WRITTEN BY ROSEMARY HAYES
Emma had always loved her gran’s salt and pepper cats – but where had the pepper one disappeared to?
“Isn’t it time you looked for your other half?” asked Isabelle.
Emma had just finished sprinkling salt on her bolognese using the salt shaker that used to belong to her grandmother. She didn’t have the pepper shaker.
“You’re right – I should try and find a match for my salt shaker,” she agreed.
“I meant a boyfriend.”
“I know.” Emma smiled, staring at the porcelain blue and white cat in her hand. Nostalgia tugged at her heart. The cat shakers always resided in the middle of Grandma Rose’s kitchen table. Emma had always admired them, so it didn’t surprise her when she found out she had inherited them – except that by the time she went to collect them, only the salt one remained. She had no idea what happened to the pepper one. Perhaps it had been broken.
She ran a thumb gently over the cat.
She did miss her grandmother – her support, her sense of humour, her guidance, her belief in serendipity
She was especially canny in matters of the heart and even subtly suggested Emma’s last boyfriend wasn’t the one. She was right.
“I could put some notices online,” Emma said. “Include a picture of my salt shaker. Ask people to spread the word.”
“Great idea,” said Isabelle. “But the chances of finding an exact match would be difficult. They stopped making those decades ago. And who’d give up a pepper shaker if they have a set themselves?”
Emma shrugged. “Maybe someone has a lonely pepper shaker sitting on a table, just like my salt one,” she said.
“I have to try, don’t I?”
“You certainly do,” Isabelle agreed.
Emma’s “Wanted” notice had been circulating for a few days before she started getting responses from people with pepper shakers. Some were nothing near a match, like the brown cow. Others were close in design – they were cats, at least – but they weren’t exact.
“Maybe close enough will do?” Isabelle suggested.
No, they have to be perfect together.
The breakthrough email arrived the following day.
Hi, my name’s Dan. A friend forwarded your Wanted notice to me. I think I can help. I’ve attached photos of my pepper cat. Is this what you’re looking for? Your notice said you live in Morrisville. So do I! I can deliver in person, or I can post the shaker if you would prefer that.
She replied immediately…
Hi Dan, from the picture your pepper cat looks like it would match my salt cat. Do you have both salt and pepper? Would you be willing to part with the pepper only? I can’t believe you’re in Morrisville too! What a small world.
What she didn’t include in her reply was her first impression when she looked at the second photo – the one of Dan himself holding the photo, so she could get the size perspective of the shaker. There was so much to like. Including the fact that his left hand didn’t have a wedding ring. If they were both at a party and she had noticed him, she’d definitely make a beeline and say hello.
So it was only natural to add at the bottom of her email, Would hate to risk cat getting broken in the post, can we meet at a café?
She didn’t have to wait long…
Hi Emma, I’ve only got the pepper one. He’s always looked a little lonely so happy to find him his perfect match. As a fellow Morrisville local you’d agree the best place for coffee is the one on East Street?
She did agree. When she walked in the café two days later Dan was already sitting at a table.
“Hi, Emma.” His eyes shone with warmth. “Lovely to meet you.” They ordered coffee and Emma said, “So how did you end up with just a pepper cat? Did the salt one break?”
“Well, it’s a strange story. I often did odds jobs for a lady down the street and one day she said, ‘Do you believe in serendipity? That when the time is right you’ll find the person you’re meant to be with the rest of your life?’ I said, ‘Every day I hope I’ll find the right woman for me.’ That’s when Mrs Dobson gave me the pepper cat – and she said, ‘Hang on to that, because one day it could bring you what you want.’”
Emma gasped. “Mrs Rose Dobson?”
Dan eyes widened. “You know her?”
“She was my grandmother! She knew me so well. She must have known that one day, I’d go looking for my cat’s match… it’s total serendipity.”
They stared at each other with softness and understanding.
“I think we have plenty to talk about.” Dan smiled. “Can you stay for lunch? They do a great salt and pepper calamari.”
Emma laughed and looked at the salt and pepper cats. They were perfect together. Just like her grandmother knew she and Dan would be.
“I’d love to,” she said.
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