Write from the Heart - Story Story Contest. How about an unusual date?
|"Dating? Now? Are you kidding me? How are you supposed to get close enough to know if there is a spark? I can't get a feel for someone over the bloody computer. I've spent enough time over the internet with work. I have no interest in sitting there trying to make small talk through the lens of a tiny screen."|
"I know it's frustrating darling...."
"You don't know the half of it..." Carl grumbled looking at his mother through that same tiny screen.
He was sick and tired of being cooped up in his tiny apartment. Wary of going out; of getting too close to anyone. He was starting to worry he was getting a little agoraphobic. He was also worrying about not getting any. What if he forgot how to do it? He'd be laughed out of... he would surely lose his sanity.
"Mrs. Robin's daughter..." his mother began, but Carl waved her off.
"No more setups, mother. This whole situation is crazy without adding weird on top of it."
He'd already had a few disastrous 'dates' over the internet with woman his mother had claimed were lovely young women. He didn't have the heart to tell her the truth. One of the girls was so sexually out there she had started to strip right there in front of him. Then her boyfriend had shown upand started yelling. He'd cut the connection... and gone to take a cold shower. No more. That was just too... much for him.
After he signed off. He closed his computer and headed out onto the balcony. He needed to clear his head. All day, he'd been hearing a lot of banging and booming around in the apartment above him. He'd swear the place was going to come down on his head, but now all was quiet.
He pulled in a deep breath and blew out a heavy sigh.
"You sound like I feel," a voice carried out over the air.
Carl looked up to see a rather sweet looking young woman looking down at him from the balcony above.
"Hey," he said after swallowing his momentary surprise.
Her blond hair fluttered in the breeze, veiling her face, but he could still see her smile. It was warm and welcoming.
"I just moved in. Sorry about all the racket today. My brothers are not the most delicate when it comes to moving furniture. They do it for the beer and pizza, then disappear when the real work of putting things away needs to be done." She chuckled and Carl's heart kicked up at the sound.
Could a laugh be melodious? Or was he seriously losing it?
"I'm Stacey," she told him, giving a little wave.
Carl could not keep the grin from his face as he waved back.
"I'd offer you a beer, but they cleared me out. Ate most of my food after they disseminated the pizza. I love 'em to death, but I could kill them."
They shared a laugh.
"I'm not much of a drinker, but I have pop," he said, not sure how he would get it up to her.
"Hmmm. What kind?"
"Ah... let's see. Cream Soda or Orange Crush."
"Ohhhhh. My two favourites...."
I was going to make popcorn," he told her, feeling a little giddy from this odd sort of conversation.
"Seriously, I love popcorn. If your willing to share? I have a bucket."
Unable to stop himself, Carl laughed. He could hear her merry sound join with his. When he was able to control himself, he said, "If you can find a way to get it down here, I'd be willing to share."
"Oh don't you worry. For one of those pops and some popcorn, I'll make it work. Where there's a will, there's a way.... or some silly twit trying to MacGyver a way to make it happen."
Again he laughed. "I'll be right back," he told her as she went to figure things out.
By the time he returned with the popcorn and two small bottles of pop, she was lowering an empty sand bucket tied with a red skipping rope with a black handle.
He could not wipe the grin off his face. His woman was funny. It had been a long time since he had such fun.
Her head popped into view as she grinned down at him. "Ta Da!" she trilled at him. "I figure we can do the pop first, then the popcorn."
"That sounds like a plan. Which pop would you like?"
"Surprise me," she said, giving a jolly chuckle and grinning at him. He liked the way her eyes twinkled with mischief and merriment.
He put the Cream Soda in the bucket and watched it slowly rise from his balcony to hers.
When she lowered it again, he poured the popcorn into the bucket after she told him it was clean.
"Now we can share our feast together," she told him when she had her popcorn and Cream Soda. "Kind of like a balcony picnic." When Carl laughed, she joined in after claiming, "It was a thing... or at least, if it wasn't, it was now. We had invented it."
Intrigued, he stayed out on the balcony and ate with her. They talked. Sharing bits of their lives and telling tales. He had never felt so comfortable with a woman before. He had never laughed so much or so hard in a long time.
At eleven, she lowered her voice to a whisper and told him the time. "I don't want to get in trouble with any other neighbours. Maybe we can do this again sometime.... say, tomorrow."
"Certainly," he told her, already looking forward to more time with her.
"I make a mean beef stir fry. We can share a meal. I'll make it easy on you and drop it off at your apartment door. I'll make sure to follow all Covid Protocols - gloves and mask. What do you say?"
"Yeah, that sounds good," he said grinning.
"Six sound good?"
"yeah, that's great."
"If you're up for it. I can even read you some of a book I'm reading... it'll be like a radio play.... only I'll be reading and making up the voices."
By the end of the week they were taking turns reading to each other. He had never enjoyed himself more.
Word Count = 1053.