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Meeting Loneliness

She lay the tickets on her small square kitchen table and stared at them … again. Should she go? This morning she had been so excited. Four days fully paid, room and meals, at a premium Golf Resort in Asheville. The fact that she had never played golf in her life didn’t matter. It was a resort where they pampered you. It probably had sunken baths and cloth robes and slippers. She had read of such things in magazines and had always wanted to try them, but the real reason she had wanted to go was because Michael had agreed to go with her.

Michael was handsome and charismatic. He had beautiful blue eyes and golden hair not like her mousy brown. He would always say “hi” to her in the morning and “good evening” at night. After she had won the tickets (It had cost her ten dollars to buy the five tickets in the church raffle) she had asked him to come.

“It’s just that it is for two, and I have no family in town,” She had stammered,”  and as you are a friend, I thought you might appreciate free food, and you do play golf don’t you? I’ve seen you practice with the putter, and otherwise it will go to waste, and that would be a shame, because it’s fully paid for…”

Michael had said “yes”, and for two entire weeks Shawn, for that was her name, was over the moon with joy.  A vacation alone with the man she adored. It didn’t matter if he went off to play golf without her. The fact that they would be there together. That he would be thanking her for bringing him, that was more than she had ever imagined in her wildest dreams.

But then it was only a dream. This morning, Michael had called to say that friends had come into town and he couldn’t go. “Good luck, and be sure to send me a postcard.” he had said callously as her heart was breaking.

Early tomorrow morning the bus would leave with her or without her. She hadn’t decided which. She stacked the magazines that cluttered her table and pushed them over into a corner carefully placing the tickets on top. Then she dusted the crumbs onto the floor only then noticing that the toaster oven was burning her sandwich. She rushed over and pulled out the blackened bread burning the tips of her fingers. She unplugged the oven as a steam of black smoke came out making her cough.

She licked her fingers and walked out of the kitchen to open the window in her tiny sitting room. The only way to get a breeze, however, was to also open the front door, so she unlocked it and pushed the door open breathing deeply.

It was an overcast day with the promise of rain, but even so it was usually dark even on a sunny day because the alley-like street that she lived in blotted out the sun. She left the door of her apartment open and walked past the low brick wall that surrounded the apartment complex to see if there was a better breeze near the street. A woman was standing on the side of the road. She was holding a shoe in her hand. Her reddish bun of hair stuck out over an expensive fur collar. She stared at the shoe unmoving.

“Can I help you miss?” Shawn asked her. The woman turned toward her. She had a tear on her cheek. She stared at Shawn as if she recognized her.

“Yes.” she uttered in a tiny voice. ” please help me. I seem to have broken the heel off of my shoe. Do you have any glue. Perhaps I can fix it.”

Shawn smiled at her, “I don’t think that glue will do it. Are you lost? Do you want me to call you a taxi or something?”

“No” she insisted in a quiet voice that nonetheless rang out like a bell in the quiet street. ,” Could I please sit a moment in your kitchen?”

Many a time Shawn’s mother had berated her for her trust. She had let salesmen into the house. Got into cars with strangers, and done all sorts of things that a single woman living alone shouldn’t do. Over and over her mother berated her, and yet over and over she kept trusting people, and so far, it had all been alright. She saw this woman in her fancy clothes asking to come in like a lost puppy and she couldn’t say no. “Come on in. I live right over here.” She said.

NEXT

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