In response to a writing prompt at Write on Edge:
Write about a face to face meeting which, for better or for worse, doesn’t go as planned. Fiction or memoir, 450 words.
It had been thirteen months since Diana left Al. And with good reason. He had quit his job. He didn’t try to find work. At first he reluctantly did housework, but soon he parked himself all day in a lounge chair drinking and watching ESPN.
“If you leave, you might spend the rest of your life alone,” a friend had warned.
But wouldn’t anything be better than living with a freeloading drunk? Diana packed and moved while Al visited his brother.
She moped around her apartment, wondering if she had made a mistake. She stubbornly refused to answer Al’s calls or e-mails. Yet she missed him ---the Al she married, not the one she left.
Shaking herself out of her gloom, she exchanged her mousey style for an ash-blonde bob. She joined a gym and eliminated all white food, including sugar, eventually losing two dress sizes. She traveled to Greece.
Two days after her return, she joined an online dating service. Leery of posting personal information, she acquired a second e-mail address, calling herself The Greek Goddess. She gave no personal details and posted no photo.
She had corresponded with several men and had met two for coffee ---informal encounters she could leave quickly if necessary ---but nothing had clicked. Since the beginning of November, she corresponded with The Bear. She loved his self-deprecating humor. The Bear eschewed personal information, too, requesting a face-to-face where he promised to reveal all, but after two disappointments, Diana wanted to continue the online flirtation for a while.
The day after Christmas, in an e-mail, The Bear invited her to join him for dinner on New Year’s Eve. Within a few days, they agreed to meet in Giannopoulos' bar. She described herself as a blonde who would be wearing a red cocktail dress.
When Diana entered the bar, she saw several men who might be The Bear. And then, she froze. Sitting at the first stool was Al. She scampered behind him to find a seat at the far end where it was darker. She turned slightly toward the wall, hoping The Bear would hone in on her red dress.
She felt the presence of someone behind her. A seductive voice said, “If you’re The Greek Goddess, I’m Ursa Major.”
Diana turned to find Al standing behind her with a huge grin. The smile faded quickly.
“It, it’s you,” he stammered, “I’m sorry. I didn’t...”
Realizing she had been flirting with her own husband, Diana was speechless.
“I’ll go,” Al said. “I’m leaving.”
But Diana saw the tears in his eyes and put her hand on his arm as he turned to leave.
"Don't,” she said. “Let’s talk over dinner.”