Nothing in her wildest dreams had prepared Doreen Wilkinson for something like this. But then, nothing had prepared her for winning the lottery either.
Several million. Several million. Eleven million, three hundred and fifty four thousand, two hundred and ten pounds and nineteen pence to be precise.
She had giggled at the nineteen pence. “Break the bleedin’ bank that will!”
The media had made the comment a headline, “19p to break the bleedin’ bank!” splashed all over the Sun and Daily Mirror accompanied by her smiling face and a fountain spray of champagne. She had thought it a waste shaking that great big bottle and letting it fizz everywhere, but the reporters had told her to do it.
Giggling at the memory, dressed in her silk pyjamas, Doreen, stepped out on to the terrace. The warm morning air that caressed her face was in stark contrast to the chilled champagne she was sipping. She giggled again at drinking champagne before the sun had got out of bed. Padding to the end of the terrace, her bare feet absorbing the heat from the ceramic tiles, she looked out in awe over the Villas Bonitas complex of luxury villas. Apart from in films she had never seen exotic plants and trees, meandering tiled pathways and white-walled, red-roofed villas with sprawling private terraces. But then, she told herself, she had never won the lottery or been abroad before either. In fact she had never had a proper holiday full stop.
As the sun began to rise the solar lights that lit the gardens during the hours of darkness began to fade. Doreen watched, mesmerized, as the colours of the neatly maintained gardens surrounding each individual terrace gradually turned from sombre shades to vibrant greens, reds, pinks and yellows, and the shadows darkening the walls of each villa changed to a dazzling white. In the distance she could just make out the silhouette of the volcanic mountains as the rising sun cast its morning rays against their dark, jagged shapes.
Drinking the last drops of her champagne Doreen sighed with contentment. She had not known such beauty existed. Even the air had a sweet fragrance to it. She closed her eyes and inhaled the heady perfume - a high pitched shriek pierced the stillness - startled, she opened her eyes to see a yellow parrot dart past, almost within touching distance, its wings fanning her face. No sooner had the parrot disappeared into the tall palm trees, another, more muted sound rippled through the sultry, morning, air.
She frowned as she heard it again; looked left and right to locate where it was coming from. Giggled. She had half an idea what was going on and was surprised that such naughty cries could be heard in such a posh place. Grinning she went to sip her champagne, tipping the glass to her lips, realised it was empty. Pulling a face, she ambled back across the terrace and stepping through the wide open patio doors, giggled. “Someone’s enjoying a good time.”
Blinking rapidly, her eyes struggling to focus after the brightness of the terrace, squinting, Doreen looked around the lounge. “Blimey,” she cried seeing glasses and a couple of empty bottles on one of the low coffee tables. A makeup bag, its contents scattered on the dinning table and an open magazine lay on the floor near one of the sofas.
“God what am I like?” she muttered as she reached for a packet of cigarettes and a lighter.
Taking a drag from her newly lit cigarette, Doreen looked at her watch. It was still early, she thought as she paused outside her daughter Trisha’s door. Should she peep in? Her only daughter had gone out clubbing the night before, no doubt got home in the early hours. Her hand half way to the door handle, she wondered, had she heard Trisha come in? She tried to think, but could not remember hearing any sounds; but then, she had been dead to the world, her first decent night’s sleep in weeks.
“Youngsters,” she giggled, “on the go all day, party all night. Don’t know where they get their energy from.”
Shaking her head, still giggling, she wandered to her bathroom. What she would give to be seventeen again!