Alice Newsom's hands rest on the edge of the computer keyboard
as she staes across the room at the brown paneled wall. Finally
she looks back at the computer monitor and sighs as she scans
what she has written. She wrinkles her nose, shakes her head
in disgust, deletes the pages and turns the computer off. She is
unable to concentrate on her writing because it is the eighteenth
of November, and would have been her twelvth wedding
anniversary if her husband, John hadn't come home six months
earlier to announce that he was leaving her and wanted a divorce.
He was having an affair with a secretary at the law firm where
he worked, a young blond woman he had referred to as a bimbo
when she first come to work at the firm five months earlier.
Alice had no idea he was having an affair, and upon hearing
the news, her stomach felt felt like he had punched her
repeatedly even though he never laid a hand on her.
She gets up and walks to the living room and looks at the
photograph of their wedding day which hangs on the wall beside
the fireplace. She stares at it for a time, then yanks it off the
wall and smashs it upon the blue carpet.
"Damn you," she shrieks.
Already a successful fiction and article writer, she met John
during her senior year of college and were married in a small
church ceremony ten months later. They wanted a family, and
had tried without success to get pregnant. They considered
adoption or a serrogate. On the Internet, Alice had
corresponded with a high school girl who was looking for
responsible parents for the child she was carrying since her
months had died and she didn't think she would be able to
care for it herself. Alice was going to tell John about her when
he dropped his bomb. She thought that if she she had acted
sooner, they would still be together.
In the past fout months she has met with her lawyer on several
occasions to work out a settlement. She got the house, but the
car and comfortable bank account were her's. Because of the
diversions, her writing has gone steadily downhill.
She glances at her wristwatch to see that it is five o clock. She
decides she will shower and go out to dinner and take in a
movie. Being a writer, other than the visits with her lawyer,
she only leaves the house to go grocery shopping, to church and
to the library to do reseach on the story she is trying to write.
Alice back her red Ford Focus out of the garage and drives up
the street under an overcast sky as a chilly breeze blows out
of the north. She turns into the parking lot of the Calico Bar
and Grill and goes inside where the rising and falling cresendo
of everyone talking at once assaults her senses. She glances
around the semi-darkened club until she sees an empty booth
on the corner. She sits down and and runs her hands through
her black shoulder lenght hair then clasps her hands tightly
together until the red haired waitree comes, and she orders a
beer, burger and fries.
While she waits for her order, she asks herself why she chose
to stop there rather than go to a nice restaurant uptown. Did
she secretly want some man to pick her up? She hasn't had
sex in over six months, and after eleven and half years of
marriage, she wonders if she may have forgotten how to get
a man's attention.
When the waitress return with her order, she sips at her beer
and slowly eat her burger and fies. She is aware that a tall
blond man who is sitting on a stool at the end of the bar is
watching her. She glances at the man, then turns her attention
back to her meal. The man is dressed in blue jeans with western
boots, a bright, red western shirt and a blue denim jacket. It
isn't long before she is aware that the man stand beside her
booth. She lays her burger on the plate, wipes her mouth with
a napkin and looks up at him and smiles.
The man with a long, angular face introduces himself as Derek
Marshall, and asks if she would like some company, to which
Alice complies. He tells her he is an electrical contractor, single
and moved to Wichita a few days earlier to start on the
electical work on a power station that is under comstruction.
Alice tells him why she is there, and finds him to be a very
"What are your plans for tonight?" Derek asks
Alice swallows hard as she runs her hand over her anple breasts
and down to her slim waist. "When I left the house, I planned to have dinner and take in a movie." She pauses as she fumbles with
the buttons on her blouse. "Why do you ask?"
Derek sips his beer, as if to give himself courage. "We could
spend the night together since you told me you're feeling down because this would have been your anninversary." He flashes
a broad smile showing a set a yellowed teeth. "I could help you
ease your pain."
Alice feels like a high school girl who has been asked out on her
first date. "Only if we go to my house," she says.
Derek chuckles. "That will work for me because my apartment
is just two rooms, and they aren't very big."
Alice give him directions and her address in the event he loses
her in traffic of at a stop light.
After Derek falls asleep, Alice stares up at the dark ceiling as
the plot and the words of the story she has been searching for
flash through her mind. This would have been the night of her
twlvth wedding anniversary, and a man had taken her in his
arms and made love to her just as she envisioned it should be,
even though the man lying beside her isn't her husband.