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A Rose by Another Name

Page 3

Jane Downing

The music at the restaurant the night before had been of the traditional serenading variety. Violins, mellow guitar. To go with the tablecloth, linen napkins, and candle in the middle of the table. Felicity’s blind date wore on, worn threadbare by grinding attempts at conversation, and the candle dripped wax like sands through the hourglass etc. There was silence. There were the sounds of mastication. She’d thought to drown the noise with a description of Candle Salad.

Felicity realised as she opened her mouth, that Bradley’s friend was going to take the Candle Salad all too seriously. He was the baby-faced manager of something incomprehensibly managerial and appeared to be as short on humour as he was in stature. He’d been all attentive and polite, going so far as to order what she did. As his coup de grace, a coup that never had a chance of overthrowing her reason, he spent some time ordering appropriate wine with flawless knowledge. From these few observations it was clear he couldn’t have come from a family that hollered with laughter every time grandma’s Golden Book of Children’s Recipes was mentioned.

In the recipe book, Felicity explained in the restaurant, two children went about cooking meals for the family. ‘First there was tinned soup,’ she said. There was not even the flicker of a laugh in her date’s eyes at this. She girded her loins, and continued. For the father’s special birthday dinner the recipes in the book included Candle Salad. ‘You lay a bed of lettuce…’ she said. Then hesitated. The image of the candle on this bed of lettuce hadn’t lost its ability to paralyze after all these years. A ring of pineapple encircled a half banana rampant, topped with a maraschino cherry. Felicity and her sisters had not been able to eat the ‘candle’ when her mother gave into their pleas and finally made the recipe. There are no straight bananas. The slight bend added to the hilarity.

Page 3

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