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.

17 Cats

17 cats. How did he end up with 17 cats. And at his age! 60 years old was too old to have 17 cats. 

His only desire was to be left alone. That meant NOT having any cats, let alone 17 of the damned creatures! 

And then he remembered. The month before he’d been drinking with his mates, and a stunning woman had walked into the bar. Not only was she stunning, but she was even his age.

Before too long, he had been shouting her rounds, until he was under the table. 

The night after had been bliss. The scent of her captivated him, and they had gone home together…back to his place. 

Now, it was a month since they’d met and he was surrounded by 17 cats.  In the bed beside him, he could feel warmth radiating from something underneath the sheets. He tentatively reached out his fingers. No, it was not her. It was his hot water bottle.

  And then the next lot of memories came back.

  She had confessed that she was dying. This was to be her last tryst as the disease that melted her insides was tightening its grip. She had no one to leave her 17 cats to. 

In the depths of passion, last week, he was chivalrous. In her will she had left them to him! And now, she was in the village morgue, awaiting burial by her cat hating family. 


My heart throbbed, as I stared intently into his eyes. His courage had been astounding, and all I wanted was to drown in the ice blue of his gaze.

Success had been his. He had won my Father’s heart; Not a small feat. And I knew he was the one.

All of 16 years old, I was convinced I knew my way around the world. Travelling to Sydney for the first time, one night from the country, I had met him. My train stop had arrived too suddenly, and I had missed it. And my current Love, had helped me when I became lost at Central Station.

Spending every free moment in Sydney together had been bliss. He had even bought a ticket and caught the train from Sydney, back to my home with me. We had alighted and a taxi had driven us to my family’s house.

Darren had entered through the front door, while I waited on the driveway.

” Dad said he liked you?”

The icy blue stare dazzled me and I felt weak at the knee.


“Yeah. I told him about us.” Then his icy blues dropped their gaze.

“What did he say?”


He scuffed his toes into the dirt.

“He wanted to know if I’d buy him a slab of beer.”

“And?” I couldn’t express my excitement.

“Well, you see. I spent the last of my money on the train ticket.”

“And?” This time my voice was full of alarm.

“When I told him I had no money left, he said no.”

My face must have betrayed every nuance of shock. I thought Darren would pass any test Dad gave him.

Darren smiled. “On the upside,” he announced. “Your Dad did give me the money for the return trip.”