So there we were, the love of my life, LOML, in this city of life, laughter and mellowness. Amsterdam – it was a birthday theng. My birthday. The weather was hot and sunny, people wandering around, taking photographs, smiling. A beautiful and historic city. Suddenly the sky darkened and it looked as though it was going to rain. When Amsterdam does rain, it does rain! Seriously, it rains. Bouncy type of rain. You know, the kind where the raindrop hits the ground and it bounces up, in this case about six to nine inches. As I said, bouncy rain.
Rather than be soaked, LOML and I decided to go to the same place we’d visited the day before for something light to eat and something to drink. We sat outside under the awning and watched the show as the heavens opened and the rain did its dance and bounced around on the cobbles. Fascinating. People running for cover, others laughing and letting the rain bounce off their upturned face and outspread arms. Joy.
At a table near us, a very elegant man and woman. Him, stylish, quiet, observing the impromptu show in front of us. Her, hair drawn back, elegant with bright intelligent eyes. However, it was her shoes that caught my eye. Glittery, obviously expensive, resembling sports shoes, but sports shoes that you rarely see. She saw me looking and smiled.
‘Madame, I was just admiring your shoes…’ I said.
‘Thank you, they’re,’ and she mentioned a luxury brand. ‘You are here on holiday?’ she asked.
‘I am, it’s my birthday.’
‘And where are you from?’
‘Edinburgh, and you?’
‘Ah.’ Silence, erm, reigned.
‘We have lived there for some time having had to leave Iran.’
‘We have loved it there. The generosity of the people, their welcome, but now…’ She tailed off.
‘Ah.’ (I know, I know, I can be quite articulate sometimes.)
‘He is changing the country, that man. We have seen this before, creating fear, enemies where previously there were none.’
‘He is,’ LOML and I said together.
We were all quiet for a while. Thinking, pondering. She sighed, finished her light meal and tonic water and they left nodding their farewells.
Both were obviously sad. Sad for a world that was changing in a way that they thought was not for the better. So was I. And she had such nice shoes too…
J J Mitchell
‘Never leave anyone behind’