Length: short story
Genre: gay romance, contemporary
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Miles makes one seemingly small and inconsequential decision that turns out to be not so small and inconsequential after all.
HERE I sit in another crowded, expensive restaurant, at a table set for two, clinging to the linen napkin in my lap as if it’s a lifeline. Laughter and conversation flow from the sea of tables that surround me, a constant reminder I’m stranded here on what is arguably date night. I wait for the blind date my meddling little sister insisted I needed.
Why do I agree to let my sister set me up on these dates? Just because I’m not in a relationship now doesn’t mean I need her to play matchmaker. Haven’t I learned from the last four times she fixed me up with someone that it hardly ever ends well? Diane doesn’t know my taste in men. She thinks because I’m gay that any gay man will do. She doesn’t understand it’s the same for me as it is for her. She wouldn’t pick out just anyone to date. She’d look for favorable traits—personality, common interests, chemistry—not take just any Joe off the street.
The waiters maneuver among the other tables, making sure patrons are taken care of, attending to their needs. Some refresh supplies of water or napkins, while others deliver delicious entrees and main courses drizzled with colorful sauces.
Another glance at my watch tells me my date—I can’t even remember his name—is already forty-five minutes late. Rolling my eyes, I shake my head, and then rest it in my hand. Stranded on a lonely, deserted island. I chuckle audibly and visualize myself alone on a small island somewhere in the middle of the vast ocean.
Apparently I’ve started mumbling to myself, as most of the waiters give me a wide berth—I’m obviously someone to be avoided and left alone.
Glancing around at all the other occupied tables, I assess my options. Do I stay here and wait a bit longer? Or do I cut my losses and call it a night? If I were stranded on an actual island, what would I do? I’d have to enjoy my own company and not rely on that of others. Can I do that? Am I going to sit here and let someone who doesn’t know what he’s missing out on ruin a good meal or my evening? No!
Decision made, I suddenly stand and accidently send my chair crashing to the floor. Great! Yet another reason for the waiters to keep their distance. One waiter, who’s standing nearby, is keeping an eye on me. Probably can’t wait for me to leave so he can set up the table for the next couple waiting in line.
Well, that couple will have to keep waiting, because tonight I’m going to treat myself to a nice meal, and a decent bottle of wine.
I remove my charcoal-colored sports coat and throw it across the unoccupied seat; then pick up my own chair and look over at the waiter. I give a slight nod, sit down, and get comfortable. He understands I wish to stay, and makes his way toward me.
“Sir, would you like me to hang up your coat for you, so it’s not in the way when your company arrives?”
I smile at him, feeling more confident in myself now. “No, it’s fine. I’m dining alone tonight, but thank you.”
“I’m glad you’ve decided to stay. Shall I open the wine for you now?”
SWEETNESS AND STRENGTH is also a part of the STRANDED Anthology
- jn olsen loves art in all forms, but she especially loves the freedom to explore her imagination through the written word.jn has two handsome sons. And although she lives in Montreal Canada, she’s a proud Australian through and through.
jn olsen can be found at:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/JN-Olsen