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This story is part of an archive of short fiction by Miriam N. Kotzin that is no longer readily available. All are copyrighted by the author. If you wish to reprint them, please contact her.

An Old Story

They were afraid she would ruin him. Rhona was twice his age, but still he could drink legally anywhere.

In fact, they met at Rouge on a Friday after work when she left her credit card on the bar. The bartender called to her as she walked away, but she didn't hear in the noise. Jared picked up the card and squeezed through the crowd, calling her name, which he'd learned from her Visa. She offered to buy him a drink to thank him, thinking, "What a nice young man," and was pleased when he accepted.

They left Rouge to go to a less popular and quieter place only a few blocks away, and one thing led to another and they stayed on for dinner. And Jared insisted on picking up the check, which left Rhona off-balance, because by the end of the dinner, she'd begun thinking, "What a nice man."

And when coincidentally Rhona and Jared ran on adjacent treadmills at the 12th Street gym the next morning, they laughed and agreed to go for lattes at Cosi after their workouts. They bought biscotti and stayed until lunch time.

That night Rhona was reading when the phone rang. It was Jared, violating the primary convention of single life, not to phone on a Saturday night. And the next morning they met for brunch at The Astral Plane. They sat in high back wicker chairs under a parachute cloth ceiling and drank mimosas. She made a point of not telling him that she remembered when the restaurant had opened more than twenty years ago.

One thing led to another and at dinner one night in the enchanted garden at Bump, where as breeders they were outsiders anyway, he called her darling. They drank two dollar neon martini's all through happy hour, and she considered herself lucky. And when she was wobbly on 13th Street near the Historical Society she blamed the uneven brick pavement.

And they went to Moshulu, and sat on its deck drinking Long Island Ice Tea watching the pink of the sun set giving its glow to Camden. As they sat on the deck of a boat permanently moored between two bridges, watching the lights on the river, Jared said that before he was born he was in heaven waiting to meet her. And one thing led to another. In her bed he told her again and again that she'd spoiled him.

And before long she was picking up wine at the State Store. And shopping for two at the Reading Terminal Market. And making room for his clothes in her closet. And taking his clothes to the cleaners. And then doing all of his laundry. And then waiting at home while first he worked late and then later. And one thing led to another.

After all, they needn't have worried.

2004 Miriam N. Kotzin
"An Old Story," appeared in Writers Bar, October 14, 2004.

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