Back To Luigi’s

A table set for two Illustration: Shutterstock


She had a reason to make her once-chewed nails beautiful – and to show them off to her ex…

I used to bite my nails when I was anxious. I’d nibble away at them until the white bits were all gone and my poor fingers bled. I felt like doing it again when I went back to Luigi’s.

I’d worked so hard to get my nails looking good, I wasn’t going to let nerves get the better of me. Instead I concentrated on keeping my hands in my lap as I stared at the wine bottle on the table and remembered how Jack had picked away at the wax candle when we’d sat there before.

I’d been so in love with Jack back then. We’d gone to Luigi’s every Thursday evening, and we’d even started talking about marriage. But then Jack had shocked me to the core and told me that he was going away.

“Where?” I’d asked in astonishment.

“I don’t know,” he replied as if he hadn’t really thought about it. “I just feel that I need to go and do some travelling. I’m too young to settle down, Christina.”

“But we were going to get engaged!” I cried, picturing the diamond ring I’d secretly been eyeing up in the jewellers.

“I know, and we will, but not just yet.”

“But I’ll miss you so much!” I wailed, as tears escaped from my eyes.

Jack had smiled. “I’ll soon be back and I’ll keep in touch with you, Christina, honestly, I will.”

And he had. At first. He’d sent texts and emails nearly every day for the first four months, and I’d sat in my room, reading his words and longing for him. Then all communication just stopped.

I cried and cried until my mother and my friends ganged up on me and persuaded me to go out. That was months ago.

When he’d phoned me to tell me that he was back in town, I hadn’t known how to react.

It’s been over a year and you said you’d keep in touch.

“Where have you been?” I’d yelled.

“I know, but I went to some remote places,” he said before I heard him swallowing. “And then I met someone. She was called Carla. But I’ve finished with her now. So I was wondering if you’d like to meet up. We could go back to Luigi’s. It’s still there, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s still there,” I said, thinking how I’d avoided walking past the place ever since Jack had gone.

“OK. I’ll book a table then,” he said. “I’ll try and get the one at the back where we always used to sit, shall I?”

“Yes, that would be good,” I’d said as butterflies had danced in my stomach and I’d started thinking about what I should wear.

I’d opted for my favourite dress in the end, and I’d painted my long nails red, although they weren’t on display when Jack got to the restaurant because my hands were still in my lap.

“Christina,” he said, leaning down to kiss me on the cheek. “You’re looking good.” That surprised me because he’d always criticised everything about me before. “How have you been?”

“Fine,” I said.

“Good.” He sat down opposite me and picked at the wax on the wine bottle in front of him. “Look, I’m sorry I stopped replying to your messages, Christina. As I said on the phone, I went to some remote places, and then I met Carla and she didn’t want me to…”

“It doesn’t matter, Jack,” I interrupted, having decided that I might as well say what needed to be said as soon as possible so I could leave Luigi’s and head off to another table for two that I’d booked in a much nicer restaurant. “I met someone, too.”

Jack stared at me as if he couldn’t believe what I’d said.

“He’s called Tom,” I told him, putting my right hand on the table so he could see my beautiful nails. “And I’ve felt like a different person since I met him.”

“Well, your nails certainly look different,” Jack said brightly although his eyes were dull.

“Yes, they do,” I agreed as I held both hands out in front of me. My nails really did look amazing, but the third finger of my left hand looked even better.

It had been bare the last time I’d sat in Luigi’s, but Tom hadn’t packed his bags and gone away when we’d started talking about marriage.

He’d proved his love for me – and taken me straight to the jewellers to choose a beautiful diamond ring.

Our My Weekly Favourites series of lovely short fiction from our archives continues on Mondays and Thursdays. Look out for the next one.

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Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.