King of Dreams
Harry N Down
“Ah Steve. You are here. I am sorry I have been busy.” Sunni’s smiling face is a sight I am glad to see.“Its ok Sunni. You do what you have to do we can catch up later. Kapil won’t be picking me up till five if not later.” I mention somewhat relieved to see someone I know. Sunni yells something to the man behind the bar. “Sachin will look after you. I will come back and see you when I can. Enjoy my friend enjoy.” Sunni rushes off going about his business. I just sit and look around.
Observing people come and go. Listening to the various dialogues, taking in all the different clothing. All this is new to me. A real revelation. The women at the table where I am sitting leave and a waiter comes right over and clears the table. I am happy to sit here on my own. Just as I finish my drink, another arrives. Sachin smiles. I offer to pay but he just shakes his hands at me and moves away. I shrug my shoulders. I’ll sort it out with Sunni later.
Just as I am, settling down the chair behind me moves and a young girl parks her self next to me. It is Shallini. I smile and say hello. She puts a book down on the table along with some pencils. She opens it and starts writing or drawing I am not sure which. She looks at me and smiles. On the table between us, she places the Koala Bear Kev and I gave her the night before. She still has her bracelet on. A woman comes over and speaks with Shallini. Sunni rushes over and pulls the woman aside speaking in a language I do not understand. The woman looks at me and says sorry. I look at her somewhat perplexed.
“I am sorry Steve. I did not know who you were and I worry about my daughter.”
“Its ok luv, I mean mam. Err now I am sorry. What do I call you?” I now feel embarrassed.
“You call me Sandy.” She smiles. “Thank you so much for what you have done for Shallini.”
“I didn’t do anything. Just gave her some presents. All kids love presents.”
Sandy’s eyes well up “Steve you gave her much more. You gave her some trust. Oh dear I must go.”
“I’ll take care of her.” I assure Sandy as she is called away to the kitchen.
Shallini looks up at me and smiles then continues drawing, or was that writing?
As time goes by the bar empties out to just about two tables of people. “Steve. The table by the water feature is free. Could you move there and take Shallini with you.” Sunni asks.
“Sure thing mate.”
“Where do you want to sit?” She looks and sits where Kev had sat the last night. Looking at me, she then pats the seat next to her. Like a well-trained dog, I sit next to her. I put the bear between us. She puts her book down opens it up and carries on as if nothing had interrupted her.
Another drink arrives. I ask Shallini if she wants a drink she shakes her head.
I can hear the pots and pans being cleaned in the kitchen. Sunni starts closing up. I look over the place. It looks so different in the daytime. Sandy comes over and places some food in front of her daughter and sits next to her. We talk for a while. Sunni slumps in the chair. “We open again in three hours.” He says to me. I nod and sit back. Kapil should be here then I think to myself.
The story continues .........here