Memories raced back through Dolly’s mind, of her first husband, Jack.
She squeezed the handle hard, and as steam hissed out in front of her, she could see his face. His china blue eyes and quick smile. His fair hair, always perfectly coiffed, brushed back in a quiff with Brylcream. He had been a good‐looking man, in his day.
Running the iron back‐and‐forth, across the snow white fabric, she wondered what the owner of this shirt looked like. She inhaled the faint scent of Old Spice still ensconced in the size 18 collar. Obviously a tall man. Big build. Maybe along the lines of Gregory Peck? She hummed the music from Spellbound, seeing herself as Ingrid Bergman, as she deftly manoeuvred the iron in between the buttons.
Twenty minutes later, as she hung the last of the twelve shirts onto a hanger and covered them with plastic, she heard the bell above the front door jangle.
“Dolly, have you got the ironing for Margaret Harris finished yet?” shouted Paul from the counter.
“Just finished this minute, but it wasn’t due to be collected until Tuesday,” said Dolly. As she walked out to the counter with the crisp, white cotton; she glanced in the mirror. Her curly, auburn hair nestled around her neck, sticking out slightly on the right. Probably from all the steam, she thought, pushing it behind her ear. She pressed her lips together, enlivening the pale pink lipstick she had glided on earlier in the morning.
“Oh, sorry about that,” smiled the tall man at the counter. “My housekeeper, Margaret, normally does my ironing, but she slipped. Broke her arm. I just dropped them in this morning on my way for a round of golf and thought I’d check to see if there was any chance they were ready on my way back. Well, my luck is in,” he smiled at Dolly.
He had a nice smile, she thought. Well dressed too, in a black polo shirt and black trousers. His face was lightly sun‐tanned and his cheeks ruddy. His mop of grey hair stuck up in tufts, but it was his blue eyes, housed beneath long dark lashes, that drew her attention.
“Well, it wasn’t too busy today,” smiled Dolly, passing the shirts across the counter. Their fingers brushed and she felt a tingle of pleasure run up her arm.
“How much do I owe you?”
“That’ll be €12, please,” said Paul, ringing it up on the register.
“No doubt I’ll be in again, at least until Margaret recovers. She’ll be mighty impressed with the creases in these,” he laughed, holding up the shirts. He handed Paul a €20 note.
“Well, we aim to please Fr!” said Paul, counting back the €8 change.
Dolly sauntered back to her ironing board.
She was wrong, she thought, not Gregory Peck, maybe more like her third husband, John. Starting on a new bag of ironing, she began to hum the theme tune to True Grit.