The Risk

A short story.

She was meeting him in less than an hour. She felt jittery and each time she checked the clock a wave of uncertainty flooded her mind. It was so overdue. That was undoubtedly true. So hard to get the schedules in line. Busy parents with busy lives. Four months since they’d linked profiles in that new-age twist on the old standard. An all about me, a swipe, and an ice breaker. Four months of daily messages, photo shares, and quirky Q&As.

The lamp in her living room seemed to sizzle as she paced through the four room apartment in the village. Too early, too eager she thought disparagingly. She was still afraid to trust it after so many missteps. So afraid to jump in with both feet. The calloused soles of the past protested with every step toward any new love.

The cat was making a racket in the kitchen, whacking the broken half of a long ignored plastic Easter egg. Thundering around the small space with a skid and a crash as the little half shell bounced under the high top table.

Twenty five minutes. She’d leave in twenty five minutes. Get there with a few minutes to spare. Just enough time for parking lot hyperventilating and a quick pep talk about having nothing to lose. It was only lunch after all. Food and face time. The thought made her stomach coil in a bizarre mixture of nervous anticipation.

Miss you even though I haven’t met you.

It had become a common exchange with him. She’d wonder after each such message how you could miss someone you hadn’t met. Each time was a risk. A confession of vulnerability and openness.

She changed her earrings. Again. She’d already changed them twice. Foolish. She thought. Like he cares about your earrings. Looking in the mirror in the cramped bathroom she sees her best face. It ought to be. She was meticulous in her preparation. Ignoring the burned out vanity bulb and the lawn mower noise outside while she’d styled her hair and put a light layer of glam on her face.

The Easter egg shot past the doorway and the clock read out her cue. A quick drive with the sun slanting in the passenger side window and there was the parking lot, the little cafe, the red front door. Pulling down the visor mirror and looking hard into her own brown eyes she breathes in deep and let’s it out slow.

To herself she says….Alright. Get out of this car and go meet him so you can miss him. Face to face. FEARS and all. There’s a risk in there that’s worth taking. Hike up your big girl pants and jump in with both feet….

Daily Prompt: Hike

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