“Hi there Mr. Cyril, it’s Reza Dibadj, nice to see you again!”
Reza had learned some years ago that these people appreciated a quick little reminder when saying hello for the first time in a while. It was, after all, a cottage community so there was often a long time between seeings. Also, everyone seemed to be pretty old. And drunk.
“Of course, Raisin! Nice to see you too! And how is Francis?”
“Francis is doing great, still attending classes overseas of course. I’m married to Isabel. We’re expecting.”
Cyril had whacked his shin against the side of his boat while disembarking that morning, and though blood still seeped from the cut the sappy trickle had not yet reached his sock.
“Up for a little while?” he asked hopefully, his smile stretching around some odd coloured dental work.
“No,” Reza sighed, “just the weekend.”
Cyril’s shook his head and tapped his tongue against the roof of his mouth, “Teh, teh”
“We’ll be up for a little stretch at the end of the month though,” Reza added hopefully.
“Ah. Well. Good!”
Everything was, of course, always good there. It really was. Days were a steady succession of discussions about just how good it was, the only exception being that it was not as good when you had to leave.
Reza had learned that despite the community’s reputation for being inaccessible, it was actually fairly easy to make friends if you simply heeded this simple protocol —
Affirmation: This is just such a special and wonderful place.
Confirmation: Yes, it’s totally unique and amazing. We are very fortunate.
The bit about being fortunate was a little flourish he had added. He was humble by nature, but also, even notwithstanding his name, the absurdly hairy legs he had stuffed into tennis shorts made it clear that he had married into the community.
“Yes, we’re really looking forward to it. Two weeks! It’s just so much better when you can really settle in for a while here. More relaxing!”
“Yes, yes it is. Wonderful!” Cyril had started shuffling off toward the iced tea-stand, which also sold homemade brownies that Reza frequently sought out.
Watching the young girl get up from her chair to greet her teetering customer, he wondered if his child would one day work at that stand for a summer job.