Practicing in Public

September 3, 2018

NOTE: These “prompt pages” are written and posted with little or no editing. It is simply “showing up, butt in chair, fingers on keyboard” writing. I have included them here, NOT for your critics mind to dissect, but show what daily “exercise” writing and rough draft writing can do.

TODAY’S PROMPT: Keywords: gameoutsidestereoCasablancabridge

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“Anything else, Ma’am?” Jacques asked after repeating our order.

I looked across at Stephanie. I raised my eyebrows. I cleared my throat. “Stephanie?” I kicked her gently under the table.

“Ouch. Oh, ah, no thank you.”

“Very well, ladies. I’ll put your order right in.”

Stephanie stared at his ass as he walked toward the kitchen.

I sipped my mimosa and looked around the outside dining area. Ten quaint café tables covered with white linens cordoned off by a low white lattice wall. Each table was set with linen napkins, a bread plate, and silverware. The breeze ruffled the table cloths and I pulled my sweater close.

“You cold?” Jacques filled our water glasses. “I could move you indoors.”

“No. I’m fine.”

“Wow,” Stephanie exhaled. “He’s got game.”

“He’s got what?”

“Game. You know, charming, attractive, equipped, experienced. He’s got it all.”

I glanced toward the door to the inner restaurant. “Oh, my God. Did you really say that? Are you so desperate that you would try to pick up a waiter in Paris, Not-France-USA?”

“Well?” Stephanie scrunched her nose. “I could see having one date with him to see if his body language matches the person. See if he really has game.”

“Where the Hell did you pick up that expression? And look at this place. We are sitting in a French restaurant in a small village in Paris in the United States of America. At least if you wanted to pick up a French guy, you could go to France, the actual country.”

Stephanie glared across the table into my eyes. “Where has your sense of adventure gone to hide? You used to fantasize just as much as me. Remember”

“Stop. I don’t want to take a trip down memory lane. I don’t want to fantasize, especially about some guy who doesn’t have an ounce of French blood in his body.”

Stephanie sat back and inhaled and slowly exhaled. She stared at me. Then, slowly, she leaned forward and rested her elbows on the table. “Wow. Just. Wow. I didn’t realize, when Carla called me and told me Richard had left you and that you hadn’t left home at all this summer, how depressed and desperate you actually were.”

“Stephanie, please. I don’t want to go there.”

“Are you coming back to teach at Southern Academy High School this fall?”

“Yeah. I have no choice. It’s too late to apply anywhere else.”

“Oh, that’s going to make the year awkward.”

“You’re telling me. I’m up for evaluation this year. I hope Richard, um Mr. Johanson, hands mine over to one of the assistant principals.”

Stereo music preceded Jacques as he opened the door and presented us with our meals. “The chef’s salad for madam, and for you,” he winked at Stephanie, “the seared tuna and avocado salsa. Is there anything else you need?”

I shook my head as did Stephanie. Jacques left. I picked up my fork and attempted to eat. Two squirrels came into view and played a game of tag as the ran up and down and around the trees.

“What are you planning to do tonight? You can’t continue to stay at home. You’ve got to venture out. You weren’t married to the guy; Hell, he hadn’t even proposed.”

“But I gave it, like I gave my job, everything I had.”

“You need a night out with the girls. How about I call a few and we head over to the Bridge Theater and see Casablanca?” I shrugged. “You can evaluate how Richard stacks up a real man, or we’ll all sit around afterward and have a good cry. What say you?”

In my best Irish accent, I answered my friend the theater teacher, “Aye, I supposen we could. Call the lasses.”

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