The stewardess brings us scalding wet napkins, hands us the menus on a luxuriant white card with golden lettering and suggests a wide range of aperitifs.
“Choose for me, Egon!” Ravishingly hungry, deliriously happy and feather-light, I look into Egon’s eyes deeply.
“And thanks, the flight is divine!”
He smiles at me with the intimacy of long-time lovers: “I’m delighted to hear you saying that, Lolita! Now let’s have a look at the menu.”
“Oh, no! Don’t wake the lady!” He shoves off the stewardess standing by my grandmother undecided what to do.”
" I’d recommend Beluga caviar with vodka as a starter and, ...”
“No need to ask what I want, Egon. I rely on you blindly.”
“You’re an extremely wise young lady, Lolita. I’ve never doubted your charm. I’ve known you’re brilliant, witty and illegally gorgeous. Yet I haven’t expected such maturity of mind. Your ability to understand that we’re never offered the same chance twice is phenomenal!”
Happy about my unconditional surrender, I savour the caviar canapés topped with quail eggs. The nippy taste of vodka flashes luscious warmth down my stomach.
“You travel a lot, don’t you, Egon?” I probe timidly.
“I met you and my life has changed. How could I ever leave you, precious? I’ll take you with me wherever I go.”
“They won’t let me go, Egon.”
“Who knows? We’ll find a way. Don’t worry about Zita. We’re an uncoupled couple.”
We drink. We eat. We play exciting games under the blanket. Sated, we fall asleep together. He wakes me up before the landing and sends me back to my seat.
“We’re nearing Prague, grandmother,” I touch her shoulder gently.
Startled out of her rest, she opens her eyes. “Right you are, child! I can’t believe I slept the flight through! Sorry, Irenchen.”
“I’m glad you had some rest, grandmother. And then, I catnapped also a little.”
“That was a genuine beauty-sleep, Irenchen. You look dew-fresh! Antibes did you a lot of good, my sweetheart. By the way, give me your engagement ring. I’ll keep it for you. No need to upset your father.”
The landing sign is switched on. Before fastening my seat-belt, I press my lips against my grandmother’s cheek: “Thank you, grandmother, for taking me to Antibes and for all the rest.”
“Not at all, sweetheart. You’re my one and only, don’t you know it? I had a great time being with you. Believe me, Irenchen, you’ll be very happy with Leopold! Egon has taken to you too and my dearest Leopoldine is doting on you! Well, Zita is a very particular lady. Mothers-in-law may be quite a problem. But she’ll get used to you, don’t worry. We mustn’t forget to thank Egon for taking such a good care of us, though. He’s a true gentleman! Hardly surprising being a true lady’s son! Now give me your hand and close your eyes, Irenchen. Landing isn’t a pleasant feeling.”
I clutch her tiny hand in mine. Her soft, ladylike hand piloting my life with a driving force into the haven of the holy matrimony.