Rocky was easing himself inside his treasured Elvis jacket made from what he considered to be beautiful white leather, created in the days when it was still thought civilised to use such materials, complete with the tassels regarded as essential in the age of his hero: he was smiling to himself. Two reasons: he could remember going to see the legend in Las Vegas and the jacket always brought back that memory, and tonight was the night he was going to ask Alina out on a date, having had a couple of pretty cheering conversations with her during the previous night at his local nightclub.
At eighty-three many people thought him past his best, but as Rocky said, “I still know how to comb my hair and I’ve still got hair to comb” which remark was always finished with a knowing wink. He’d got one or two marriages under his belt so, as he said, “I know my way round the domestics” and generally had an air of confidence with the opposite sex when cutting some shapes on the dance floor, taking account of his walking stick and arthritis. I remember him saying, “Temporary difficulties son; temporary difficulties: nothing death won’t sort out,” and he walked away laughing and wheezing to himself,
Sure enough, there he was at ten-thirty in the evening, groomed to the point of oblivion, and getting a sense of the rhythm before easing himself onto the dance floor, when the lovely Alina slid into view. At twenty-eight years old you could say she was in her prime and ready to taste any adventure life threw in her path. Life being in a good mood deposited Rocky firmly in front of her, and as she smiled at him Rocky said, “I thought you and I could spend an evening together, what do you think?”
She thought about it for a few seconds and said, “I think you’re a little sophisticated for me Rocky, but I know someone who might be little closer to your range.” “Who’s that” said Rocky, who always clung to optimism in the face of facts. “My mother” said Alina. “She always feels safer with an older man and at fifty-four she still has, what you say, mileage in the tank: tread on the tyre” and she smiled up at him.
“Flexibility” said Rocky, “The secret of success” and smoothly changed his target from daughter to mother, No face was lost or offence taken in the change of tack: how lucky he was to be in such a circle. Thus two days later he found himself in a tearoom in the centre of town, noticing the lack of beer with a touch of sadness before Alina and a woman of groomed appearance who was clearly her mother, walked through the door.
“No dance floor here Rocky” said Alina, “But my mother is not for the nightlife are you Mama?” Her mother nodded, and seemed to be there more under the instruction of her daughter than of her free will, but that can happen can’t it? After a chat, and a sip or two of tea, the mother said. “You’re a little out of my range Mr Rocky but you are a gentleman. I know a woman who could be very pleased to meet you.”
Both versatile and optimistic, Rocky took his rejection in good part and asked who it was. “My mother, ” said Alina’s mother, and Alina said, “Oh yes. The perfect match no?” which means yes in some language usages. Both mother and daughter started smiling at each other and a date at the same venue was swiftly arranged.
Two days later , there was Rocky, sipping a cup of Earl Grey, and moaning about the penalties of healthy living to the waitress, when the door opened and three women walked in: Alina, her mother and an older women who was clearly Alina’s grandmother. The pink framed glasses on the grandmother’s nose gave a hint of inner wild, and soon the two veterans were chatting like old friends about “Hits” of the past and adventures enjoyed before the birth of the iPhone: she agreed to go out to Sunday lunch with him on the following weekend. As she said, pointing at her daughter and granddaughter, “Why settle for copies when you can have the original!”
Could Rocky manage one more shuffle up the aisle? Only time will tell!