When Mary met Barry Chapter 1

Brenda S Frank Divorced After 56 Years
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Brenda S Frank Divorced After 56 Years

Ohhh, I need someone to go to dinner with, movies, travel, take a long walk with.  

This is an age thing.  I understand young people (may think) they need someone to be their soul mates, partners, best friends, lovers, or parents of their children.

I am not reaching out to this pre-menopausal crowd who are at least four decades behind me; they don’t even show up on my radar screen. They have decades to travel and will, in time, decide whether they want to go through life as a duet or solo.

I am reaching out to the elders, the, been there, done that crowd where the landscape is getting more crowded as people are living longer and hopefully better.

Through a friend, pick-up, or social media you have a date for dinner.  Wow, pretty neat!  This could be Mr. or Ms. Right. Anticipation is usually greater than the realization, this date being no different.

A week to prepare. New hairdo-maybe, along with a different color? Perhaps. A shot of Botox or a shot of the latest quicker picker upper. Of course, a trip to the mall to see the latest fashions is a must. A new frock, or slack set, may be just the thing to help you turn back the clock.

New energy comes with the waiting and wondering.

The big night, errr, day comes.  If the parties are having night vision issues driving, this could be the big day.  Lunch on a patio of one of the must go to restaurants, hopefully to be seen by others, perhaps even enviously, by the woman in the corner sitting alone.

Hey, watch it!  That woman in the corner may be me.  Hold on to your hat, if you have one on, I am not envious of you nor any other twosome or group that I see.  Trade places with you? Not on your life!

When Mary met Barry.

Burr-ring.  The bait is on the hook. Door opens.  Well, Barry, was not quite as tall, (or Mary, not as short) as was foretold, and not as young (looking) as reported.  

Didn’t Barry understand the dress code did not allow for short sleeves, with a pocket?  He could’ve at least lost the pen, secured to the pocket saver, that left one black dot on the front of his light blue polyester shirt. Could this be a harbinger of things to come? Pants, should they be belted below or above the portly belly?  Where are the fashionistas when you need them?

The flood waters length of the pants is most unflattering.  Oh, well, nothing here Mary can’t fix once she…

Plop, throws the line in the water.

Upon arriving, the walk wasn’t too bad, to the restaurant. You could hardly expect the driver, in this case, Barry, to pay $5.00 for valet parking when there was a perfectly fine, almost empty parking lot across the street.

Seeing that it was a hot, summer day, the walk made Mary’s feet swell up in her new, two-inch-high, peek a boo open toed, beige pumps. By the time they got to the restaurant her big toe had reached out through the peek a boo begging to be released, from the tight little hole.  She hoped she wasn’t limping from the pain of shoes that don’t stretch, being that they were made of pleather.

They were greeted and seated by an attractive hostess, sashaying, which did not go unnoticed by Barry, as she led them, to their table. Barry, whose eyes were glued to watching the hostess’s derriere, rather than where he was walking, bumped into a diner who was sipping her too hot coffee.  Don’t cry over spilt milk, or in this is case, coffee, in the middle of your lap on your white linen dress. It should wash right out, Madam. “Oops, sorry”

 

With a big smile the hostess places the oversized, not too clean, menus on the plates already on the table and pulled out the chair for Mary.   Sitting down, her neatly coiffed, and sprayed in place hair, felt as though it was being lifted; by the breeze of the fan right above them.  

Grin and bear it, or change tables?  Barry’s hair, that took him a half hour to plaster across his shiny pate was beginning to come unglued from the sweat from the walk and now the fan blowing. No, don’t tell me, those strands are going to lift off.

Mary, looking sweetly at him, unlike any look she ever gave her husband, who may, or may not, be dead or alive asked, “Is this table o.k.?”  He, throwing the onus back to her, answers, “Are you o.k. with it?  

Their internal grimaces hopefully go unnoticed by the other, each one not wanting to be the one to make the decision to change tables, so there they sat.  Her hair shifting en masse with the motion of the fan and his plastered strands, a few of them now unglued, waving like those balloon Gumby’s at a used car lot. Off to a good start, eh?

Barry orders first.  (Tap) water and the afternoons’ special. Chopped sirloin, well done, mashed potatoes and cooked mixed veggies. Mary orders a fresh cold, crispy veggie salad although she preferred to order something more filling. She did not want to seem, not only too anxious, but also too hungry, for anything.

The water comes and shortly after, their main dishes, but not before the bread and butter.  “We need more bread” demanded Barry to Shaun, their server.  “Right away, sir”.   As he is slathering more butter on his second helping of bread he waves his knife as though orchestrating an overture at Carnegie Hall, accentuating his opinions he readily offers, unasked. This is all about him.  Who he is, and most important, what he was.

Is there a man out there, over the age of 70, who was not the CEO of a no longer existent company?  Is it possible they put that business out of business? He regales Mary with stories from the past.  Hey, this IS all about me, isn’t it?  Woe is me.  I left wifie because the heat went out of the radiator or, tearfully, she died and she was the love of my life.  Have you noticed the dead ones are always saints and the living ones are the devil?  I guess Billy Joel hits the right chord when he warbles, Only the Good Die Young.  Oh, yeah, he skips over the part where he had an affair for three years with his dry cleaner’s wife, while married to the dearly departed or the wife from hell.

Their food is served.  His is too cold and not well done enough, her salad is warm and wilty.  Barry speaks up, having to catch the eye of Shaun, who will get ripened cataracts one day, but this day, he has waiter eyes. What’s waiters’ eyes you ask?  We have all experienced this. Try as you might to get their attention, without having to bellow or trip them, you become invisible once you are served, until your server beams you up when you are half way through eating, chortling, “Is everything ok?”  Actually, what he means to say is, Is anything ok?

Barry barks at Shaun, ordering his plate be sent back and a fresh dinner to replace the cold one, ignoring the fact he has eaten almost half of it. Mary decides her salad isn’t as warm and soggy as she thought and murmurs, “This is fine. “

Barry continues his diatribe as he waits for his meal to be returned, speaking louder than necessary, aware he has the attention of others.

His meal is replaced while he continues to brag about his history mindlessly oblivious that he’s spitting out chewed meatloaf, talking as he does, with mouthfuls of food.

They decline having coffee being that is was too warm and passed on the tempting desserts as being too fattening.

Mary listens intently to his lifetime success stories. The stories wind down as the check is placed in the middle of the table.  It is obvious Shaun has been down this path before.  Assume nothing when it comes to who is paying.

Barry hesitates for an uncomfortable few seconds and then picks up the check. $23.83. He plunks down $25.00 and loudly announces to Shaun, “Keep the change”.  LOL, What a sport!

The best part of this anguishing ordeal is the grand entrance and leaving from this fine dining establishment.

As Barry escorts Mary, weaving between other diners, Mary is pleased to impress all lookers that she is attractive and desirable enough to be with a man.

And best of all she had cooled down enough to have her feet go back to their original size other than the blister that formed on the toe that wanted out, so walking thru the restaurant was not as painful as the walk in.

Hmmm, this could be the start of something, good.

To be continued…

 

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