He didn’t hear her come up from behind. Her presence was announced by the sweet scent of ginger that swirled over his head and played at the edges of his nostrils. She rounded the table and, after a slow half pirouette, titled her torso toward him, and set a tall glass of stained liquid near his right hand.
Her words fell quietly from her mouth, like tiny leaves, spinning slowly to earth on a little zephyr. He nodded once. She stood erect, swiveled her sarong clad hips toward the kitchen and went to place his order, slowly fading into the shadows and leaving only the shuffling of her sandals, choo-chooing their way like tiny locomotives as they slid across the sandy floor, to track her path away from the table.
He reassured himself that the lack of other patrons was no reflection on the quality of the cuisine. “Lunchtime must be over. Everyone else has returned to work” he thought as he tried to placate his rumbling innards by wordlessly promising them that the first hot meal in days would soon be making its way down his gullet. After all, a place as big as this and far off the well-worn tourist track must have a lot of “locals” as regular customers.
Before long the little choo-choos were huffing and puffing their podiatric train from the far side of the restaurant, their sounds magnified by the Doppler Effect as they drew closer to his table. This time the light wind of ginger was mingled with the tang of sweet and sour sauce and earthiness of freshly picked mushrooms.
Now that that his eyes had become accustomed to the watery light, he saw that the young woman who served him had a long dark braid dangling over her right shoulder where her coffee colored skin was exposed by the way her sarong wrapped python-like around her slender body. She gave him a seductive and succulent smile as she set a large steaming platter and a heaping bowl of rice deftly down before him, then treated him to another hip-swiveling maneuver before her steam-powered sandals choo-chooed her out of reach.
(“Road Food” concludes on Monday, May 10, 2010)
© Dick Jordan 2010 All Rights Reserved