The decor was elegant and her love of art apparent in the many seascapes and still life paintings adorning Alice’s walls. They sat on the couch and sipped coffee to which Alice had added a little brandy after John agreed and the conversation turned to Gloria’s Father. John had wondered about him and Alice seemed anxious to tell John that she was divorced and not on very friendly terms with her ex-husband. Alice told him that she had been divorced for five years and was doing just fine with her job as a Real Estate agent. The ex lived in another state and neither she nor Gloria had seen the “bastard” in several years. And what’s more, they liked it that way. Seems he was a big drinker and when he was drunk he became violent and abusive towards both Alice and Gloria.
“Sounds like you’ve had a difficult life with him,” John said.
“You might say that,” Gloria replied. “For the first few years alone, it was extremely difficult. Chuck was never an easy man to live with and he made it as hard on me as he could. Gloria was only a teenager then, so it was doubly hard.”
“You seem so self-assured and together now Alice.”
“Thank you, it took me quite awhile to get this far but I am doing great now. Real Estate has been good to me and I am considered one of the best agents in the office. I have been able to buy this house and provide Gloria with a good education. With practically no help from her Father. Of course therapy did help me more than I can say.”
John was getting a little uncomfortable with the conversation and tried to change the subject. “An attractive woman like you must have a lot of men friends,” he said.
“Not as many as you may think.”
“Really, I find that surprising.”
“Well I am very particular about who I go out with and when you get to my age the pickings are very slim,” she joked.
“You certainly don’t look that old Alice. What are you, about forty?”
Alice laughed and said, “try adding another ten or more years to that and you would be closer to the truth.”
“You are joking,” he asked?
“Not a bit,” Gloria said.
John was strongly attracted to Alice and learning that she was closer to his age, he thought that he may have a chance with her after all. So he jumped in and asked her if she would go out with him to dinner sometime.
“I’d like that John,” she said and kissed him impulsively.
He was a little startled but not so much that he didn’t respond by kissing her back.
On the drive back home John’s thoughts were filled with Alice and how soon he would see her again. He was in a rosy glow and wasn’t paying as close attention to the road as he should have been. So as he rounded the corner near his house, he didn’t notice the oncoming car until it was too late. The crash was so loud it brought all of the neighbors who lived close by out onto their lawns. One of the neighbors called 911 and they arrived soon after. As John lay bleeding on the side of the road, with the red lights swirling around, the thought dawned on him, that he wouldn’t be able to keep that date with Alice.
To be continued.