ENTER LORRAINE

Old timers will recognize this character and place….

Lorraine owns and runs a bar just outside of town. She’s one of the best friends we have and her bar, the New Papeete, has got to be the best place on the island to sit and sip a few.

We love its authentic Tahitian shabbiness. Everything slightly beat and battered, chairs with wobbly legs and hard wooden seats that got more comfortable  and stable the longer you sit. Blowfish, and conch shells, woven and fringed palm leaves, and ti-leaf decor, it adds up to all that’s left of real island hospitality; the one place in the world where the real spirit of Aloha survives.

Lorraine is mother of the world. We can talk to her about everything, and, after a few of her generous drinks, we usually do. That night was no exception.   it was a quiet night at the New Papeete. The sky was gray and overcast. It was going to rain. It was a Monday night and most of Lorraine’s habitues stay home on Monday, recovering from Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, and all day Sunday. In true Polynesian style, on Tuesday and Wednesday, they work.

With few interruptions, David, Lorraine, and I sat talking on her poster bedecked verandah overlooking the only road through town. Across the narrow two-lane street what remains of our low-land jungle, tangled hao, koa, and thick tendrils of dripping Philodendron, rattled in the wind. Someone had shot out the street lights, no car passed, not a star peeped through the drizzly cloud-cover overhead. Had it started to pour on Lorraine’s tin roof, I swear Sadie Thompson and a gang of rowdy sailors would have come laughing through the rain to join us.

David told the story. I spoke very little. Lorraine listened attentively. Solemnly. Her great intelligent brown eyes moved sadly from David to me, like someone watching a geriatric tennis match. She’d nod, or heave a sigh or take a deep breath. She knows and adores my Father. She and my mother had been the friendliest rivals. At last, and it was unlike Lorraine, I’ve never heard her say an unkind word about anybody, and so unexpected, considering the tale David had told, she said, “That sounds like one bod lady fo’me.”

We were too stunned to comment. We had one more drink, all of us.

When we left, Lorraine took u both in her great motherly bosom, nearly suffocating me with her wonderful flower-scent, kissed us both on the cheek in the French fashion and bid us good night.

“Not to worry,” she said. “Lorraine feex up every-ting honky-dory.”

We smiled and waved as we drove away. the headlights, when David turned them on, did not brighten up the landscape. As we drove off  David said, “Now what the hell do you make of that?”

*

I’ll tell you what I make of that, I’d never tell David, he wouldn’t understand. When it comes to crystal ball gazing, David, as well as Lorraine, and me, has his own idiotsyncracies

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