by Tracey Hamilton
Her eyes skimmed the menu, searching for that one particular detail that would encourage her to order. Nothing was jumping out – yet. She raised a wary eyebrow and glanced around the chestnut flooring and dark foreboding walls, draped in eighteenth century artwork and trinkets. The real napkins, crystal glasses and penguin dressed waiters said it all. But surely they would serve something to her taste?
Her hazel eyes caught a glimpse of creamy prawns and scallops heading to the table in the corner. She could feel the soft gooey middle of the scallop and the sweetness of the cream. Then she sighed. Suddenly the young couple at the table beside them were served a plate of freshly baked bread with creamy tomato soup. The steam carried the red aroma towards her nose, and she shut her eyes trying to avoid it. Her life would never be the same. She loved hot bread and scones, thick creamy sauces and soups, and tasty biscuits, freshly out of the oven. How would she survive now?
Her life was over; that result had dropped on her like a landmine going off in a field, and all she could do was stare at the white coat, oblivious to his reassurances that it was just a change of attitude and lifestyle. No, to her it was the end of her love of all things dairy and gluten. Food would never taste the same.
Then the penguin was beside her, tablet in hand, waiting patiently. “I…I’m not sure,” she stumbled.
“She’s gluten free,” added her husband. “You accommodate special diets, don’t you?”
The waiter nodded, smiling. “All our meals can be adapted, and we have lovely, fresh toasted bread – gluten free.”
Her face slowly produced the biggest smile she had ever had, and she ordered all her favourite courses, starting with the soup.