It was the year halibut prices rose

It was the year halibut prices rose.
“What’s for tea mum” the kids would ask “Not halibut!” their mother would reply. “Too pricey.”
“Mum, we like halibut”..
“But we can’t afford it”.
Halibut was getting pricier, that much is true but there was a more pressing reason there was no halibut for tea that day. Mum had met a halibut that afternoon at the fishmongers and found him so charming, so suave and debonair that she had agreed to meet him later on that evening.
So while mum was doling out Brussels sprouts and broccoli she was thinking about her appointment later on, what should she wear? Where would they go? Should she kiss him on their first date, or was she just being old ?Things had changed since she’d been on a date and she was apprehensive.
The appointed time arrived and Mum checked her lipstick in her reflection in the window of the restaurant, did she look alright? Would the halibut even notice that she’d spent hours fussing with her hair and putting shoes together with bags?
“My you look wonderful tonight” gurgled the halibut as he leant forward to kiss her on the cheek.
“Thank you, it’s just an outfit I threw together” she lied
“Shall we?” halibut asked as he held the door open for her. The restaurant was busy but not crowded and as they entered the room the other diners looked round to see who this was with a halibut coming in. Was it always this way for halibut? Being stared at, being the object of derision and rude stares wherever they went in public? But then she noticed the faces were all smiling, not maliciously but with an air of welcoming.
“Your usual table sir?” the maitre d asked.
“I usually like to sit by the aquarium” explained the halibut as he cast a glance in the direction of the fish. “but tonight I’m all yours so we can sit wherever you like”
Mum was a little surprised when the halibut ordered the fish but then what could be more natural than a fish of halibut’s dimensions to eat other fish? However mum erred on the side of caution and ate beef.
“I was surprised you asked me here tonight, it’s so lovely but I’ve never been asked out when I’ve been visiting a fish shop before.”
“When I saw you it just seemed like the right thing to do, I’m not normally so impulsive but when our eyes met and I heard the lilting of your voice I knew I had to do something to get to know you a little better.”
Mum blushed lightly and as they went through the courses the conversation continued, of course the fish could really drink and mum wasn’t so used to the wine, Was she laughing too loudly at his jokes? Was she being a little too flirty? But she was so happy, it had been so long since Dad had left and she felt special, a way she hadn’t felt in quite some time, in the company of halibut. As the evening drew to a close halibut refused to split the bill and helped mum out of her chair, she took his fin as they left and strolled into the clement night air. Now we come to the factor mum had forgotten about but which now caused her the most stress, the taxi dilemma. Mum really liked halibut but didn’t know what to do, should she share a cab to get dropped at home, should she ask halibut in? Should she go back to halibut’s? What was he expecting in return for paying for dinner? Mum was in turmoil but halibut could see what was going through her mind and put her to her ease.
“I’ve had a wonderful evening you know,” he said “and I’d certainly like to see you again but I have an early start in the morning so you get home safely and I’ll give you a call tomorrow.”
“Thank you” said mum, kissing halibut firmly on the gill. “I had a fantastic time too and” she said with a wink “I think you’re quite a catch!”

It was the year halibut prices rose

Dan Cash

Brighton, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

What can happen following a chance meeting at a wet fish shop.

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