Over the rainbow
The Paned a Siarad group had been meeting in the same corner of the Cwch Coch for seven years three months and 8 weeks. Despite the flyers they never seemed to recruit any new members;the same stalwart group showed up every week without fail to speak Welsh for half an hour then get drunk in English for three.
Pete would come early to pile up some copies of Golwg and a hefty English-Welsh dictionary. He’d get the first round in. Gin for Margie, pint of bitter for Mike, and a bottle of red for him and Sam to grow red-faced over as the night progressed.
Margie was always first to arrive, squeezed into what must have been a fiercely uncomfortable corset under her blouse. Flesh squeezed from her waist reappeared about her person in the unlikeliest of places. Her sixty-a-day voice sang out loudly and made Pete jump, then he’d turn and kiss the air near her cheek and they'd sit and began in halting Welsh.
Then Mike would bumble in in a shabby gilet and crocs, dirt under his fingernails and the smell of a rainy afternoon about him.
“Beth wnest ti heddiw, Mike?” asked Pete, slowly
“Uh - wel, prynais i - uh. What's ‘Wheelbarrow’ Pete?”
“Berfa yw e”
“Prynais i berfa newydd”
And then, last of all, came Sam and Pete’s face would grow slightly pinker. He’d pour them each a glass of red and they’d toast one another with a slightly bashful smile.
Then they’d snap the moment in two with a cough or an awkward stammer and launch into conversations about favourite television programmes, hobbies, how they heated their houses, or where they had spent the summer. For the rest of the night, each was careful not to let the other catch him looking.
Tonight, though, Margie was on the rampage.
They were all more than a few glasses in by now and all thought of Welsh had flown out the window. Margie was red-cheeked and rambunctious, brimming with gin and overflowing with purpose.
“Come on Sam, when are you going to make an honest woman of me?” she demanded. “When you going to give my little Suki and Kyle a new grampa then, eh? It’s about time - I could do with husband number five.”
She slid her hand up Sam’s knee, to his obvious discomfort.
“Now Margie.” he chided awkwardly
“Well at least take me to the RHS show next weekend. I hate going on my own.”
Sam coughed. “We’ll see” but he didn’t look at Margie. Pete stood up quickly and walked stiffly to the bar. When he looked up, he realised Sam was beside him.
“Thought I’d help carry the drinks” he said
“Will you go, then? With Margie?” asked Pete, looking at the carpet.
“Of course not you daft bugger. I was hoping. Well - I was hoping maybe I could go with you?”
Pete’s mouth was a perfect O of surprise. “You mean as - ?” Sam nodded.
Sam nodded again.
“I’d love to”
"But we've never -"
"I know. I decided it was time to get over myself and say it"
Back over at the table they watched as Mike spoke slowly into Margie’s good ear and the pair of them watched as, slowly, the penny dropped.”