Thursday, October 16, 2014

From Bad to Worse

It wasn’t the evening that he planned. He brought her a small bouquet of flowers and took her to a moderately expensive restaurant for dinner. They walked along holding hands as the window shopped.  She wanted to stroll through the downtown and relax after the meal.
It wasn’t his fault that the heel of her shoe snapped off. No stores were still open to buy another pair. He couldn’t hail a taxi and her limping walk slowed them even more; shoe foot, bare foot, shoe foot.
He managed not to laugh when she stepped in some dog feces that an uncaring dog owner hadn’t collected. A nearby puddle of water on the walk beneath an air conditioner gave her some relief, then he gave her his handkerchief to wipe the worst of it away.
A sprinkle of rain began to intrude on their evening. He found shelter for them in a doorway with a sagging canvas awning, as the rain became a downpour. The awning filled, sagging more. A tearing sound, then a cascade of water as the awning gave way. His date was drenched. Water dripped from her hair and the hem of her dress.
He didn’t think his comment of “It may help to get rid of the doggie doo” made her feel any better. She gave me one of those “How dare you” looks. Her icy stare told me that the evening wasn’t going to end well.
Unable to hail a taxi, we caught a bus as it rolled by. We climbed aboard. Because of the rain, the bus was packed, with standing room only. All of the passengers stared at her as though she was an Apocalypse Zombie and moved to give her room. He had to admit that she didn’t look her best, but the crowd parted and gave them room. A puddle formed where we stood.
We exited the bus and it was still pouring. We were a block from her home. Silence reigned. I escorted her to her porch. She unlocked the door and went inside. There was no kiss, no hug, and not even a thank you. I said “Good night.” The bang of the door was my only answer.

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