It was a few weeks after the wedding and Gloria and Paul were established in their new apartment. John had not heard from Gloria about the dinner she had invited him to which was going to include Alice. He was actually looking forward to it. His life was pretty boring especially since he didn’t work anymore and his friends were all still married and moving in different circles.
One day when he was fixing a spartan lunch of cottage cheese and fruit with a cup of tea, the phone rang. He didn’t get many phone calls and he got a little excited thinking it was Gloria.
“This is John,” he said.
“Hi John, this is Alice.”
“Oh hi Alice, how are you?”
“I am fine. I was just wondering when we were going to lunch? Remember?”
“Why uh yes…..did we set a definite time?”
“Well no but I thought time is getting away from us so maybe we better set a time and day. What do you think?”
“Why that would be great,” he said. “Do you have a place in mind?”
“I thought Geno’s would be nice. I love Italian food. How about you?”
“Yes I like it too,” he said.
So after getting the directions to Geno’s, John hung up and did a little dance around the room. He was excited.
Wednesday came around fast and he was on his way to Geno’s to meet Alice. John had dressed in his good slacks and a bright yellow tennis shirt. He did look pretty spiffy if he did say so. He even started humming a tune as he neared the restaurant. It was only a lunch date but Alice was an attractive woman and she seemed to like him.
Geno’s proved to be an ideal meeting place for Alice and John’s first date. It was informal with red and white checkered table cloths and a bottle of wine on each table. John saw Alice at one of the tables waiting and rushed over thinking he was late.
“No, you are not late,” she said.
“I guess you must be early then, he gushed.
“I had a few other errands to run so I ended up here early. No problem tho,” she said
John ordered the best red wine they had to impress Alice. Then they both had spagetti and both thought the sauce was delicious. They also decided to get salads and garlic bread.
They chatted about mundane things since they really didn’t know each other that well. The evening was pleasant and when they arrived at Alice’s house, she invited John in for coffee.
The decor was elegant and her love of art was apparent in the many seascapes and still life paintings adorning the walls. As they sipped coffee to which Alice added a little brandy, the conversation turned to Gloria’s father. John had wondered about him and Alice seemed anxious for him to know that she was divorced and not on very friendly terms with her ex-husband.
“How long have you been divorced? he asked?
“It’s been about five years now,” she stated.
“Has it been very difficult for you?”
“Well for the first few years it was extremely difficult. Chuck was not an easy man to live with and he made it as hard on me when we separated as he could. He refused to pay any alimony or split the proceeds of the house after it was sold. I had to take him to court to get anything out of him,” she said. She seemed to be recalling the scenes from the past.
“You seem to be doing very well now,” John said.
“Yes I am but it took a few years to get a job and find my own place and all,” she said
I was in therapy for a long time.”
John was getting a little uncomfortable with the conversation and tried to change the subject.
“An attractive woman like you must have many men friends,” he said
“Not as many as you may think.”
“Really, no one in particular then?”
“No,” she said sadly. “Besides, I am getting older now and a woman’s chances of finding someone dimishes with age.”
“You are not that old.” John said
“I am fifty five now,” Gloria stated.
“You certainly don’t look you age Alice. I never would have guessed.”
“Thanks John, you are too nice.”
John was thinking that Alice was more his age than Gloria was and he was liking her more and more as he got to know her. When he was leaving he asked if he could see her again. Maybe a movie or dinner again?
Alice quickly agreed and gave him an impulsive kiss. John was a little startled but not so much that he didn’t respond. He kissed her back lingeringly. After a long goodby, he finally left with plans to get together soon.
On the drive home John’s thoughts were filled with Alice and how soon he would see her again. He decided to drive around for awhile untill his head cleared from the brandy and the heady kisses. He looked down at the speedometer for a second. When he looked up again there were headlights in his eyes and a car was coming directly at him. The crash was very loud and John was thrown clear and as he lay on the pavement bleeding, he knew he was never going to be able to keep that date with Alice.
– Finis –