By H.St Vincent Beechey


‘Good morning,’ Bonnie’s voice was as bright and chirpy as usual. I grunted something from behind my paper. To tell the truth, if I must, I was sulking. I could hear it in my voice (I hate it when I spot myself behaving childishly) but I couldn’t help it. I was still confused about the events of last night and had come down to breakfast in a flutter of apprehension. I didn’t know what to expect after publicly kissing Bonnie on the dance floor.

What I got was nothing. Bonnie hadn’t joined me in the hotel’s breakfast room, her usual practice, and I had eaten alone. I was a bit like the genie in the bottle: for the first few hundred years eagerly anticipating, the next few, indulgent; and after that, angry. For years read minutes, but it seemed like ages.

‘May I sit down?’ Bonnie now sounded a little different, softer, more tentative somehow. Gone was the brisk businesslike tone that sounded for all the world like a hospital nurse of the old school. I dropped my paper a few inches and peered over the top. Startled, I sprang to my feet.

The Bonnie I saw was a Bonnie transformed. No wonder she was late for breakfast. Her hair was freshly coiffed, she had evidently come straight from the hairdresser. The business suit was gone, replaced by a neat blue woollen dress, what’s that fluffy stuff-angora?-that though modestly high-necked, clung sufficiently to remind me of the feeling of her body against mine when we were dancing. I became aware that my jaw had fallen.

‘Well, may I?’ Bonnie smiled gently. She knew the effect she was having on me. I knew she knew and I knew she knew I knew, recurring. The mirror in a mirror in a mirror… I scrambled to pull out a chair. She sat there demurely.

‘Why, Bonnie. You look… I mean… Your hair, it’s really nice like that. You look.. well, like a PERSON!” She gave me an odd look. ‘I mean not like a business machine…’ I trailed off; this wasn’t going quite the way I wanted. ‘What has happened to the dragon lady?’ I covered my confusion by loudly calling a waiter and fussing over the menu, saying to Bonnie ‘Have an omelette.’

To tell the truth, that morning is still a confused memory. It was so different from my usual morning contest with Bonnie. I knew all the moves of that game. She would open by proposing activities of an educational or instructive nature. I would counter with a bland disdain for normal tourist practices. She would offer alternative suggestions. I would announce my intention of hibernating and leave her frustratedly contemplating her brochures. Game, set and match to me (a tennis term I believe, or one of those bat and ball games!)

Today the rules had been changed. I waited in vain for Bonnie to coax me to go outside. I had prepared all sorts of biting things to say about snow: “Nasty cold stuff, fine for Christmas cards!” “Nice to look at through windows, if only to feel lucky to be indoors!” “Find me some warm snow and I might even like it!” but Bonnie wouldn’t bite.

‘Whatever you like, Charlie, this is your holiday. What do you want to do?’

Nonplussed I looked at her. ‘Well, I thought maybe something exciting. There is a good duty-free shop here in the hotel. I thought of seeing if they have any new Notebooks.’

‘But Charlie, I’ve got plenty of notebooks, I’ll give you one!’

‘No Bonnie,’ I smiled indulgently. ‘I mean notebook computers. There are some beauties on the market now: Pentium one-twenty megahertz, sixteen megs of RAM, built-in CD ROM, Track-ball mouse, plug in modems connectable to a digital phone. I’m sure I could get onto the net as well here as at home. Just think of it, Bonnie. I’d be in touch again!’

‘It would be nice to look at the shop’ Bonnie agreed.

Now that is what I call a romantic morning. Everything was perfect. I bought my new computer, complete with the latest software and all the peripherals I could think of. For the first time, I really enjoyed being a millionaire. Bonnie seemed to enjoy herself. I bought her a little Swiss watch she seemed to like, though why someone should want a clockwork watch when they could have a quartz digital beats me. She kissed me on the cheek.

I took her back to my suite and we had great fun setting up the computer. For a clever woman with two university degrees, she seemed remarkably ignorant about I.T. but that didn’t matter. I was in my element, giving her mini-lectures on Information Technology and practical computer basics. Bonnie was very attentive and asked a few quite sensible questions. She looked at me with those big blue eyes and succeeded in making me feel clever,

‘You know, Bonnie, this is the first time we have ever really done anything together. It is almost as if we were on a date. It is one of the best first dates that I have ever been on.’

‘Yes,’ said Bonnie, ‘It has been a good morning.’

© Copyright H.St V.Beechey 1996


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