Monica often wished that she was back in Sydney, Australia. On a day like today, she could go out to the beach and lie there with her friends. In Ireland it was what they thought of as summer, but truly it was not a day for the sand. Still, she hadn’t come to Ireland looking for a life of surf. She had come as part of a great world tour. It was going to start with a week in Rome, and then a week in Dublin and six weeks hitchhiking around the rest of Ireland, then a dozen other lands before going back. But something strange had happened – after the week in Rome she had arrived in Dublin totally broke. It wasn’t exactly that her money had been stolen or lost or anything. It was just that she had managed to spend in one week almost all her two years’ savings. It was all because of a man called Antonio. It was hard to realise quite how, but this had somehow happened. And so, on her first day in Ireland, she needed a job. There was an advertisement in the newspaper that she read on her way in from Dublin airport. She phoned for an interview and got the job in a restaurant. It was called Quentins. ‚You’ve fallen in love, that’s why you’re still there,’ her mother accused her by e-mail. But it wasn’t true. What happened was that Monica had settled in. She had worked in eleven different jobs since she left college, but for some reason she could never understand, Quentins was the first place she really called home. Patrick Brennan, the chef who taught her how to cook when things weren’t too busy, his younger brother, called Blouse for some reason, who was a little less than intelligent but certainly not a fool. Patrick’s cool, reserved wife Brenda, who seemed to know everyone in Dublin. She felt as if she was some kind of a younger sister, part of the family. Monica was part of this team and she liked it. No need to move on. For the moment.
adapted from Maeve Binchy, Brown Paper Cover

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