly of her own babies; an unplanned pregnancy that had resulted in twins and while she loved them and her family had been so supportive, Genevieve sometimes longed for those days when life was less complicated. The twins were well sated though and fast asleep but she knew her family would see to them if they woke.
The cobbled lane lead her away, a pretty by-way flanked with thick leafy trees that arched overhead, providing cool green shade for the traveler through the hot months of Summer. But now, in the early evening, the moonlight trickled through the canopy, splashing her path with silver and Genevieve was eager to reach her destination. The quail was superb and the fish a delight and she tried to decide on which she’d dine as she stepped lightly along the cobbled way.
On arrival she could smell the quail and so it was decided. She didn’t have to wait long for her meal either which was one of the things she loved about this place. Not for her the long wait for dinner to finally arrive. It was so peaceful and as she slowly savored every mouthful she looked out onto the ferns and the pond that nestled just below the natural stone terrace. It was such a lovely place and she’d missed it over the last months.
She was feeling at peace until an unbidden sadness intruded upon her thoughts, an old sadness, but no less poignant for that and Genevieve found herself remembering when she had come here with her lover. A dangerously handsome wanderer but she had been smitten with his song and his long dark hair and his compelling eyes of deep green flecked with gold. It should never have been but she felt powerless to resist the desires he had invoked in her. Theirs had been a swift wild passion that had burned as brightly as the sun…and then he was gone. Genevieve had hidden her grief from her family and then, not long after, had felt the first flickers of the new life within her. When her body began to swell her family had guessed but did not turn her out or speak harshly to her and when her time was upon her she endured the birth in silence and there was never any talk that she would have to give her babies up. Of their father’s whereabouts she knew nothing, but her sons had inherited his dark gypsy looks.
The veil of night was closing in quickly now and she knew she should be heading? home, yet she lingered a little longer on the terrace and let the memories touch her once more before finally setting them free and as they left her, she sent a farewell in their wake and wished them god-speed, a small part of her hoping they may find the wanderer and whisper something of her to his soul, if only fleetingly, before slipping forever away.
But she had been right to come out tonight for her spirits felt lighter than they had in a very long time. However it was time to leave.
It was now full dark? and Genevieve, having daintily licked her paws and washed her face, stood and fluffed out her thick golden fur. The night was still young but she took her leave of the glade and moved swiftly back along the cobbled lane. All felt well in her world and she was eager to return to her kittens.