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Old 09-06-2012, 03:25 PM
redrobin62 (Offline)
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Message in a Bottle

Online dating sites infuriated Tyrance. He tried his best to believe the posters, but after encountering a few less that desirable dates, he was inclined to think nearly everyone exaggerated their passions, interests or desires. So it was with much trepidation that he took Shelley up on her offer to rendezvous at a midtown restaurant. He swore to himself that if the next lady he met stated she was related to the queen of England, he’d simply burst into flames.

As usual, he wore his faded blue jeans, blue and yellow argyle sweater over a white shirt, and comfortable sneakers. His curly black hair, trimmed only a week before, poised itself above a recently shaved 30 year old face eager to meet anyone new.

Since parking was atrocious, he took a bus to midtown. Walking a few blocks to the designated bistro, he saw a woman about his height standing beneath its awning. Attired conservatively in a simple blue dress and black shoes, she looked like the perfect lady-in-waiting. Long black hair flowed neatly to her shoulders. In her hands she carried a rectangular black purse. Taking a deep breath, he approached.

“Hi,” he began. “You look like you’re waiting for someone.”

“Are you Tyrance?” she asked.

“Yes. You must be Shelly.”

They shook hands.

“Nice to meet you, Tyrance.”

“Likewise. Shall we go in?”

Dinner at the seafood restaurant was splendid. Shelly ordered braised sole with lemon sauce and rice pilaf. Tyrance had salmon sautéed in peanut oil, a baked potato and asparagus. They both knew ahead of time their meals would be delicious because their appetizer, crispy calamari with arugula, was well served and delicious to boot.

Tyrance smiled when the appetizer arrived. He always thought arugula was such a funny word, kind of like the sound automobile horns from the 1950’s made. Ah-ooh-gah! Since he was minding his p’s and q’s, he kept his jollity to himself. By the time the dessert of lemon sherbet arrived, they were more comfortable with each other.

“You know,” Shelly confessed, “that was the best fish I’ve tasted in a long time.”

“Really? You should come here more often.”

“Sure, if you’ll take me.”

Bingo!

Out of the blue, she gave Tyrance a hint she planned to see more of him. He was beyond joyous. He was elated. Things were looking up. Finally, after months and months of meeting girls who picked their teeth conspicuously, were prone to solipsistic phone yakking, barely made eye contact, or had nothing interesting to say, he met someone who was pretty, courteous, intelligent, adventurous, had her head on her shoulders, and enjoyed the things he did.

After they left the eatery, they went for a casual stroll around the city. Tyrance thought about holding her hand, but he dared not even make the attempt. Too afraid to frighten her off, he simply kept a respectable distance. As she was a relative newcomer to the city, he elected to be her personal tour guide. He took her to the waterfront district, showed her the celebrated fish market, and introduced her to his favorite artisan cheese joint.

They parted ways a few hours later. Standing at the bus terminal, he shook her hand then watched her board. Waving goodbye, he gazed as the bus sped off. Minutes later, riding home on his bus, he thought about how smoothly the evening went. Shelley seemed like a dream come true. If the night was a harbinger of what was to come, he didn’t want it to end.

At work the next day, one of his co-workers, a lanky redhead named Cecil, was a little distressed. At times he’d slam the drawers of his desk, not greet anyone at the water cooler, ignore his friends when they walked over to his cubicle to say hi, or was just generally no fun to be around. A dark cloud surrounded him, and Tyrance aimed to find out why.

When he found the time after lunch, he walked over to Cecil’s desk.

“Hey, man,” he asked him, “what’s up? You’ve been kind of uppity all day.”

“Leave me alone,” he responded.

“Oh, not so fast, Cecil. I’ve known you longer than that, man. Wasn’t it you who got my back when they wanted to fire me last month?”

Cecil reached into his back pocket, removed his wallet, took out two tickets, and laid them on his desk.

“Tori and I broke up yesterday,” he admitted. “You can have those.”

“You did? You two are such a good couple.”

“Just appearances, Ty. It’s been on the rocks for a while now.”

“What happened?”

“What didn’t happen?! She’s a liar, a cheater, a swindler…I can’t trust her.”

“Are you sure? Those are pretty harsh terms, man.”

His forlorn co-worker simply hung his head.

“You can have those tickets. Happy birthday.”

Tyrance picked them up.

“What is it to?”

He read the inscriptions on them.

“The Police!” he shouted. “You’re giving away tickets to see the Police live?”

“Yeah. We were gonna go tonight.”

“It’s for tonight?”

If there’s anything Tyrance can count on his buddy for being, it’s his impulsiveness. Known for flying off the handle and saying the wrong things at the wrong time, he thought it best not to get his hopes up too high over the tickets.

“Listen, Cecil,” he suggested, “these tickets are expensive. At least let me pay for ‘em.”

“Nah, man. Take ‘em. Have fun. Just don’t count on a Christmas present this year.”

“Thanks, Cecil. I owe you one.”

“Hey, no problem. I’ll be fine. Many more fish in the sea, right?”

“Yeah. Just keep sending out those lines. You’ll make a catch.”

When Tyrance returned to his cubicle, the first thing he did was give Shelley a call. Because they only had their first date the night before, he was apprehensive about asking her out again so soon. Still, the tickets were sprung on him, and since the concert was for that night, he didn’t have a choice.

Shelly stated over the phone she was happy to hear his voice. They spoke briefly about the night before then he talked about the tickets. She said she’d love to go since she didn’t have any plans. They then agreed to meet in front of the arena around 7:30 PM since the show started at 8.

After work, Tyrance went straight home and showered. He didn’t necessarily have to since he’d showered that morning, but it was something that just occurred to him simply because it was a date and he was still a little anxious. While the water cascaded over his body, he thought about Shelley’s laugh, the way her bottom lip curled when she smiled, and the minute twists her body made when she asked a question. “Why was he so lucky?” he thought. “Was she hiding something? How come she’s alone? Was she some cleverly disguised serial killer?” Tyrance knew better than to involve himself in negatively hypothetical thoughts such as these, but playing the game in his mind eased his nervousness.

As it was only 6PM, Tyrance thought he’d lie down and rest for a few minutes. He had lots of time. The bus ride to the arena would take only 15 minutes, and since it ran every twenty minutes, he could leave his apartment around 7PM and still have time to burn. Just in case he overslept, he thought he’d rest on the couch with the TV on.

If there’s anything mankind can count on is the ubiquity of Murphy’s Law – whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Tyrance, stirring to life on the couch, looked at his watch. 7:30! He leaped to his feet, snatched his cell phone off a table, and called Shelley. He told her he was running late and will soon be there. Hanging up, he quickly threw on a pair of blue jeans and a Rush t-shirt, splashed water on his face, drank some orange juice out of a carton in the refrigerator, slipped on his shoes, turned off the TV, grabbed his keys, and bolted out the door.

As he hurried to the bus stop, he noticed the coach was already there. Running like an Olympian, he raced alongside the vehicle and tapped on the door. The bus driver, however, wouldn’t stop. Tapping on the door more vigorously, the bus finally stopped. Opening the door, the out of breath Tyrance entered. As he received the inevitable tongue lashing from the driver, he dropped his coins in the slot, took a seat near the back, and eyed his watch. During the whole ride down, in nervous anticipation, he shook his legs, twiddled his thumbs, and monitored the passing buildings as if that would hurry the ride. He’d grow more anxious and look at his watch whenever the bus stopped to load or unload a wheelchair passenger. Finally, at 8pm, he reached his destination.

Leaping off the bus, he raced towards the arena while dialing Shelley. She encouraged him to hurry because the show would be starting soon. Sprinting through groups of pedestrians, he saw her standing just outside the arena. When he came closer, he could see she was furious.

“Let’s go,” she told him.

Entering the arena, they could already hear music, albeit muted, emanating from the stage.

“I’m glad you agreed to come,” he thanked her, “especially on such short notice.”

“We’re late,” she scolded him.

“Sorry,” he apologized.

By the time they got to their seats, the concert was in full swing. They’d only missed one song. Though Tyrance blamed himself, he thought his timing wasn’t so bad. Shelly, though, didn’t seem to enjoy the show. She wasn’t singing along to songs like he was. She barely applauded after each number. He tried not to pay too much attention to her, but he could see she clearly wasn’t delighted.

After the show, during the long queue to exit the arena, he tried to get into a conversation with her, but because the crowd was still loud, not many words were said. Once outside the arena, he stopped and turned to her.

“Want to go get a drink somewhere?”

“No, she answered. “I’m kinda tired. I just want to go home.”

“Why? The night is still young.”

“You know what, Tyrance?” she complained. “You seemed like the kind of person who is good for his word, but I was wrong.”

Huh? Where did that come from? Tyrance asked himself. Was that sweet maiden from yesterday suddenly usurped by a heathenish witch?

“So I was a little late,” he defended himself. “Why are you making such a big deal over it?”

“I only agreed to come just to hear one song, but they always play it first in their set, so we missed it.”

“What song is that?”

“Message in a Bottle.”

“Is that why you’re angry? So now your night is ruined?”

She threw up her hands.

“I can’t consciously be with someone who’s inconsistent. Goodbye.”

She immediately turned and walked away. Tyrance couldn’t believe his ears. Did he just lose the “perfect” companion just because of one song? Shaking his head, he sulked towards the bus stop. On the way there, he passed an attractive young lady walking alone. She had curly blue dyed hair down to her shoulders and was wearing a Police t-shirt.

“Hey,” he asked her, “how did you like the show?”

“It was great.”

She eyed his Rush t-shirt.

“Cool,” she smiled. “I say them two years ago.”

“Yeah? They’re my favorite band.”

“Did you see The Police tonight?”

“Yep. I was a little late, though.”

“Oh, you didn’t miss much. During the first song, Message in a Bottle, the PA wasn’t working. You could barely hear the drums or Sting’s vocals. Real crappy. The rest of the show was good, though. I had fun. How about you? Did you have fun?”

“Yes,” Tyrance smiled. “Best show I’ve ever seen.”

Last edited by luckyme; 09-21-2012 at 10:25 AM.. Reason: Edit with consent of staff