Strolling On The Promenade an original oil painting by Theo Michael

I know I am not the perfect husband and I do neglect her sometimes...

Art Noir Wall Art by Theo Michael, Strolling On The Promenade in LarnacaMonika busied herself wiping down tables and taking food and drink orders in between. Some people may think that being a waitress is just a job, but for Monika it was her life. She loved people and loved making them happy.

At home, her husband Rick was seated at the kitchen table pondering on life. He was turning 40 tomorrow, and was going through a bit of a mid life crisis. He was ‘in between jobs’ as the saying goes, not that he had had a proper job for a long time. He was a bit of a bad boy who kept bad company doing bad things. His physique earned him a reputation of being a strong arm man and was often involved in scraps or worse. Despite all of these misgivings, Monika loved him.

Rick had become bored so decided to go to Monika’s place of work and have a coffee and perhaps a bit of cake to wile away an hour or so. As Rick entered the restaurant, he saw Monika in deep conversation with her boss Peter. Rick didn’t like the way he stood so close to her. When Monika spotted Rick she suddenly stepped back and approached the table where Rick had seated himself.

‘I didn’t know you were coming, you surprised me.’ As she took his order of a large Cappuccino and a slice of Apple pie.

‘What do you mean?’ Rick grumbled. ‘Do I have to warn you every time I come?’

As Rick sipped his coffee he noticed Peter approach Monika numerous times and each time he would get close and whisper in her ear. He was getting quite irritated. Monika came to check up on him and Rick took the opportunity to ask her.

“What does he want every five minutes whispering in your ear?” he snapped.

“Don’t be silly Rick, it’s just work.”

This made Rick angrier, angry to the point that he walked out and went home. He sat at the kitchen table again sulking. His thoughts were running away with him.  ‘I know I’m not the perfect husband, and I do neglect her sometimes’.  He sat there winding himself up. Eventually Monika came home. She looked upset. She had a frown on and her normally smiling lips were pointing downwards.

“What’s up?” Rick asked.

“I’ve been fired, that’s what’s up!” said Monika also sitting at the table.

“Fired, what on earth for?” asked Rick angrily.

‘Well, today the new menu arrived, the kitchen staff are all in a mess. The food is not coming out quick enough. He wanted me to do overtime. I told Peter I couldn’t, I wanted to spend more time with you. ‘

‘After all the hard work you put in, all the commitment you’ve shown, he can’t do this.’ Rick grabbed his coat. ‘I’m going to sort him out.’ He slammed the door shut behind him before Monika could say anything. A second later, the door opened and he was back.

‘What’s up?’ Monika asked

‘It bloody started to rain. Where is the umbrella?’

‘Rick, don’t do this, you are far too angry. We can sue for unfair dismissal.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous’ he shouted. ‘This will be sorted today, trust me.’

‘Let me come with you’ Monika pleaded.

‘Fine’ he retorted, ‘but let me handle this my way.’

She looked at him in admiration, or it at least appeared to be. Rick certainly noticed. He liked this.
It wasn’t long before they were strolling along the promenade towards Peter’s restaurant. The wind was cutting into her face and she pulled her hood over for shelter. Monika held him. Nick noticed a surreptitious smile appear on her face, but only for a second. He must have been mistaken, once again her sadness returned. She held him tight like the old times. Peter, her boss, will regret his decision to fire my Monika.

‘What’s going through your mind?’ Monika asked.

‘I have no idea. If he doesn’t take you back, I’ll smack him in the face.’

Monika was getting excited, ‘can I smack him too?’

Alarm bells were going off, but Rick was far too busy keeping his blue tie out of his face.

The stroll had turned into a brisk walk as they passed McDonalds, a few doors away from the restaurant. He glanced at her, she looked so beautiful in the rain. He realized how lucky he was, she was far too good for him. Two minutes later they had arrived.

“Leave it to me” said Rick as the anger welled up again.

They walked in and strangely all was in darkness. Rick could see Peter’s silhouette fiddling about behind the bar.

“We need to talk! Rick screamed. ‘’You have no right to fire my wife!” He lunged towards the counter.

Peter’s hand suddenly disappeared below the bar as he said, “Hold it right there!”

Rick thought that Peter had some sort of weapon concealed below the counter and stopped in his tracks. Suddenly the lights came on and his fears were confirmed when he saw Peter’s arm taking a swing at him. He turned away to avoid the blow.

‘What the heck!’ The strike seemed weightless, but had he lost his senses? Rick thought he saw his mother and father sitting on a table at the far left. Was that his brother, sitting at the table behind them? It couldn’t have been. They hadn’t seen each other in years, after constantly arguing over who was stronger, mighty Thor, or the man of steel Superman.

Then he spotted the weapon that hit him, a red balloon with the letter H on it. One by one, heads popped up from behind the bar and each person was holding a balloon with a letter printed on it. Rick read the words:

H-A-P-P-Y  B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y

They all started to sing to him. His toughness went out the window and he choked up, his family had made an effort. It shamed him as he hadn’t for the past few years. Then Monika who he had not even noticed had gone, appeared from the kitchen, holding a big cake with one lit candle in the middle.

“Happy 40th Birthday darling!” Monika beamed.

There was laughter all round and it took Rick a few seconds to see the funny side.

‘You witch’ he whispered under his breath as he pulled her over and kissed her passionately.

 Story by Theo Michael and Chris Christodoulou

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