For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #118, where we write about this photo from Dmitriy Ganin at Pexels. .
Peter was desperate. Why could he not find himself a girlfriend? Admittedly, he was excitable, but wasn’t that just his enthusiasm shining through? So, when his workmate, Paul, mentioned a friend, Peter jumped at the chance, and a blind date was arranged. Would this finally be the woman of his dreams?
Over-eager, Peter arrived at Mangia Merda restaurant early, but patiently sipped a soda water as he waited. Mary arrived on time, looking a picture in a strapless cream cocktail dress.
Moving to their table, Peter was so impressed that he dropped his guard. And, until the accident, things were going well. Blathering on, however, Peter’s hands motioned ever more excitedly until… CRASH – he caught Mary’s drained wine glass, which toppled over into the bread basket.
“Oops”, joked Peter, “nearly had you there”. Forgiving his clumsiness, Mary smiled weakly. “That’s okay, you’ll just need to be a bit more careful”, she soothed, as she picked up her glass. Pouring more wine, she carefully placed the glass out of Peter’s reach.
After the near-accident, Peter was slightly more cautious. It looked like Mary had forgiven him, he was having fun and the incident seemed to be forgotten.
The date ended abruptly, however, during their main course. Off-guard again, Peter’s usual excited self kicked back in. With his hands becoming more animated, Mary discreetly moved her glass away. She did not, however, realise that her plate was also too close, and during a particularly enthusiastic monologue, his hand struck it full force. A portion of spaghetti Bolognese slithered directly onto Mary’s creaminess.
Humiliated, Mary rushed to the restroom, emerging again only when her taxi arrived.
Left to reflect, it hadn’t been a bad date really, thought Peter. Not until the accident… And, what a shame they had skipped their goodbyes!
Calling Mary the next day to verify that she was safe, to inquire after the dress, her machine picked up. “Mary? It’s Peter. Just to apologise for last night. I hope you got home okay. Perhaps you could call me when you pick this up?”
No response, and four days later, Peter rang again. “Hi Mary? It’s Peter here. I left a message the other day, but perhaps your machine is faulty?”, and requested that she call again. Still no response.
Five days later, almost two weeks after their date, Peter tried one more time, with the same result.
Shortly afterwards, Peter saw Paul at work. “Hey”, began Peter, “I’ve been trying to contact Mary, I don’t suppose you’ve seen her?” Paul smiled to himself. What to say? He certainly couldn’t repeat what Mary had told him about this klutz.
“No, I haven’t seen her”, he lied, “Why don’t you try her one more time?”