I drink coffee under an elm tree, one of many in the avenue; filtered sunlight
makes shifting pattern on the pavements, and the sun loses its cruel power.
A willowy woman walks into the only café where one can smoke, she likes to
drink coffee with her cigarette, her dog sits by the door looking in waiting.
A woman in her sixties who wears a long flowering dress, plenty of bracelets
and rings, too exotic to be Portuguese, is coming up the road. Married three
times, first to an army officer, from an aristocratic family, then to a Swiss
engineer, who built ski-lifts in the Alps. Her third husband is a poet and that
makes her sigh (downhill all the way dear) She frets about her daughter, who
is forty and not yet married. She had hoped her child would wed into
lofty society, but now she wishes her only offspring will find a man with
a steady job; not a cook or a waiter though, one must draw a line somewhere.
She has a glass of beer, shows me her latest bracelet, bought this morning;
she smiles happy as a child as the sun goes on shining and leaves on elm trees
are deep, cooling green.