Disclaimer Notice:  This is a work of fiction, not of fact!!!!


I have been dieting for months and I’m in fine fettle. I can see the admiring looks of several men as I enter the restaurant, along with the slightly irritated stares of their wives or girlfriends. I’m fresh from the beauty parlor: newly coiffed, manicured and pedicured, wearing a size smaller than I wore a month ago and several sizes smaller than a year ago. Feeling buff, I slide into a booth, fanning both hands over the smooth surface of the Formica table top, admiring my French manicure.

He enters the restaurant shortly after I do. Taking the long way around the aisle that runs between the tables in the center and the booths along the four sides, he scans the faces of diners with a curiosity that signals an interest in life. He is tall and intelligent-looking with a quirky doorknocker beard and mustache and a Hawaiian shirt—all elements of his appearance that call out for notice. I do not disappoint.

I watch him as he draws nearer, but drop my eyes as he approaches my booth. So it is that I am surprised when he stops in front of me and says, “May I ask you what you name is?”

I bring my eyes up to meet his. Is this the Cinderella story I’ve been waiting for my whole life? Quickly, my mind fills in the prior details. He noticed me on the road and followed me here. Or, he was driving by when he saw me enter the restaurant and, on a whim, seized the day and came in search of me. Or, this is an old and long-forgotten flame, someone from my past—a college or high school friend I haven’t seen for twenty years.

Without asking why or giving a smart answer, for once I merely answer the question. “Judy. Judy Dykstra-Brown,” I purr in a humorous, slightly sexy voice, not once looking away from his clear hazel eyes.

He does not disappoint. “I’ve been looking for you,” he says.

“I’ve been looking for you, too—for a very long time,” I answer in my best low flirtatious tone.

He reaches out toward me, and I extend my hand toward him as well; but in place of his own hand, he places something soft and warm in my palm.

“You must have dropped your wallet in the foyer,” he says to me, “You’re lucky that the right person found it.” He turns then and walks across the room to sit down at a table with a lovely woman in a white sundress and two darling tanned children. They are like a commercial for a Hawaiian vacation.

I open the wallet to see that all the money is intact, the driver’s license just slightly askew from where he must have withdrawn it to see the picture of its owner, and my mind replays his final words to me.  “You’re lucky.”

“Welcome to Perkins!” The waitress interrupts my thoughts in a perky voice, living up to the name of her place of employment. I take the menu she proffers and order humble pie.

The Prompt: Greetings, Stranger—You’re sitting at a café when a stranger approaches you. This person asks what your name is, and, for some reason, you reply. The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.” What happens next?



9 thoughts on “Interlude

  1. Allenda Moriarty

    I thought you were going to react in horror when you realized that he had seen your “pre-weight loss” photo on your driver’s license. Just be grateful that you didn’t drop that old passport photo, that you like to bring out for laughs on occasion. “Who is this woman????” Send him over to my table next time for a glimpse of someone who is working in reverse to disguise her formerly svelte self. Circus, here I come!


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  4. Ann O'Neal Garcia

    So much fun! I especially enjoyed the humorous “play” on the romance novel with just the right choice of panting words is part of its charm. I kinda knew how it was going to end. This could be the beginning of a novel, actually!


  5. okcforgottenman

    I choose to believe that he turned away to rejoin his shrill visiting sister and his young niece and nephew. He lingered over your driver’s license photo, imagined lightly brushing your bangs from your eyes as he repeated your name to himself to memorize it. He hopes you’re listed in the local phonebook, as he’d like a lovely woman to help him settle here in his new city. But he’ll have to wait for his sister to return to her home, far north. She would not approve.



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