Short Story Preview: Over Buttered Scones
I stare – gaze horrified at the thick, red stain bleeding onto the tablecloth.
Has she noticed, the woman who just passed me the strawberry preserve? And the man on my right, stirring his tea, spoon clanking the sides of his cup – did he see?
I stare ahead – dare not risk the glint of amusement, the disdain, the disapproval. Newcomer that I am.
On the table opposite, a girl of around nine or ten slides around on her seat, lifts the sides of the table cloth and makes faces. Taking the teaspoon from her mother’s cup she now places it under the cloth. Next, she steals the tea knife from the young man next to her. He does not see being deep in conversation with his neighbour. She scrambles under the table with it.
Her mother chatting to a woman two places on also does not see.
The scone sits on my plate untouched. I try not to dwell on the stain but I keep noticing it out the corner of my eye: large and disrepute. No-one ever told me how to cope with spilt jam on tablecloths. I had been taught to say please and thank you and enquire after a person’s health. I had been brought up to sit up straight, to refrain from placing elbows on tables and not to burp. But as to spillages, I knew nothing. I do remember though my mother saying that if I were to accidentally drop my table napkin in a restaurant, I should leave it for the waiter to pick up. Perhaps in that case, I should alert the waitress next time she came round to re-fill our cups.
Read more about Jane and buy Tea at the Opalaco and other Stories to continue the storyShare