Mike Ezra lay on the Sandy-Brown center rug in his living room. Resting his head on a throw pillow with brightly coloured thin circles.
The center rug had 6 evenly shaped square designs on it. The squares lay vertically in 2 columns. 3 squares in each column. Each square outlined in a coffee brown colour.
All the 6 squares housed another shape: 3 triangles, 3 circles, 3 rectangles, 3 ovals, 3 cones, and 3 stars, respectively.
The shapes reminded Mike of Zaina’s collection of cookie cutters. Zaina, the Pastry Chef, preferred cutting the dough for Hotel Royale’s traditional Sunday cookie fiesta with her own cookie cutters. She swore by the lightweight, sturdy and smooth shapes they created. She would bring the cookie cutters in on a Saturday, for the kitchen porters to clean and sanitize for use the next day. “Such a meticulous lady, she would make any sane man happy”, Mike said aloud, eyes closed, shaking his head in regret.
Laying on the Sandy-Brown rug that night, reminded Mike of the time he spent working alongside Zaina. As a Commis Chef, Mike had to assist and work under the senior chefs of Hotel Royale’s kitchen. Of all the single female, senior chefs Mike worked under, Zaina was his favorite. There was a soothing effect about her, just like the Sandy-Brown Rug.
Zaina had a sweet sense of humor. Her jokes, no matter how serious the underlying messages were delivered subtly. She knew when to laugh at life’s absurdities and when to wear her game face. When she laughed, her dimples sunk into her dark chocolate face. Her complexion was dark and luxuriant like the Belgian dark chocolates she filled her chocolatey cupcakes with.
Mike nicknamed Zaina, African Princess. Not because of her dark complexion, but because she outlined the edges of all her 5 aprons with different Ankara prints (an African cotton fabric). “Who would have thought she’d be the next kitchen staff to jump on the ‘Canadian immigration bandwagon’?”, Mike pined for her.
Mike never summoned up enough courage to ask her out on a date. He wasn’t sure how she would react to his romantic advances. He didn’t want to lose her friendship. Now he has lost her to another country. All he had to remember her by are memories and the Sandy-Brown Rug.