Contest #56 shortlist ⭐️

35 comments

Romance

I hated blind dates. Mostly because of how ironic it was. But here I was, sitting at a table, waiting for someone named Joseph. I felt a tremor at my feet and I felt Molly sit up and lay her head in my lap. I started petting her head, my fingers grazing the labeled vest she always had to wear. Molly could always tell when I was stressing out, and I certainly was at the moment. 

I blamed Lauren for this. She loved setting me up, partly because matchmaking was her personal hobby and partly because she knows I can never say no to her. After the last couple disaster dates she had put me on, I told her that I wouldn’t go on any more. Then she burst into my apartment and said that she had found the PERFECT guy for me. Well, it was more like she squealed it. Lauren was always squealing. She plagued me for days, begging for me to agree. Eventually I had to say yes, if only to give my ears a break. At least she’d had the decency to drop me off, plus she let me choose the location. The Acorn Street Cafe. It was more porch than restaurant with outside, covered tables encircling the little building that made up the kitchen. That’s what I loved about it. The originality. With the night blowing cool breezes and the rustle of surrounding trees, it was as magical as it could get in the city. From the other tables, murmurs of conversation were punctuated by the clinking of silverware and creaking of chairs. Another breeze carried the smell of sizzling meat and toasted bread past my nose and my stomach rumbled in response. A tread of feet neared my table and Molly banged her tail against the legs of my chair.

“Good evening Ms. Rebecca! Do you want a menu or will it be the usual?”  

The light tenor of the waiter brought a smile to my face.

“Hello Andrew, I’m actually waiting for someone but could you bring me a glass of water?” 

“Absolutely! Be back in just a second.”

I loved being a regular, the whole staff knew me after so many years of eating at the cafe and it was one of the few places I felt comfortable in. A few minutes later, the footsteps returned but there was more than one pair.

“Here’s your water Ms., and I believe I found the person you were waiting for,” Andrew turned away from me. “This way, sir.”

I reached for the water glass, my fingers grazing the perspiring outside and bringing it to my mouth. I took a gulp of water, trying to appear as nonchalant as possible.  

My heart quickened as I heard the screech of the chair against the wooden floor. Molly tensed below me, she was distracted. I wondered if a squirrel had run by. Then he spoke.

“So you’re Rebecca, it’s nice to finally meet you.”

Without a hint of awkwardness, I was impressed. He hadn’t even sounded shocked by seeing my condition. The hint of a real smile grew into the one I had plastered on my face, maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad.

“And you must be Joseph, I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“And I you- oh, I think the waiter is coming back.”

Sure enough Andrew returned, “Here are your menus, unless you already know what you want?”

I ran my fingers over the braille menu, before handing it back just as quickly. That was another thing I loved about this restaurant, they made accommodations for everyone. 

“Just the usual, thank you Andrew.”

There was silence from the other side of the table, just a rustling of the plastic menu.

“You know what, I’ll have the same thing! And I’ll have a glass of water with that.”

“Of course sir, your order will be out soon.”

I waited for Joseph to say something. I was a little disappointed that he hadn’t even tried to complement me, it was a date after all. I shoved the thoughts aside and cleared my throat.

“So, how do you know Lauren?”

He chuckled, the sound was deep and sweet and real. My heart melted a little bit. 

“I just got a job teaching at the university here, Lauren is a department counselor and I met her through a staff social type thing. She’s a very...enthusiastic person.”

I laughed, sucking in air so fast that I let out a snort. My face flushed red but he didn’t make a comment, only laughed with me.

“You teach? What subject?”

“Intro to Optometry believe it or not, which is kind of ironic of course.”

There was a smile in his voice but I shifted in my seat. Is that why he was comfortable around me? Would he start asking me questions about it? I was going to kill Lauren after she drove me home. 

He cleared his throat, “Well, what do you do?”

I took a breath, at least he wasn’t pushing the other topic.

“Well, I am really a writer but for the moment I’m working for a publishing company. I specialize in producing braille copies of books. ”

There was a silence and he finally replied.

“That’s amazing, were the menus all you then?”

I relaxed a little and smiled, “No, the owner is just a really sweet woman.”

A clattering of dishes cut through our conversations and Andrew set down the plates of food.

“Let me know if you need anything else!”

His purposeful steps faded away.

“So, what do we have here?”

As if it was hard to tell, I reached for the sandwich on my plate with a soft laugh.

“Just your classic BLT and homemade potato chips, which are far too addicting for someone like me.”

I could hear the crunch of lettuce and snap of bacon as Joseph bit down. I joined him in eating, the flavors melting over my tongue. The tomato was perfectly ripe, and the cooks had fried the bacon extra crispy. I almost moaned with delight, catching myself when I remembered I had company. We ate without talking for awhile, a duet of chewing, crunching and gulping. At one point he must have eaten a very crisp piece of bacon because he was chewing extremely loud.

As we both finished, he tried to strike up the conversation again. That’s when it happened.

“So, what do you think of the sky tonight?”

What? Did he not know? Was he trying to be funny? Whatever the reason, I was losing humor real fast. So I told him.

“I guess you didn’t know, but, I’m blind.”

He burst out laughing. 

……………………………………………

 I lingered at the bottom of the stairs to the restaurant. I had never been to the cafe but a lot of the other professors at the university recommended it. Toby pulled at his leash, trying to help me up the stairs. But it was only apprehension holding me back. I hated blind dates. People were always so awkward, trying to apologize for something that had nothing to do with them. It was too bad that I was desperate to get that counselor, Lauren, off my back. Toby pulled again and this time I let him, my hand found the railing and I climbed the few stairs where I was greeted by a smiling, tenor voice. 

“Hello sir, table for one?”

“Actually I’m looking for Rebecca?”

“Of course, she’s already here, this way sir.”

His shoes clicked against the wood floor as he headed to the left, he walked slowly and between his voice and Toby’s pulling I was able to make it to the table. 

“Here’s your water Ms., and I believe I found the person you were waiting for,” the waiter turned  back to me. “This way, sir.”

He directed me towards a chair and I sat down, listening to the movement across from me. Toby started to lay down at my feet but tensed, nearly wriggling with excitement. I touched his head, pulling his attention back. Maybe a squirrel ran by. 

I flashed a bright grin, in what I hoped was the right direction.

“So you’re Rebecca, it’s nice to finally meet you.”

“And you must be Joseph, I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Her voice was light and friendly. Her tone didn’t even hint at discomfort, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. 

“And I you-” The fast paced clacking of shoes caught my ear. “Oh, I think the waiter is coming back.”

The waiter returned, “Here are your menus, unless you already know what you want?”

I was just about to ask for an oral rundown when a menu was shoved into my hand. My fingers grazed raised bumps and I smiled. How accommodating.  

“Just the usual, thank you Andrew.” Rebecca must be a regular.

I ran my hands down the menu, trying to quickly make up my mind. But there were so many options and I could feel the both of them waiting for me.

“You know what, I’ll have the same thing! And I’ll have a glass of water with that.”

“Of course sir, your order will be out soon.”

I tried to think of something to say. Would it be too cheesy if I said I was sure she was beautiful, just through our interactions so far? Before I had a chance to try it, she spoke. 

“So, how do you know Lauren?”

Ah Lauren. The matchmaking nightmare. But she was also Rebecca’s friend. 

“I just got a job teaching at the university here, Lauren is a department counselor and I met her through a staff social type thing. She’s a very...enthusiastic person.”

Rebecca let out a fairy laugh, dainty until a single snort escaped her lips in between laughs. It was adorable.

“You teach? What subject?”

“Intro to Optometry believe it or not, which is kind of ironic of course.”

I smiled, but instead of agreeing she went deathly quiet. Did talking about it make her uncomfortable? Would she hate me for trying to make light of my situation?

I cleared my throat, “Well, what do you do?”

“Well, I am really a writer but for the moment I’m working for a publishing company. I specialize in producing braille copies of books. ”

I guess that’s why Lauren was so adamant about getting us together. Maybe Rebecca could hook me up with some good reading material.

“That’s amazing, were the menus all you then?”

Rebecca’s voice smiled, “No, the owner is just a really sweet woman.”

A clattering of dishes cut through our conversations and the waiter set down the plates of food.

“Let me know if you need anything else!”

His purposeful steps faded away.

“So, what do we have here?”

I really didn’t want to stick my hand into soup or something. 

“Just your classic BLT and homemade potato chips, which are far too addicting for someone like me.”

Oh good, I would have probably chosen that for myself anyway. I found the sandwich and bit down. The tomato was really ripe and the bacon was super crunchy, which I always appreciated. We fell into the meal, the sounds of our eating intermixing across the table. Toby figited and I pulled a piece of bacon out of the sandwich, letting him crunch on it. Hopefully she didn’t find it improper to feed a dog at the table.

As we finished eating, I tried to think of something to say but all I could think of was the weather. I was not going to be that cliche. Yesterday, the astronomy professor, Mrs. Abel had mentioned that this week was supposed to have beautiful stargazing opportunities. Maybe Rebecca would appreciate that. 

“So, what do you think of the sky tonight?”

Rebecca went dead silent again. I didn’t know what I kept doing wrong. 

“I guess you didn’t know, but, I’m blind.”

I burst out laughing.

Her chair scraped against the ground and her voice was burning red, “It’s not funny.”

I tried to rise too, almost running into Toby.

“Wait, wait. I’m blind too.”

…………………………………

I stopped. 

“What did you say?”

His voice still held a tint of laughter, “I’m blind too Rebecca.”

I found my seat again, Molly pacing at my side. I rubbed her head, calming us both down.

“I’m going to kill Lauren.”

He laughed again, that beautiful laugh of his.

“Come on, actually, I think this is the best blind date I’ve ever been on.”

I scoffed out a laugh. “It’s certainly the most literal blind date I’ve ever been on.”

A pause.

“But yes, up until a few seconds ago, I was having a really nice time.”

“Then let’s start over. I’m Joseph and this is Toby.”

“Toby?”

Joseph stood up, taking a step closer to my seat.

“Toby’s my dog, you can pet him if you want.”

I laughed, reaching a hand down and meeting a head of shorter, courser fur. 

“I’m Rebecca and this is Molly, you can pet her if you want.”

Molly stood up beside me and I could feel Joseph reach down. 

I sat petting Toby when Joseph’s hand joined me. Our fingers brushed and after a slight hesitation, he slowly took my hand in his. His hand was warm and nearly encompassed mine, patches of his skin were callused roughness and there was a strength in his touch. 

I looked up towards where his voice was last and smiled. And somehow I knew, he was smiling back.

August 28, 2020 22:11

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35 comments

Leilani Lane
17:51 Sep 04, 2020

I loved that you wrote both perspectives! Great job! :)

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Taryn Holmes
21:17 Sep 04, 2020

Thanks for taking time to comment! It means a lot!

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Mou Sukoshi
05:26 Dec 23, 2020

Aww.. it's beautiful.

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Taryn Holmes
07:48 Jan 12, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Jasmine Navarez
14:50 Sep 26, 2020

That... that was so sweet. I love the way that you hinted at Joseph being blind as well, and then, when it was being told from his point of view, just came right out and said it. This story was beautifully crafted! Keep up the amazing work!

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Taryn Holmes
19:03 Sep 26, 2020

Aww thank you so much! It really means a lot to get such positive feedback on my story!

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11:53 Sep 12, 2020

That was really good!! I love how you did both perspectives, just one thing: Maybe it's just me, but even though the story was from both perspectives, they sounded REALLY similar in wording, (which is necessary because the dialogue shouldn't change), but the way they think and describe things sounded practically identical. Maybe that's how you intended it (and I'm not saying it's a bad thing; You got shortlisted!! ) but since they're two different people maybe just change their way of describing things up just a bit. I know it's past edit da...

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Taryn Holmes
23:28 Sep 12, 2020

Thank you so much for your comment and kind words! As for the similarities of perspectives, there was supposed to be a couple parallels in their thoughts but yes they are a little too similar haha. I probably should have taken a day for each perspective, to get into two separate mindsets but was a little rushed finishing it. Thanks again!

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05:13 Sep 13, 2020

No problem!😃

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Susie Web
21:57 Sep 11, 2020

The dual perspective thing is really cool. When I clued in that they were both blind, I had to let out a laugh! I did not suspect this at all. This is a great story and very creative. I enjoyed reading it for sure. The only thing is that it feels slightly unbalanced because it switches back to Rebecca's perspective at the end, especially because I wasn't expecting that. Overall, great job! -SW

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Taryn Holmes
23:23 Sep 12, 2020

Thank you so much! Yeah, I thought I should end on Rebecca's because her point of view was a little more romanticized. Would it have been better if I had labeled the perspectives so it made more sense or do you think I should have just ended on the other perspective? I really appreciate the critique!

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Susie Web
16:35 Sep 19, 2020

I understand that. I don't think it would have helped much to label the perspectives, but it may have helped to find a way to more strongly contrast the two perspectives somehow in this situation. So I don't think that it's necessarily needed to end on the other perspective if you see a good reason not to (which it sounds like you do) and you could find a way to make the transition more distinct. -SW

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Taryn Holmes
19:15 Sep 19, 2020

Well that's really great advice, thank you again!

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Susie Web
02:21 Oct 03, 2020

Of course! I'm really glad I could help. -SW

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Keerththan 😀
07:14 Sep 11, 2020

The use of both the perspectives was really wonderful. The starting was very interesting and I was glued to the story. Congratulations for the shortlist. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my new story? Thanks.

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Taryn Holmes
18:23 Sep 11, 2020

Thank you so much! I love hearing that people enjoyed my story! And I'll absolutely go read your story :)

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Marilyn David
12:09 Sep 07, 2020

I loved this story and the ironic title of blind date.

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Taryn Holmes
15:52 Sep 07, 2020

Thank you :)

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Lori Colt
03:56 Sep 07, 2020

So sweet. What an adorable story. I so enjoyed this and I like how you danced between both their perspectives. Nicely done!

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Taryn Holmes
15:52 Sep 07, 2020

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

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06:45 Sep 05, 2020

This is a lovely story. Well done!

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Taryn Holmes
19:50 Sep 05, 2020

Thanks for leaving a comment!

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02:39 Sep 05, 2020

This is so sweet. I feel like you could make a series out of these two. Nice job and congrats

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Taryn Holmes
19:50 Sep 05, 2020

Thank you! I really enjoyed building the two characters :)

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Angela Dempsey
00:24 Sep 04, 2020

I like the twist of them both being blind on a blind date. Very creative.

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Taryn Holmes
21:16 Sep 04, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Velma Darnell
07:08 Sep 03, 2020

That's such a cute story, Taryn. I truly enjoyed reading it, and your descriptions were great! I loved the development of the plot and the characters. Well done :)

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Taryn Holmes
18:15 Sep 03, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm glad the story came across like I hoped it would :) I appreciate that you took the time to leave a comment!

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Velma Darnell
18:26 Sep 03, 2020

It's my pleasure :)

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Maya W.
00:18 Aug 30, 2020

Aww, so cute! I loved this idea. If you can, would you check out some of my stories here? Thanks!

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Taryn Holmes
19:12 Aug 30, 2020

Absolutely! Any story in particular I should read? And thank you so much for the compliment on my story :)

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Maya W.
19:25 Aug 30, 2020

No problem! I just put out a new story, so maybe that?

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Saron Mengistu
22:49 Aug 29, 2020

Another beautiful story! I love this!! Its so sweet and gentle. I love the growing awkwardness between Becky and joe(I'm not saying their real names cuz I'm lazy) amazing story!! Well done!!

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Taryn Holmes
23:56 Aug 29, 2020

Thank you so much! I was worried at first that it would be a little confusing, especially because neither of the narrators have sight, but it's so relieving to hear that it came across as I hoped!

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Saron Mengistu
23:56 Aug 29, 2020

You're most welcome. I always enjoy your stories:))

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