Thursday, October 2, 2014

Walking into Sunset

 She ironed the fancy tee she meant to wear to her date tonight-- the first in 30-odd years. Her suitor (calling him that in her mind helped keep a lid on the creeping panic) had suggested dinner and a walk on the pier, at sunset. Romantic, but not overly so, as they both knew there would be a good crowd of families and other couples doing the same, everybody savoring the last week or two of warm weather they were likely to get. Still a nice idea, and knowing where they'd eat meant she could pre-plan a decent meal that wouldn't be heavy on the garlic, the calories, or the more gas-inducing vegetables, which had all become something of a consideration after her 52nd birthday.

 Picturing it in her mind helped-- the kids running after the guy that sold helium balloons, the paired off teenagers pretending they were too cool to hold hands when they were dying to, really-- all of it against a backdrop of melting bronze and softly lapping waves. Patty could see it, now, and if she could see it she could handle it, however bad or good-- it was the unforeseen that often rattled her. Her afternoon was blocked out to avoid worry-- pressing her outfit, a cool bath, a quick home pedicure to show off with her new sandals, and then she would put on her makeup slowly, not in the usual rush. Her hair had been cut and colored at the salon yesterday, and didn't need more than a final flick of styling gel. She'd get there early and wait at the patio bar, sipping a glass of wine, calm and pretty-- a perfect plan.


 The downpour began while she was in the tub. She cut herself shaving her legs, and cursed the rain, but maybe it would stop in time to dry up and leave her plan intact. Then an hour later, as she started to apply her foundation, the phone rang: it was David, calling about their evening. It was still raining while she answered.

"They say it's going to keep drizzling for hours, so I was thinking, maybe instead of me meeting you by the water, you could come downtown-- I know a fantastic Italian place, they have the best calamari you've ever tasted. We could window shop or go hear some music afterwards; what do you think?"

Patty was glad he couldn't see her grimace at the mention of calamari, but she wanted to be flexible, so she forced a cheery tone in reply, "Sounds wonderful. I'll just bring an umbrella."

 David chuckled, a throaty, sexy sound, "You won't need it. I've got one, and we can walk for a mile and a half under awnings here and never get wet."

 "Where do I meet you?" she asked, and he gave her the directions. It was just about as far downtown as you could go without leaving downtown, she realized as she hung up-- and she'd have to hurry to get there in time. Why hadn't she asked for an extra half hour? Plus, her sunset-on-the-pier outfit was too casual for dinner downtown. The sandals, too, would have been fine for a slow walk on sand or the wooden walkways near the lake, but they weren't going to be as comfortable for walking a mile and a half of pavement. Worrying over a new outfit made her hands shake, and she messed up her mascara, wasting more time.

"You're fussing yourself into a bad night," she told the woman in the mirror, and the woman smirked and gave her the finger. They both laughed, and she teased her hair into shape with her fingers, quickly. The overall effect was not bad-- it didn't look as if she had rushed. Her wide cheekbones looked reasonably fresh and dewy, and her lipstick was subtle, giving most of the attention to her eyes, deep set and brown flecked with a little gold. It was a face she could live with, provided the rain didn't make it all run and pool on her chin. She spritzed on a modest amount of Miss Dior and hurried to find a new outfit-- something that didn't need ironing.


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