Only Fools are Positive, My Mother Used to Say

Submitted into Contest #184 in response to: Write a story about a character who is experiencing glitches in their reality.... view prompt

7 comments

Funny Romance Friendship

“Good morning, sisters!” I texted. Please, your honest opinion on a little matter. What do you think about my 77-year-old-friend, Tina, romancing our 45-year-old tennis instructor? Our sons would never, ever go for that, even if her last name were Midas and she were Venus de Milo, which she certainly is not! Maybe I’m just not hip enough?”

As I wrote, I smiled to myself and chuckled. I could hear Beth’s sarcastic voice return, “Let me guess, he’s moved in with her, right? “Of course, he has!” I would reply. Then, Jackie, losing her usual modesty, would text, “No mental images, please!” All three would shriek in colorful emojis to underscore our horror. We McKinney girls were regular comediennes, or at least we thought so, especially when assessing the indiscretions of others. 

Tina was a cougar, it’s true, chic, even sexy with her tall, slender silhouette, and blonde-to-the-shoulder hair. Yes, she’d been a model once, and still attractive in an older woman kind of way. Maybe Again, I wondered, if, maybe, I was just out of touch, a relic, a real mothball case married to the same man for fifty years, for heaven’s sakes. Some years ago, there as a tv series about cougars. It was wildly popular with my tennis team.

My text was innocent enough, between sisters, I thought typing in the last word. Just then I caught Tina’s name at the top of my screen. “Holy …., what the …!” My eyes zigzagged the screen in search of the “sent” button. “Damn! I can’t believe I did that!” I breathed. I sent my message to Tina instead of my sisters! Fingers trembling, I hit the delete button. Whew! That was a close one!” I thought. “I have got to be more friggen’ careful!”

Still, all night I couldn’t get that text off my mind - what if my message hadn’t deleted? I had just insulted my best friend and Tad too for that matter. Neither would ever speak to me again, and my tennis days were over – kaput! But I loved tennis! I didn’t want to drop off the team, become a recluse, a pariah. Really, this was Tina’s business, not mine. If she wanted to have an affair with a 45-year-old tennis instructor, then let her! What was it to me anyway? It was her life. Afterall, she’s not really hurting anyone, but she was twenty – no, thirty years older than Tad. And the truth was, they looked ridiculous together, mother and son - grandson!

Nervous, worried, I had no choice. I had to face Tina in the morning. There was no way out. The doubles championship had been set for weeks and I was captain of the team!

“Hey Tina,” I said walking onto the tennis court, approaching her hesitantly. I could feel my heart thundering. 

“Hey,” she chirped back, giving me one of her quick, pleasant smiles as she adjusted her daisy print visor. 

I searched her face. Not a nuance of irritation, anger, nada. I breathed a deep sigh of relief. I dodged that bullet! I thought. Just to be sure, I looked at her again. No, nothing.

“Let’s kill ‘em,” she said, giving a determined nod.

 “How’s Tad?” I asked poking for even the most subtle change of expression. Again that pleasant smile.

“Terrific!” she exclaimed, a funny feeling fluttering in the pit of my stomach.

It was high noon by the time I slid back behind the steering wheel of my Ford Edge, the sun glaring in my rearview mirror. I glanced at the mirror and forced a smile. My reflection was tense, unnatural looking. I “So, how’s Tad?” I asked the mirror then smiled that same hideous smile. Had I been fooled by Tina’s masterful acting? Was she hiding her anger and hurt? Or, were she and Tad in on a big joke, to see how long I would wait before apologizing for my terrible faux pas.

Even as I drove home, I couldn’t stop thinking about that text. After pulling up the driveway, I cut the engine, and sat with the AC blasting, took my phone out of my purse. I wanted, needed to make sure my text was gone, see it for myself. Trying to buck up my courage, I pressed my fingers to the sides of the phone. It was like I felt after taking a blood test or a mammogram, sure something was really wrong, and all I could do was wait in terrified silence until the doctor delivered the blow. I knew it was ridiculous. “Just check it”, I thought. After another second, with a deep breath, I pulled up my old texts, flashed down to Tina’s name and pressed the button. All her messages were gone, a blank slate. Whew! I breathed. I’d been saved by the same technology that was the basis for the whole disaster. How ironic, I thought.

Nevertheless, all morning I felt a nagging dread for my ten thirty lesson with Tad.

“Hey, I got your text the other day,” he said, a smirk curling his mouth, as he picked up his tennis racket up off the bench and unzipped the cover.

“My text?” I stammered.

“Yeah,” he said, turning around to face me, that smirk still on his face. “Hope you don’t mind, but since you and Tina are always texting each other so much, I figured it was meant for her, so I just went ahead and forwarded it to her. Hope that’s okay?” A blonde eyebrow lifted. “Don’t worry,” he grinned that boyishly appealing grin of his. “I didn’t read it.

I stared at him in disbelief. Tad had sent my message to Tina!

 “Sure, sure, thanks,” I mumbled, feigning nonchalance, studying his beautiful, tanned face, really studying it - was he lying? Could I have sent the text to him? Tina and Tads names were similar, right next to each other. Then I remembered Tina’s Tad was my “Contact” name!

“You know, Tad,” I said. “I hate to cancel so late, but this heat’s making me sick. I understand I’ll be charged, no problem.”

 “No worries,” he called behind me, as I headed back toward the clubhouse.

           Pushing through the glass door, I spotted Tony Greer, another of Tad’s students, a short, stocky, brunette and a real “court gossip.”

 “Hey, Suzanne,” she said approaching me. “I got your text from Tad. “I totally agree, she gave a confident shake of her head. “He’s totally using her.” She shrugged, “But I guess a gal’s gotta have fun, right?”


February 09, 2023 15:52

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7 comments

Kathy Trevelyan
22:53 Feb 15, 2023

Hi Suzanne, I enjoyed reading your story and think you did a good job creating your central character, she felt real and relatable. The cringe making idea of sending a text like that by accident… ouch! I’m not sure the theme of someone experiencing glitches in their reality was addressed, but that could just be my interpretation of what glitching means!

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Suzanne Seely
15:35 Feb 18, 2023

Hi Kathy, thank you very much for your comment. It makes me feel good! I had a lot of fun with this piece and am so glad that you went along for the ride with me! The truth is, I am a technological disaster, so the possibility of this happening to me, is very, very real! Take care. Suzanne

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Athena Granados
08:09 Feb 14, 2023

Wham! Get that wallop! This was a truly wild ride for me. Now, I need to check my old messages in my old phones! Thanks for the shock Suzanne! I'm 71 and my nickname us Teena. I'd be completely honest here! I am a sucker for romance. But only as a writer. And I had once envisoned myself as a cougar in a story I wanted to write. Five years after I first fancied it, I still have to type a single page. With this one, you got me on the edge of my seat, keeping my gall bladder from busting my pipes! Congratulations!

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Suzanne Seely
15:39 Feb 18, 2023

Lots of cougars out there, having fun! Looking good, and defying the odds. The theme just sprang in my head. I had a lot of laughs with it. Now, it's your turn...! I'm smiling. Thank you, Suzanne

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Viga Boland
22:44 Feb 11, 2023

That was so enjoyable! Love the humor, not to mention the “been there, done that” ooops vibe! Good use of dialogue. You write the way I like stories written. Short, easy to read. Well done. Adding you as someone I wNt to follow. Cheers! 👏

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Suzanne Seely
15:41 Feb 18, 2023

It seems I can barely work a door knob! I just stand there studying them, wondering how I'm going to get out the door, or in! It's tough for a gal like me. You've got to have a sense of humor. Thank you very much for your most kind review. Suzanne

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Viga Boland
18:56 Feb 18, 2023

My pleasure 😉

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