Dawn, as in Delta Dawn, the prettiest woman you ever laid eyes on, like the lady from the song, is going to meet her Mr. Right today. She’d heard all about him: how he’s from France and exotic and real handsome to boot. He’s been opening the CoCo Nouveau for only a few weeks, but Dawn can’t waste any time and risk loosing him to one of the town hussies. Not that she’s a hussy, she just knows this is the one for her; she can feel it.
‘Hold up. I’ve gotta check my makeup,’ says Dawn, stopping at a shop window, taking advantage of the reflection. She always has her makeup case, a boxy vintage suitcase loaded with all her makeup and beauty products.
‘Image is important,’ she says, ’You’ve gotta look good if you’re gonna find a good man.’
‘Mom, jeez…you look beautiful as ever. Let’s goooo.’
‘Be quiet, Dharma, this is important. You want me to find you a new daddy don’t cha.’ Nine year old Dharma puts up with her mom’s antics about finding a husband and a daddy for her because, even though she loves her crazy mom, she’s tired of looking out for her and she’s ready to let someone else to do it. Dharma takes care of everything while her mom stays focused on getting more beautiful and finding a husband and living happily ever after in a mansion in the sky, just like in the song.
‘Neither of you are gonna find a man if you keep gawking at yourself or whining about it. I’m hungry. There better be real food at this chocolate place,’ Nanna grumbles as usual. Nanna is Dawn’s grandma and she’s the grumpiest old lady in town. If she’s not at the post office screeching at the clerk for folding her mail you might find her chasing Mr. Chester’s cat out of her garden with a broom. Nanna came along today out of pure curiosity. She doesn’t understand why Dawn wants a man anyway; they’re not really good for anything.
Dawn straightens her blouse and flattens her skirt, checks her teeth for lipstick and… ‘Oh fudge, I don’t know if I can do this.’
‘Mom, jeez…Yes you can. Just like last time.’ The always supportive Dharma takes her mom’s hand and leads her the rest of the way to Coco Nouveau.
The shop door is all glass with brand new hand painted lettering reminding anyone who enters what they’re there for. The side window has painted images of chocolate candy and the red and white checkered tables cloths could be seen through the unpainted portions. How french indeed, thought Dawn, I wonder if he speaks english.
After a short pause and a very deep breath, Dawn opens the door to a tiny ringing bell and takes a step inside. She doesn’t notice the café music playing in the background, the tiered plates of chocolates or the shelves filled with cakes. She doesn’t notice the other patrons have stopped chatting and eating to look at the spectacle that is her; a thirthy-something woman dressed to the nines: tight leopard print mini, three inch red heels, lacy white blouse with boobs bursting out the top, big hair (coifed and sprayed) and bright red lipstick. The only thing Dawn sees is the beautiful man working behind the counter. In slow motion he looks up from his work to gaze straight into her eyes. Dawn realizes that she’s holding her breath and lets out a big sigh. ‘He’s perfect’ she says in a whisper.
‘Outta my way, missy,’ Nanna barges past Dawn, snapping her out of her daze, and makes her way to the only empty table.
‘Go get him, Delta Dawn‘ Dharma says, scooting by her mom.
The man grins at the commotion and Dawn is sure he’s smiling at her. Embarrassed, she blushes a hot pink, fluffs up her hair and walks as alluringly as she can to sit with Nanna and Dharma.
Nanna’s cranky voice carries, ‘He doesn’t look french. Where’s his striped shirt and that neck scarf thing. He doesn’t even have a moustache or one of those funny french hats.’
‘It’s called a beret, Nanna, and not all french men wear them,’ Dharma says.
Looking over the menu Nanna protests, ‘Just like I thought, no real food.’ She reaches into her wicker handbag and pulls out a cold piece of fried chicken. Dharma doesn’t seem surprised at all, but Dawn is annoyed.
‘Put that away. You’re embarrassing me’ says Dawn
Refocusing her attention, Dawn scopes out her new husband as he works behind the counter. He is beautiful; short, but beautiful. His skin is the colour of carmel and his eyes are as dark as tar. A thick mop of curly black hair is netted in place and he wears a crisp white chefs coat; the kind you see the professionals on those TV cooking shows wear. He checks the thermometer sticking out of the pot and pours some of the dark shiny thick chocolate all over his marble counter and using a big spatula he smears it all over. Dawn can’t stop staring at him, watching him work. She’s awestruck by his strange talent and imagines him creating their own wedding cake.
At the counter, Dawn stands silently dreaming. She envisions the man, shoulders sprinkled with cocoa and fingers sticky with chocolate, reach across the counter puckered up to give her a big juicy passionate carmel kiss…
‘Miss…Miss, what can I get you?’ says the mysterious dark haired man.
‘Oh, can I have two of those?’ says Dawn, ‘Please,’ she adds in her best I-want-to-marry-you voice. The man passes her the chocolates with the faded rose candies on top.
‘They match the flower in your hair,’ he says.
Sitting with her family, Dawn gingerly holds the flowered chocolate and says dreamily, ‘I’m in love.’