Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: This Life
“Mum, can we get a dog?” asked Aidan
“No.” It was the usual short sharp response after giving up on explaining why not the first thousand times.
“Is that a dating agency?”
Jess slammed shut the laptop. “No! Go and tidy your room!” She turned back to her friend, Lisa. “It’s pointless. What was I thinking? I can’t possibly go on dates or meet anyone. I’m too cranky and tired.”
“You need to start thinking about you. When was the last time you dated anyone?”
“I don’t know. Six months after Ian left and that was a complete disaster.”
“And how long since Ian left?”
Lisa opened the laptop.
Jess received a flurry of interest but nothing clicked. Except one guy. Gavin. He was everything Jess wanted which made her sceptical as why would anyone like that be on a dating website? Tall, handsome, intelligent, chatty, good sense of humour. Single, But there had to be baggage. Approaching forty and on a dating website? Something had to lurk in his past. Everyone had a past. She closed the laptop.
Forgetting her dalliance with dating websites, Jess continued as usual; school run, work, no to a dog. Days became weeks and nothing changed other than the odd night out with Lisa. But Jess resigned herself to this life. If she was meant to meet someone, she would. She worked in a coffee shop where she met people all the time so it wasn’t impossible. Other than people barely had time to make eye contact with their order let alone chat.
It was a dreary afternoon. Having to stand in the cold and wet, watching Aidan play football wasn’t the ideal Saturday afternoon. Infact this life sucked. But it was Jess’ life. However, she watched with amusement as a small black and white dog ran onto the field, chasing the ball. It wasn’t funny when the dog caught the ball and ran from the field. Aidan ran after with one or two others, thinking it was the best thing to happen in their goalless game.
Jess could do nothing else but follow especially as the dog wasn’t giving up and running further from the pitch, towards the edge of the park. Traffic noise filtered into her head and Jess ran faster.
A screeching of tires punctured the air. She ran, passing two boys who had given up on the chase, seeing a crowd gathered.
“I’m so sorry. They just ran out in front of me,” sobbed a middle aged woman on the side of the road. “Are they OK?”
Pushing through the crowd, Jess choked back tears when she saw Aidan standing, looking unharmed. She raced to him and hugged him hard. The dog barked, sitting next to him as a man appeared to be examining him.
“You need to take care of your dog!” Jess shouted as the crowd dispersed.
“He’s not mine,” the man said, standing, meeting Jess’s angry stare. “Jess?”
She looked at him, knowing she’d seen him somewhere before but couldn’t think. It couldn’t have been the coffee shop as she’d have remembered those piercing blue eyes especially as no one even gave her a glance.
“The dating site?” Gavin said.
“Oh,” Jess blushed a deep crimson.
They moved to the pavement, the dog running back into the park. Aidan followed.
“I’d better get going,” Jess said.
“Sure.” He watched her walk away. “Hey,” he said, running after her. “I know this is quick, silly even but do you fancy going for a drink sometime?”
“As long as it’s not coffee, or in a park or where there’s dogs, that would be lovely.”
Jess walked back through the park, a date secured, Gavin’s number in her phone, Aidan running around with a dog. She smiled. This life wasn’t so bad after all.
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x