Mallorcan Magic – Episode 01

On June 22, 1966, in the kitchen of Steven’s pint-sized flat, Eira Campbell flung her diamond ring at her fiancé’s feet.

“Do what you like with it!”

“I understand you’re angry, but if you’d only let me…”

“No way!” She shook her hair away from her face. “I’m going and I won’t be back. Ever.” She grabbed her handbag, struggling to control her breathing.

“You’re not thinking straight. All I ask is time to make up my mind. It’s in your best interests, Eira.”

Eira’s nails bit into the palms of her hands as she felt hot tears sting her eyelids.

“As you’re not sure whether you love me or not, Steven, I think you should be the one to tell everyone you’ve broken our engagement.”


Exactly one week later, Eira stepped inside the Comet aeroplane whisking holidaymakers from Heathrow and stepped out into Palma airport. Heat shimmered around her. London, left shivering beneath a dreary grey sky, seemed worlds away.

“Eira! Over here!”

She paused halfway down the aircraft steps and looked towards the voice.

“Hurry on through and we’ll see you in the arrivals hall.”

Eira’s friend, Helen, was beaming at her from a balcony above the tarmac. Beside her stood a tall young man, one tanned arm draped over her shoulders. Eira noticed how blissfully happy the couple looked.

Helen’s companion must be José – or was it Carlos or Juan or Antonio? Each name had featured in Helen’s letters or jumped from the backs of colourful postcards.

Eira queued, showing her passport to a uniformed, dark-eyed official.

“Enjoy your holiday,” he said, handing her passport back.

Eira crossed to the baggage carousel, waited anxiously for her suitcase to appear and lugged it towards the arrivals hall.

“About time! I can’t believe you’re here at last.” Helen threw her arms around Eira.

“Look at you,” Eira said, hugging her friend back. “Suntanned, slim and svelte.

Mallorca suits you, Helen.”

“In more ways than one. Let me introduce you to Antonio.” Helen turned to her patiently waiting escort.

Buenos Dias, Eira,” he said. “You have beautiful name. I have not met such a name before.” He took her hand and brushed his lips across it.

“It’s the Welsh word for snow.” Eira cleared her throat. She could understand Helen being attracted to him. “My mother was born in Wales,” she explained.

“And Wales is in England, I guess. Because you speak English and not Wales?” Eira giggled.

“It’s the country on the left when you look at a map of the British Isles. Most Welsh people are fiercely patriotic.” Antonio nodded.

“That I understand. We islanders have our own identity and think of ourselves as Mallorcan, not Spanish.” He raised his chin, eyes flashing, feet stamping, hands grasping an imaginary cape.

Eira blushed. Helen giggled.

“Behave. Eira, you’ll soon get used to Mallorcan men. Antonio has two younger brothers who can’t wait to meet you.”

Helen’s boyfriend picked up her suitcase.

“Take no notice of Helen, Eira. My brothers are teenagers. To my knowledge, neither is seeking a bride.” Helen chuckled.

“Antonio borrowed his father’s car so we could collect you in style.” She linked arms with Eira and the two followed the tall Mallorcan, Helen’s high heels clicking like castanets on the floor of the concourse.

“I hope it hasn’t inconvenienced Señor – um, what’s Antonio’s surname again?”

“Garcia, but I doubt you’ll meet Señor Garcia, senior, any time soon.” She lowered her voice. “I don’t conform to his notion of a suitable girlfriend for his eldest son.”

“Have you actually met Antonio’s parents?” Eira asked.

“I haven’t been introduced to his dad yet. Sadly, his mother died three years ago.”

“I’m sorry.”

Helen, too, had lost her mum. Could this be one reason for her friend becoming close to this local boy?

“I have a hunch Señor Garcia hopes Antonio will find a bride with the same qualities as his late wife.”

“Has Antonio said much to you about it?” Helen sighed.

“He insists it’s nothing personal, it’s because I’m not Mallorcan. There’s the religious side, too. Antonio’s father knows he’s old enough to make his own decisions, but can’t avoid dropping names of potential brides into the conversation.”

“I think he’d change his mind if he met you,” Eira said. “I also think, if you weren’t serious about Antonio, you wouldn’t care whether his father approved or not.” Antonio turned around.

“You two must have lots to catch up on.”

“It’s been a long time,” Helen agreed, her face lighting up as she looked at him.

Eira didn’t miss the loving look Antonio gave his pretty English rose in return. He pushed open the doors for the girls.

“The car is not so far away. You must be tired after your travels, Eira.”

She nodded.

“I got up very early to catch my train, but the sunshine’s helping already. I left a very dismal London this morning. You’d never believe it was May.”

“When we get to the flat, we can sit on the balcony so you can enjoy the warm weather,” Helen said. “I managed to swap lessons with another teacher so I could come to meet you.”

Eira longed for her first view of Mallorca.


Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!