THE INCIDENT: 2nd character pov

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late… I parked in the far parking lot, mistiming the amount of steps required to the restaurant on the other end of the mall. While my Fitbit will reward me, my conscientiousness is brimming with guilt.

It took a couple of moments to open my umbrella. Perhaps it’s arthritic like me. The drizzly weather has hobbled my pace, too. I wish I wore a pair of the skate tennies that the four-year-olds sport. I feel like the White Rabbit of Alice’s Wonderland.

I invited this woman to meet me for lunch, to follow-up on an invitation she extended months ago, so guilt already owned the ground floor of my day. I hate being late on a first date with someone I wish to befriend.

I’m one of those busy people who over encumbers my time. It’s not that I have deplorable time management skills nor that I don’t value others. I tend to cram one more item on my task list that can be reasonably accomplished with grace.

I half-run, I race rather than saunter, given the congenial nature of our lunch. I nearly skid into the restaurant door in my haste. Puddles have begun to form in depressions of the outdoor mall’s patios, and my boot heels found one I hadn’t planned on.

Inside, an open space that relies on natural light streaming in, is dim, it’s hipster concrete floor and grey-toned upholstered booths looking uninviting and austere. The hostess looks like she was on a bender that ended only moments before the restaurant opens.

When I ask to sit near the windowed front, so that I may watch for my friend, she gestures toward the booth beside her station. I order a cup of butternut squash soup, which arrives so quickly that I wonder if the hostess had a hot plate at her station.

I sip and settle in to wait. The seconds tick – and then my phone rings…












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