40 Years

by Russ

‘You can stop looking so pleased with yourself,’ Lynn scolded the idiot opposite while internally chastising herself for being so in love with him.

‘What do you mean?’ deflected the volcano of frustration, lifting an extravagantly accessorised drink and gesturing towards the palm leaves and plastic flowers which adorned the walls. Phil wore an eye-straining Hawaiian shirt, knee-length Bermuda shorts, and a shit-eating grin. ‘Is this not exotic enough?’

Lynn raised both eyebrows.

‘There’s no pleasing you,’ Phil shook his sombrero with a smile. ‘I bring you to a lovely place, get us some fancy cocktails, and splash out on freshly cooked fruits de la mer…’

‘That,’ Lynn cut him off, jabbing a finger at the dish which had just been identified with an indistinct European accent, ‘is scampi and chips. That,’ moving her pointer to the drink, ‘is a pint of mild with an umbrella in it. And this,’ raising an index finger into the air,’ is the games room of the George and fucking Dragon.’

‘See,’ Phil leapt in, cocking a thumb at the coin-operated table which had been shoved into a corner to make space for them to dine. ‘It’s even got a pool.’

Lynn stabbed a fork into one of the breaded prawns as though it had wronged her.

‘When you said you’d take us somewhere exotic for our anniversary,’ Lynn said, trying to find the right spot between disappointed and entitled. ‘I didn’t expect Barbados, but I thought we might make it at least as far as Barcelona,’ she shoved the fried fish ball into her mouth before mumbling around it. ‘I might have even settled for Blackpool.’

Phil felt a sudden laugh swelling inside and took a gulp of drink to flush it away, resulting in a noise that fell somewhere between belch and hiccup. Lynn swallowed the scampi and washed it down with a mouthful of tackily-decorated cider.

‘Forty years, love.’ Lynn stressed, feeling the moisture in her eyes and becoming aware of the slight whine in her tone. ‘It’s a big one!’

Phil tread carefully, the last thing he wanted was for this to tip into a row. He reached across the table and took Lynn’s hands in his; she still held her knife and fork, raised like lightning rods either side of her plate.

‘I know you deserve more,’ Phil looked sincerely into Lynn’s eyes, caressing the tops of her wrists with his thumbs. ‘But until those slackers at the lottery office get on with pulling our numbers out, we have to make the best of what we have.’

Lynn shrank into her plastic seat. She knew they weren’t wealthy, but she had thought… maybe?

‘Shall I get these filled up? ‘ Phil asked, picking up their garnished glasses and motioning to stand. Lynn nodded meekly as he walked away, smiling to himself, heart beating against the tickets in his garish shirt pocket. ‘Bora Bora,’ he thought. ‘She’ll never believe it!’