Day #5 Of Vacation: Dancing Like No One Is Watching

Instead of taking time off from writing, I’ve decided to experiment and write my vacation in the third person.

June 3 — Today Melissa and her love are going to visit the Portobello Road Market. It’s only a few blocks from the house and she wanted to visit last time they were here together but couldn’t fit it in. Probably for the best. The weather is much better now. In fact, the weather has been spectacular all week.

She was taken back by the food and fresh fruits and vegetables. The paella stand was like nothing she saw in Barcelona. The paella pans were massive, beautiful and smelled fantastic. Every stand seemed to be unique and fit for giants. A bakery stand had croissants as big as a loaf of french bread. A vegetable stand had artichokes big as lettuce heads. She saw strawberries the size of a small child’s fist.

Each stand seemed to amaze her more than the next. How could a country known for such poor weather have such an amazing selection? For as long as she could remember London was known for many things like fashion, royalty, manners, punk music, and formality. Never food. Are things changing?

No matter. She could feel herself smiling. It was more than she had expected and much busier than the scene from Notting Hill. The streets were full of people going in a few different directions and at times she could barely move. Still, it didn’t have the feel of a flea market or a medina like Morocco. Even with the crowds it was peaceful. Relaxing. This is what you do on Saturdays.

Her love saw a bookstore and wanted to go inside. Inside it was small but not quaint like the bookstore across the street from their apartment. Probably because there were so many people inside. Also, there was music playing and Georgia On My Mind began.

This version was happy and danceable. Without hesitation Melissa grabbed her love’s hand to use a silent dance partner. She was going to dance whether he was going to or not. He did dance though. They have never danced together before. There, in bookstore on Portobello Road, with strangers around, in a place where someone probably shouldn’t be dancing they did. He spun her around and she smiled with each twirl.

She looked at him while they were dancing as well. Something she rarely does. Once she was dancing at the workspace in Morocco during the farewell party and her partner kept telling her to look at him. She didn’t. Only then did she realize making eye contact with even a dance partner was hard for her to do. Dancing with her love it was something she enjoyed doing.

Seeing him opposite her was a beautiful thing. Surprisingly, he was smiling too. He wasn’t only indulging her he was indulging himself. This was not something he did or part of his character — dance in bookstores. Or do something which could be inappropriate anywhere. His manners are impeccable. Who knows what let him know it wasn’t breaking the rules here. Whatever it was she was thankful. When the song ended it was over and without saying a word they went back to looking at books.

When they left Portobello Road there were people taking photos of a building. The building didn’t seem like any big deal. Architecturally, from where she was standing, nothing seemed especially beautiful. She was unsure if there was something happening. Maybe a bird on a balcony or something? There was a tree blocking her view and as soon as she was on the other side she saw a marker. George Orwell had lived in this building.

Seeing this was significant to Melissa because she was currently reading his book, 1984. A week ago there would have been no importance to her. Suddenly now his name was appearing everywhere. Like when they went to the Pink Floyd exhibit earlier in the week. His name appeared there as an influencer. It made her smile. She appreciated knowing the significance of things.

It was similar to her day yesterday when she saw the Princess Diana Fountain. Sure, people will know her name. Having not grown up with her in their lives and seeing her constantly admired, performing charity work, or making the Royal Family seem normal would those people get the fountain? Melissa never even felt connected to Princess Diana and yet she knew the significance.

As she has walked around London there are so many things, symbols, monuments, statues which have been overlooked. When she thought about it, it seemed sad. The whole reason they were created is so people would never forget. Forget? She never knew. Yet, here she was passing them by without much thought. Thankfully, this small blue marker had significance for her.

The next stop of their day was the antiquarian exhibit. They had tried attending earlier in the week but it wasn’t open yet. Today was actually a great day to attend as it was a day of strolling and being able to stroll through books seemed appropriate.

Around every corner was a masterpiece and plenty of different editions and significant George Orwell books. While her love looked at maps she was looking at prices. Most the books were well out of her price range. She wasn’t there to buy anything. The prices were indicative of value not worth. For someone like her she was seeing what something was worth. For the collectors, they were seeing the value of an item. Would it be valuable, invaluable, or priceless for them?

In just about every booth she saw something which made Melissa think of her mother. For as long as she can remember her mother had read a book before going to bed. She enjoyed books very much. Her mother stills enjoys them. Until that very moment Melissa never realized how alike she and her mother are. While her sister enjoyed books early on, she didn’t begin to enjoy books until later in life. It was writing she enjoyed for as long as she could remember.

Seeing the similarities between her and her mother made Melissa smile. All the things she questions about herself are things she never questions about her mother. Maybe Melissa is alright. Maybe she’s not as rough around the edges as she thinks. Maybe people even think of her like her mom.

It’s late in the afternoon and they decide to go home and relax. Their apartment has a small balcony they enjoy sitting on and looking at the garden and people watching over the gate. Today Melissa decided that a glass of wine would also be nice. They had already been to the wine shop so he could pick up a Cuban cigar. It wasn’t until she was settled she felt something was missing.

When she told her love she would be going out again he asked if she could pick up a sandwich. A seemingly simple request. She loved it. He never asked her to do things. He carried her bags after shopping. He didn’t like if she paid for her coffee when they were together. Now he was letting her serve him and after all the times he has served her she jumped at the chance.

Upon returning with a sandwich and wine she was smiling from ear to ear. She enjoyed how the shop owners across the street greet her as a friend and remember her. Traveling from country to country and visiting the same places repeatedly it’s not often she’s remembered. Even though she orders the same thing over and over again.

These are the silly things Melissa thinks of as she prepares a tray to serve her love on the balcony. It’s a rarity to serve him so she wants to make sure it’s done well and with love. The apartment has a serving tray so that was good. She added cherries, blackberries, and apricots to the tray. A bottle of sparkling water and a Diet Coke. Anything he could have needed including napkins, and a dish for the cherry pits were there.

Such a simple and pleasant way to spend an afternoon. She reading her book and enjoying a glass of wine. Her love enjoying a cigar, having some lunch, and sitting in silence. Their time together is almost over and there is no other way she would rather have spent it than doing just what they are doing now.

My end of day gratitude:

  1. Dancing with my love in a bookstore.
  2. Having the marker be significant.
  3. A wonderful afternoon lunch overlooking the garden with my love.

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