Thirteen Years: Underdressed In A Posh Restaurant

AIDS was… an illness in stages, a very long flight of steps that led assuredly to death, but whose every step represented a unique apprenticeship. It was a disease that gave death time to live and its victims time to die, time to discover time, and in the end to discover life.

~ Hervé Guibert

Underdressed In A Posh Restaurant

Continued from… A Visit To The Military Hospital

Isaac stayed away for about two hours. When he returned to Kathy’s office, he informed them nothing special had happened in the doctor’s office. She didn’t examine him. She just said his situation was unchanged and gave him a new prescription for his medicine. Isaac had spent most of the time he was gone, waiting at the pharmacy to collect his medicine. He seemed to be unmoved by his unsatisfied visit to the doctor.

“I think we should leave soon,” Isaac said, “then Kathy and Jeanne can get back to their work. I don’t want them to get in trouble because we hang around here for too long.”

Annie agreed.

“I suppose we will see the two of you again before we go back to the Netherlands?” Annie asked, looking from Jeanne to Kathy.

“I am off from work on Thursday and Friday,” Jeanne said.

“I have a parade at the parliament on Friday, but after that, I am off for the rest of the day,” Kathy answered.

“Then you can join us, if you want to,” Annie suggested.

“Which places do you still want to go to?” Jeanne asked.

“We want to go up Table Mountain and to Cape Point,” Annie answered, “and maybe on a wine route too. Otherwise, we are open to suggestions.”

“The aquarium at the Waterfront is nice too,” Jeanne said, “as well as the indoor market next to it.”

They settled on a rough planning and Annie left with Jacques and Isaac, knowing she would see both Jeanne and Kathy later that week.

When they walked outside, it was raining. Still standing under the roof at the main entrance of the military hospital, they decided rather to go to a shopping center than to a tourist attraction. Annie didn’t want Isaac to walk outside while it was raining, since a simple cold could be fatal.

Isaac drove over to the Blue Route shopping mall, which housed several shops and restaurants. The biggest shop in it was an enormous hypermarket. It was a grocery store, furniture store, music store and clothing store all into one.

Annie was familiar with this concept, but Jacques had never seen something like it. Since Annie and Jacques had shopping lists from some family members, they took this opportunity to buy as much of the stuff as they could get in the hypermarket. The prices of food shocked Annie. Everything was quite expensive, and she wondered how the less fortunate were even able to afford a loaf of bread.

It was late afternoon when they returned home. Annie took all their groceries upstairs, but she left it in the bags next to their suitcase. She would only pack when she was ready to pack all their stuff for their return trip.

When Isaac had returned to South Africa in the beginning of that year, he had brought a scanner with him. The scanner was a gift from Myra and Joe. Up to then, Isaac had failed to get the scanner to work.

That afternoon, Annie sat down with Isaac to teach him how it worked. She also used the opportunity to write the kids and her mother each an e-mail. Jacques sat downstairs, reading a book and leaving the two close friends to spend time together.

Roundabout seven that evening, they went out for dinner again. Annie offered to cook, but Isaac forbid her. Once they were in the car, Annie and Jacques suggested they should just go to the Spur for dinner. Isaac adamantly refused.

“Jacques will think we only have Spurs. We are going to another restaurant,” Isaac said resolute.

“Do you have a restaurant in mind?” Annie asked.

Isaac shook his head.

“No, but we will definitely find something while we drive around,” he smiled.

The drive took longer than Annie thought it would. Just when she wanted to suggest again that they should go to the Spur, Isaac switched on his indicator and turned onto the parking place in front of a restaurant called Peddlars.

When they walked into the entrance hall, Isaac and Annie looked at each other.

“Do you think they have a dress code here?” Isaac asked.

Before Annie could answer, the glass door that gave entrance to the restaurant opened. A waitress appeared.

“Table for three?” she asked, and the three of them nodded in agreement.

The inside of the restaurant was stylish. Looking at the people seated at the tables, Annie felt totally underdressed. They were all dressed in denims, where the men seated at the tables all wore suits and the women were in their Sunday’s best. However, the server didn’t seem to mind their clothing, so they followed her to the back of the restaurant.

The next shock followed when they looked at the menus that the server had given them. The prices of the different dishes were incredible.

“I read in the papers they just recently rebuilt the place,” Isaac whispered and grinned, “so maybe they upped the prices to cover the building costs.”

Annie giggled. She noticed Jacques looking at her — puzzled.

She leaned over to him and told him what Isaac had just said. He smiled.

Annie turned a page of the menu. The wine list was on the next page. When she saw the prices, she gasped. In the meantime, both Isaac and Jacques had also seen the prices. When the server came to ask them what they wanted to drink, they all ordered a glass of orange juice. Isaac told the server they needed more time to make a choice from the menu.

“Annie, I’ll order myself some food, but then you will have to do the dishes to pay it,” Isaac whispered as he leant over towards Annie.

Annie giggled and yet again, she had to translate for Jacques.

“Maybe we should order only two dishes and then ask for an extra plate, so we can share it,” Annie suggested with a mischievous smile.

This time she spoke loud enough for Jacques to hear it too, but he understood little of it, since she spoke in her native language. When he looked at her, puzzled, she just ignored it. It was not funny anymore if she had to translate every sentence.

When the server returned, Jacques ordered lamb curry and Isaac and Annie both ordered eisbein, a roast of smoked pork hock with mustard sauce and mashed potatoes. The food was delicious and so much, that even if they had been willing to pay the prices listed with the desserts, they wouldn’t even have been able to have dessert.

The server came back to clear off their plates.

“Do you want anything else?” Isaac asked.

“I would like a coffee,” Jacques said.

“Me too, but then we will definitely have to do the dishes, and not only ours,” she joked.

“Oh well, what the heck, if we have to do the dishes anyway, I’ll just have a cup of tea,” Isaac joined Annie’s joke.

Jacques didn’t flinch when he paid the bill, and for that moment, Annie could just not care what he had to pay for their dinner. She thoroughly enjoyed the evening, seeing Isaac in a splendid mood.

They were still giggling about them entering a chic restaurant dressed in denims when they got back into the car to go home.

To be continued… On Top Of Table Mountain

Note: This series is a rework of a self-published book (2009), rewritten for this blog, and in loving memory of a dear friend who suffered from and passed because of AIDS. Keep in mind this story happens in the late eighties and throughout the nineties. Names of characters have been changed to protect their privacy.

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

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