Thursday, July 1, 2010

Missed

She perched on the high iron stool at a bistro table checking her watch for the third time in five minutes. Her fingers worried the petals of the pink flower as she turned it over and over unaware of the velvet texture. Her penchant for correctness compelled her to arrive exactly five minutes early. As she entered the brick alley she noticed a small shrub of ball-like blooms in shades of pink and palest blue. Uncharacteristically plucking one of the pink balls from a stem she carried it with her to the table to wait.

He’d said he be there at precisely 7 pm...right here in this very public garden in the middle of town. She’d even specified which table she’d be sitting at. Her face blushed pink as she told him over the phone, "I’ll be waiting at the table just after the blue painted ’57 Chevy and next to the bare-chested man holding the leash of his dog."

He couldn’t possibly miss the designated meeting place. There were only three alleys lined with paintings, plantings, and places to sit, each one a small oasis hovering between buildings in the small town.

When she first arrived, she quickly opened her purse, took out the small compact checking for feathering lipstick or smeared mascara, but everything looked good...well good enough or as good as it’s going to get, she thought. She’d painted her toes and fingernails a rosy pink that matched the lipstick, put on a simple sundress, grabbed a light cardigan sweater, just in case the summer evening turned cool, and headed out the door her heart thumping beneath a flat chest. Trying to orchestrate how he would first see her, she crossed her left leg over the right and then switched. She smoothed her skirt down, fussed with her hair, and waited.
As she sat alone, time moved at the pace of the snail she watched sliding across the cool bricks to the other side of the alley. Fifteen minutes after her arrival, she picked up the flower again. Her fingers pulled tiny flowers from the head as she stared at the arched back entry anticipating his arrival any moment now.

I wish I’d stopped and got a drink, she thought as her mouth dried from anxiety doubled with annoyance. He’d promised to pick up a latte for her on his way to the meeting, but of course, he’s not here.

"How long should I wait? He’s not coming. I just knew he wouldn’t," she whispered as she strangled the ball of blossoms crushing the remaining tender flowers in her tight fist.

At exactly 7:25 she scooted off the stool, tossed what was left of the hydrangea on the table and walked through the arch to her car.

Five minutes later, right on time, a tall, thin man wearing black-rimmed, coke-bottle thick glasses approached the bistro table just after the ’57 Chevy, but before the bare-chested man holding his dog’s leash. From his pocket, he took out a piece of paper scribbled with directions...Meet at 7:30 on Saturday. The only thing waiting for him was a pile of pink bruised flower petals lying on the table. He stood contemplating what to do for the next few ticks of the clock while he rolled a floret in his fingers. He dropped the tiny pink ball he’d formed and walked away sipping a latte.

4 comments:

Aurora said...

Augggggh - how frustrating ! Very well written because it is so plausible. I can feel her hurt and his bruised ego.

septembermom said...

Very interesting and well written. I liked the pace very much.

Teresa O said...

Thanks, Aurora and septembermom for your thoughtful comments.

Carrie said...

oh how true it is... this has happened to me on several occasions, and I always had the thought in my head, just as i walked away, "will he show up just after I leave?" as I'd look back over my shoulder, just to be sure. what a frustrating little story...