#74 Tootsie and Marie

by Neil Tarpey

I knocked twice. Mr. Hathaway opened the door. “You must be Nick. Come in.” We shook hands and I entered a black-and-white tiled hallway. Hathaway pointed to two chairs on each end of a coffee table. I sat down holding the flowers on my lap and he slumped into the other chair.

“Nick, I’m a bit embarrassed to inform you Tootsie’s not here. She called five minutes ago and wanted me to tell you she misplaced your phone number and had to work late. But I’m tired of covering for her. The truth is Tootsie and her friend Cheryl are probably out drinking at the bowling alley. I’m sorry you wasted your time driving over here.”

So much for our first date.

“Marie, come down here, please,” called Hathaway.

A young woman moseyed down the staircase, looked at me and then at Hathaway. She was slender with long dark hair and blue eyes that sparkled beneath tortoise shell glasses. She was holding a book with her index finger marking the page.

“Yes, Dad?”

“Marie, this is Nick. Please take his flowers and put them in a vase.”

“Nice to meet you, Nick,” she said softly.

Marie placed her book on the coffee table and I handed her the flowers. Suddenly I remembered the two tickets for tonight’s play in my wallet.

“Marie, are you free this evening? I’ve got tickets to ‘Waiting for Godot’ at the Waterfront Theatre.”

“Samuel Beckett?” she answered, winking at me. “I’d love to go.”

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