Georgia, bent almost horizontal at the waist, one hand clutching plastic bags, and the other held behind her back for balance, makes her shaky arthritic way to my table at the Chippy entrance and plonks herself down.
She flashes me a toothy smile.
I’m thinking to myself, I’m losing my job in two weeks so there is no way in hell I’m buying you anything.
I first got her a drink over a year ago, and since then she checks in with the regularity and persistence of a dog.
An old dog.
A dog which doesn’t reckon it’s about to start wagging it’s tail for food now. Not after a lifetime of not giving a crap. She rejects free food if she doesn’t like it, asks for better chips if her chips are over done, gives money back if it isn’t enough, and never learned ‘por favor’ in her many years here. A thoroughly unlikable and annoying old lady.
After scolding me in Russian for about five minutes and getting scolded back in English for a few minutes, she simmers down. She smiles.
She lets out a few coughs and touches her parched throat.
Someone has left a bottle of water on the table. I move it closer to her. She screws her face up, sticks her yellow tongue out and makes dramatic choking sounds.
What was I thinking, offering her life threatening water. Idiota!
She sits silent for a couple of minutes, and then she coughs again.
I point at the water. She does the choking routine and then points at my beer. I burst out laughing and so does she.
I don’t imagine I’ll be too impressed with water when I’m her age either. Destitute or not.
I pour a splash of my beer into a glass for her. Her shaky hand darts out, grabs the glass and downs it in two. She puts the glass down and smacks her faintly moustachioed lips happily.
She pulls out a pair of fake All Star converse shoes. Since this is the first time she has offered me anything other than used bras which look like they’ve been stolen from the laundry line of a brothel, I accept.
I give her another splash of beer. She knocks this one back just as quickly, impervious to my feeble cries of ‘slow, slow!’
We beam at each other in a happy beer haze.
On the pavement outside, a sexy dark skinned skater boy comes clattering along. His board catches on the pavement and he goes flying.
Georgia and I burst into simultaneous drunken cackles.
She gets up, thanks me for the drink and totters off. Another Barcelona evening, well spent.