She has been with me now for over thirty years, the girl in a blue dress I first saw in on a gloriously sunny June day in Wales. I was sitting on a long bench outside the Glendower Tavern with Sheen, a fellow trader, enjoying a pint of cold sharp beer drawn up from the tavernís dep cellars. It was a consolation for a poor dayís trading in the street market, wonderful summer weather seldom did traders such as us any favours.
"These towns on the holiday run are so unpredictable," complained Sheen, who had never been known to have a good day. Ask him how trade had been and he would sat "so Ė so, you know," as he stuffed bundles of banknotes into his pockets.
He carried on, "Last week I made a bundle in the pouring rain, this week its been great and Iíve only made a dayís wage. And I got my nose sunburned." He touched the cold glass to his reddened, aquiline nose. Sheen is not Jewsish, he did not even have dark hair but that nose was the thing stamped on most peopleís perception. Well that plus fact he was notoriously tight fisted.
"Why worry," I said, you made money. In the city centre you could have sweated all day, choked on traffic fumes and done no better. Nobody wants to be shopping on a day like this, here they head for the beach, in town they just try to find somewhere cool. B theut how many dayís like today do we get in Britain.?
"I hope you are right, a whole summer like this could bankrupt me, with expenses and all that I need to take money."
Sheen was much more business minded that I could ever be. He was always worried by the thought that he might take no money at all tomorrow or ever again.
I had different perspectives. "Stop moaning mate," I told him, "the life has compensations. Like this one."
For a few seconds I had been unable to take my eyes off her and by the time the words alerted Sheen my girl in the blue dress had almost drawn level with us. Many gorgeous women had passed through my field of vision before and since, but very few had such powerful physical presence. My eyes simply refused to look anywhere else.
She knew she was attractive, the self Ė confident, almost arrogant way she walked, as i challenging men to try not noticing, proved that. She also knew she was being watched and in return was watching me, subtly, her head slightly lowered to shade her eyes. She carried a small bundle of letters which suggested she worked in one of the offices around the centre of the small town.
Every detail impressed itself, the very short blue dress with clumpy, platform soled shoes that only great legs could make look good, strong hips sweepinmg in to a narrow waist and full breasts that, contained in a lihghtweight summer bra were lively without being unruly. Blonde bobbed hair framed her round face with its strong cheekbones and wide full lipped mouth. And most striking of all, her eyes, blue eyes intensified by the blue of her dress, with lids that brushed the top of her pupils which gave them a knowing, teasing look. The eyes enchanted me most of all.
"I see what you mean," Sheen said as she passed. He did not truly see though, having missed the fil face view.
We watched her strut away from us, exaggerating the swing of her hips for the benefit of her audience. The blue dress was so short we were treated to a glimpse of white panities as the flared skirt swung to the rhythm of her steps.
"Iím in love," I announced.
"Again? And what about Anne in Bala?" Sheen asked.
"Weíre not in Bala til Friday."
"And Cerys in Aberystwith?"
"Youíre in love with a different girl every day of the week you randy bugger."
"Except Sundays, I spend Sundays with my Mum."
"I think you spend Sundays catching up on sleep, I donít know where you get your energy."
"You got married too young mate, youíre talking like somebodyís Dad."
"Donít you feel guilty about stringing them along? I would but Iím a Catholic."
"I donít string them along, and Iím careful. Youíre a miserable bastard, let me have my moment, I will probably never see that girl again."
I did se her again, moments later as she came out of the Post Office and walked back towards us. The eye contact was full on this time and the chemistry was almost overpowering.
"Not as sexy as she loks from the back," Sheen observed, "her cheeks are pitted with acne scars. It spoils her."
Some people just donít get it, they really donít.
"The scars are what make her so special, I explained, "theyíre the imperfection that highlights all that is perfect. Without them she would be pretty but in a much more sterile way. If she comes in The Glendower tonight remember I saw her first."
As if sensing my approval the girl gave me a radiant smile as she passed.
I never did see her again, not in the flesh anyway. For more than three decades she has remained stamped on my mind or something deeper. My girl in the blue dress never grows old and is always as fresh and interesting as she was on that day. Her face will never develop lines nor her waist thicken.
And on hot days when I can smell the sea she always comes to me.