Paying Attention (Apollo’s Lyre – Bouquet of Shorts, September 2011)

He’s fifteen minutes late, but she’s not unduly worried; men are seldom punctual and it’s a fine evening. She watches other couples greeting, and strolling away arm in arm.

The clock strikes eight thirty. He could have phoned, she thinks. But perhaps he’s forgotten to put his phone on charge; he’s always doing that.

At eight forty-five she shifts restlessly on her high heels. Maybe his car broke down, she reasons, and because his phone’s dead he’s stranded somewhere.

At nine fifteen she’s wondering whether he’d said to meet at nine, not eight. She probably wasn’t listening properly, she thinks, so maybe just another fifteen minutes.

By nine thirty it’s getting dark. People are looking curiously at her, and one man keeps walking past, staring boldly.

Too late now for the film, maybe they’ll have a quick drink somewhere then go back to her place.

She won’t be cross when he comes, there’s probably a very good reason for the no-show. If he’d changed his mind he surely would have phoned. But then again his phone’s not working.

The man walks past again and she begins to feel uneasy.

Perhaps, she thinks, he’d said Saturday, not Friday.

Relief floods through her body. That’s it. Just like her to get it wrong. Not listening properly.

She takes the underpass to the bus station. Everything will be fine, tomorrow they’ll laugh about this.

Behind her, muffled by her clicking heels, soft footsteps trace her progress, getting closer.

But she’s not listening properly.



About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Published Work. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Paying Attention (Apollo’s Lyre – Bouquet of Shorts, September 2011)

  1. Sheila says:

    Why do women do this? I don’t just mean the hanging about waiting for some forelorn hope, but walking though dark underpasses? Gormlessness is the answer. Thanks for a riveting read.


    • Sandra says:

      I don’t know they do it. I had a friend who waited 2 hours for a no-show, and when I asked why, went through a similar litany of excuses. In fact she was still going through them a week later, though I suspect she was losing confidence by that time. 😦


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