It had occured to me earlier during the night, that my date was not going the way I wanted it to. I was meant to be sitting in a rich and luxurious restaurant with beautiful Madonna waitresses attending to my every need…and my new girlfriend’s. THAT’S where the problem lay.

Josephine glared at me. This was our first date.

During the day, I had rung the local Visitor Information Centre, where I had been reliably directed to this particular restaurant. My needs were great. It was to serve lovely food, be well furnished with stylish and elegant decore, complete with wonderful wait staff.

This was the place of choice that had been highly recommended by a strong country accent. Hey, not even the table had a cloth on it. The waitress hovered over the table closest to ours.

“Well, Mike. You could have invited me to a nicer place than this,” she huffed. “And on our first date too. It’s not as though we’ve been married for 30 years and the spark has disappeared.”

I could see that whatever spark there had been was fast being snuffed out.

“There are even stains on the wall.” She pointed to a yellow irregular pattern on the stretch of plaster nearest our table.

Really, I could see her point. My mind did not want to imagine where the stain came from or what it might be. My eyes found her blue ones and I desperately hoped they looked apologetic. The waitress vanished back into the kitchen.

But then, the most marvellous smells came from the little kitchen hidden at the back of the restaurant. The waitress came whizzing out, food steaming in her hands and balanced on her arms.

My date sniffed the air. The plates were placed in front of us on the little bare table. Cutlery hastily followed the food in being set down.

Josephine delicately picked up the fork. She dug it tentatively into the rissotto. I stared, hope against hope that she didn’t choke on it. And then, she smiled, digging her fork in again and again.

As tentatively as my date had, I pushed some of my ravioli onto the fork and raised it to my lips. Closing my eyes tightly, I put the fork in my mouth. The most heavenly divine taste, perfectly balanced in every way, exploded on my tongue. My taste buds were dancing with excitement.

Standing nearby, the waitress was watching us. She winked.