Last Friday morning I walked into the café kitchen downstairs. It was like any other start to a regular weekday work morning. But you never quite know who’ll be in there or what’ll be going on or what’ll be sizzling on The Spanish Onion grill. Only the day before I’d found Guido teaching two enthusiastic nuns from South America how to make the best poached egg. He tells me it involves vinegar, apparently.
“L,” said Guido as I passed him stirring a pan of porridge with a big wooden spoon in it, “is for the way you look at me.”
“What?” I said. Well, you would.
“O, is for the only one, I see,” he said holding his hand to his chest where I’m guessing he thinks his heart must beat.
I looked down at the pan of bubbling porridge and then looked back up at Guido. If he’d asked me at the time I’d have told him to pay a bit more attention because the consistency looked a bit on the lumpy side to me.
“V, is very very, extraordinary,” he said.
I blinked a couple of times.
“E, is even more than anyone that you adore.”
I think I’ve got all those song lyrics right. Then Guido kissed me on the cheek and he went back to his pan and I took the Tube to Shepherds Bush. I had a top flight work meeting with a client about the complexities of painting his bathroom pistachio.
On Saturday night in bed I felt Guido twitching under the blanket. Don’t worry folks, I’m not going anywhere near another one of my elaborate stories involving a salami sausage.
“Relax,” said Guido from the darkness, “I’m merely memorising some dance moves.” I felt two slow kicks to the left and then two quick ones to the right. Then he rolled over and went straight to sleep.
In the morning he told me he’d read somewhere that everyone should try to learn to do something new every day. No matter how small. So that explained the memorising modern jazz lyrics bit, but frankly I’d got doubts about the usefulness of ever being in a position to perform a foxtrot. And who would he ever dance it with? If it was down to me I’d much rather he concentrated on perfecting a decent blue cheese soufflé.
“Can you play that song, LOVE?” Guido asked the band at The Hideaway jazz club in South London. We had lunch there yesterday. The food was great and the big band music sounded terrific. The two of us even got up at one point and danced a few steps and I didn’t trample on Guido’s toes even once.
On the journey home I couldn’t help myself. I started to hum the words to that tune. I think I almost know them off by heart. And, with a foxtrot you start with the left foot and take two walking steps followed by a left side right together. Then you do something called a, rinse and repeat, with your left foot. It’s nice to turn out to be an old dog with a couple of new tricks up my sleeve.
Tomorrow I’ve asked Guido to teach me how to poach an egg. Because if two nuns from Belize can crack it, then so can I.