01 02 03 RMR's writing space: the personal ad: a short story revised for the indie writer's deathmatch 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

the personal ad: a short story revised for the indie writer's deathmatch

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When father died, I didn’t know what to do. I was only 28 and with the loss of my father, I was grieving, and all alone. After father’s funeral, my older sister Annie decided to stay with me to keep me company and help me with my loss. She is 30 and married with young kids yet for some reason she would rather stay with her lonely sister than go back to her happy family. Annie has always been a mother figure to me, was always doll like in appearance, and the challenges of motherhood and pregnancy had evidently worn her out over time.
Every night, so she told me, she heard me cry in my sleep and call out father’s name. I would dream of him in a far distance and unable to come closer to me. The only thing that would ever change was the setting and sometimes Annie and mother would be there too. Annie started to get worried about me and I couldn’t understand how she managed to keep so strong. She would usually go out during the day to run errands but one day she came home and cried.
I embraced her in my arms and as she wiped away her tears, she got that look on her face that she always gets whenever she has an idea.
“Jen, I can’t stand you like this anymore,” my sister told me as she threw away her Kleenex, “there’s only one solution left.”
“A solution,” I replied, “uh...what would solve things, sis?”
“You know the personal ads that are in the back of the paper, Jen,”, “You haven’t gone on a date since college and you’re 28 and...”
“Yeah?”
“And I think maybe you should try respond to a personal ad.”
I thought it over for a while and next day I figured it was time for me to try to move on- it was my only option. I looked through the paper’s personal ads and unfortunately most of them where either not my type or too old, that was until I found the “mysterious” single guy’s personal ad in the paper.
I replied to single guy’s posting with a little bit of help and encouragement from Annie who told me what to say in my response and helped me pick out a picture of myself that she thought was the best to send to him. I told him my cell number and told him a lot about myself...maybe even more then I should of.
After I got home from work Annie was back from her day of running errands, my cell phone rang causing Annie, and I to erupt into girlish, schoolgirl hysteria knowing it could potentially be the “mysterious” single guy.
I picked up the phone...I was right...it was exactly who I expected. While barely being capable of containing my combination of anxiety and hysteria I attempted to answer the phone in the most cool and calm tone way I could (if that was even possible).
“Oh...hello,” I said into the phone
“Hi there, you must be Jen,” replied a kind, mature sounding voice, “I am the same single guy’s posting you saw in the paper, I was hoping to see ya soon,”, “and, um...thanks for your response, how about a drink, today at noon, St. Alcester’s club.”
“Sure sounds great, see you then.”
As soon as I hung up the phone Annie’s plans to encourage me and make sure I looked my best began. But, I didn’t know how that could help. This man has seen a picture of me and every moment I worry that he will not like me due to the fact, I have never been the most attractive woman around and in the last little while I had put on a ton of weight.
I waited with my sister for what felt like forever for the time to come for me to meet my mysterious stranger at St. Alcester’s club and did my best to go there looking my best. I never got his name and I assume he is about 33 and he sounded so kind and I hoped he would be kind enough to see beyond appearances. I hugged my sister goodbye and she wished me good luck and gave me more advice than I could absorb at once. I said goodbye one time to Annie then I walked quickly to St.Alcester’s club (which was fortunately not far away).
I was a bit early, so I headed to the same spot as we had agreed to meet. For some reason he was not there yet so I decided to order a drink and strike up an unrelated conversation with the bartender to relieve my boredom.
In the middle of the conversation with the bartender, I had to turn around because before I could finish my sentence a man who looked exactly like same one I was intended to meet with stood at the door way. I knew it was the same guy because I knew him mostly by appearance, only because of the photo he had sent me. I stood completely still and stared at him because I could have sworn it was him and he just stood there staring at me as well and then quickly left without even getting a drink or opening the door.
I waited there and he still didn’t show so I decided to mingle with other people at the club and dance to the loud music. I was having so much fun and I almost forgot my reason for being there and then I checked the time; half an hour had passed. The atmosphere and the dancing passed the time... at least...the time that I hoped would end in his sudden appearance. I felt quite certain that the man I had seen peek through the window was not the same man that intended to meet up with me but a figure of my imagination, maybe even a stranger that looked similar to the single guy in the photograph. I wasn’t certain if that it was the same single guy who had posted a personal ad in which I had the picture of but I wasn’t about to give up yet. I went back to the bar and sat around for a while, hoping he was just plain late.
After a while, I checked the time again. An hour had passed and he still did not show. I decided to give up waiting for him because if he did not show after all that time he probably did not forget, he was not delayed, and he just stood me up.
Too much time had passed so it was no longer worth waiting any longer so I went home, broken hearted because I was convinced that he had stood me up. I wrote him a letter asking him why he did not show, and told him how I felt.

The next day I got the paper again and sat outside hoping for a bit of luck that he would have a few sincere words to say to apologize and explain why he was not there. I was right, he did have a personal ad but it was not what I had hoped... in the paper was an ad looking almost identical to the one that had almost brought him into my life in the first place... The only new thing about it was the demand for nothing “too heavy”. It was almost as if I had never arranged to meet with him in the first place.
Those words alone proved that I was right; he stood me up and never showed up. I stared at those words in the personal ad. Nothing too heavy...as in myself? That very moment I stood enjoying the current wonderful breeze: only time could heal.
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