Agnes prepares for a date with Henry

This continues the story of Agnes and Matilda. It remains untitled. This section comes before The Postcard. The other sections are: Agnes, Where is Mama?, David’s AccidentAt the AirportThe Woman in the Photograph, Back at Henry’s House, and RRH – SEX. Constructive criticism is always appreciated. Especially since I’m not going back to previous sections and I’m sure there will be continuity errors. What can I say? It’s a first draft.

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Henry straightened his tie and looked in the full-length mirror.

He looked ridiculous. The only time he ever wore ties was for business meetings, and those rarely ever happened these days. The bars were all running smoothly. And, given the tropical location, most of the meetings these days involved more brightly-colored Hawaiian shirts and sandals than suits and ties.

He stared at the tie in the mirror. At least he wasn’t wearing a complete suit. Black slacks, button-up shirt, tie. He wanted to look nice, but he also wanted to be comfortable. He wanted to be himself. He wanted to look like himself.

He ripped the tie off, wadded it up into a ball and tossed it into a corner of the bedroom. Then he left the house before he could second-guess his decision.

Henry opted to walk to the restaurant. He had an hour before they were meeting, the walk would take about 20 minutes. Then he could make sure to get a table and be waiting for her when she arrived. He hated the idea of her waiting for him.

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She stared at herself in the only mirror in the hotel room. She was disappointed that she couldn’t see her whole body, but at least the top half looked decent. Her hair was actually being obedient and wasn’t frizzing too badly in the humidity. The dress she’d bought the day before was an adorable summer dress that brought out a confidence in her she hadn’t had in a long time.

She slipped on a pair of low-heeled sandals, loving how they made her legs seem longer, thinner, sexier. Glancing in the mirror one more time, she assured herself the dress was not too short, and then she left the hotel.

In the lobby, she went straight to the concierge desk. She’d gotten to know the young man very well since she’d arrived. He was standing behind the desk, looking ready to give her any information she required. She gave him the name of the restaurant and within what seemed like mere seconds he was handing her a map and writing out detailed instructions on how to get there. He told her it would take less than 10 minutes to walk.

She thanked him profusely until his cheeks blushed slightly pink, and then headed out the front door.

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When she arrived at the restaurant, Agnes hesitated for a moment. She stood on the sidewalk, by the corner, out of sight of the large window in front of Lorenzo’s. The watched cars drive lazily by. She felt the cool breeze blow through her hair. She could taste the salt in the air. She thought it tasted differently from the west coast’s salty air, but she couldn’t be sure. She hadn’t seen the Pacific Ocean in a very long time.

She watched a couple leave through the double wooden doors she was to enter. His hand around her waist. Their heads bent together in an intimacy that told Agnes this was no first or second date. She glanced at the man’s face and lost her breath.

She stared as his face. She told herself it was not David. It could not be David.

As the couple passed her, she felt herself breath again. It was not him.

She surprised herself occasionally, seeing his face on strangers. She’d catch a glimpse of his dimpled cheeks, his deep green eyes, his strong jaw.

She looked toward the restaurant again. What was she thinking? She was supposed to be a wanderer, a nomad. Florida was a stop over until she could be off on a new adventure. One greater than any she’d had in the past almost-40 years of living in the States.

Should she really be going on a date? When she’d met Henry at he bar, he was so nice, smart, good-looking. She’d had fun mildly flirting with him when he asked to buy her a drink. She drank in his attention. So when he’d asked her on a “proper” date – she smiled remembering his awkwardly formal wording – she didn’t hesitate to say yes.

She shook her head to get the doubts out of her head. It was just dinner. She might as well have a little bit of fun in these last weeks stateside.

She threw her shoulders back, hoping a feigned confidence would appear genuine, took a deep breath, and walked into the restaurant.

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