The hard-man holds her small hand. 



Marmite on toast

Marmite on toast. So wrong but right. It was hot and comforting. Not sweet. The opposite of sweet. The Japanese would probably call it umami. 

It had to be created with care. The toast brought to the edge of being burnt. Then the butter spread while the toast was so hot it would melt into it. Lots of butter! Marmite added then, a good layer, not too thin, not too thick. Spread right to the edges of the toast. Then served with a hot mug of tea or tall glass of milk in the sitting room while we watched a movie (probably Labryinth) 

I remember it fondly because it was a taste my younger sister and I shared. There was a regular debate between us as to who made the best version. If she make it I wanted hers. If I made it, she wanted mine. 


Stolen Lemons

Francesca sits at her usual table. Her long brown hair hangs in waves over her right shoulder. She wears a dark olive green vest and black jeans. It is hot today. Her young bones show under her sallow skin. 

The red brick walls of Il Ruttin pizzeria are covered in old photos. It is quiet today. The tiled floor is drying after its daily clean. Lemons grow outside in the restaurant garden. They offer free limoncello after your meal. 

The table is round with ornate metal legs. It is old, well used but clean. Somebody has cared for this place. The top is heavily scratched from years of use. Francesca runs her hand across its surface. 

There is a large lemon in a bowl on the table. She picks it up and studies it. It has a coarse and pleasing texture. It is large and wrinkled. It smells good, so good that she buries her nose into its skin, inhaling deeply. It is citrus and fresh. Looking around to make sure no one is looking she puts the lemon into her bag. 

The door opens. Francesca turns quickly, fearing she is caught in her act of petty theft. But no one notices. It is just a couple of lost Americans looking for directions to Pompeii. They struggle with their few Italian words but Marco can’t help so they leave disappointed. 

Her margherita pizza arrives. She relishes every hot savoury-sweet bite then gets back to work. 

She will enjoy her lemon later.