I stand in front of the mirror and marvel at myself. I'm not the kind of man who's super concerned with how he looks or how I am seen by others. I don't have time, I never had. I always had to run in the race of professional evolution to get out of the swamp that my birth gave me. First I studied and worked, I didn't even have enough sleep time. Then, after I finished my studies, I started the search for jobs, for projects, for gaining prestige and money.

This gain was almost my only food, quenching a terrible hunger. In the beginning, it was the hunger to come to the surface, then the hunger to gain and settle on a swamp bank with more stability. Then it was the migration to stable lands greened and shaded by forests.

I don't know when the hunger for power was born in my soul, but when I felt it, it terrified me. I've always hated this nonsense. Maybe this is because I met the hunger for power in specific forms in the very swamp of my origin. If I think deeply I detected it, with bitter tears, in the despotism of my father. And I swore I wouldn't be under its influence never in my life. But soon I've understood that this hunger was hidden in each of the steps climbed in life, lying under the carpet that became softer and softer under my feet. I try to escape. But how? Now it's time to start a family. What facet of hunger is this? It must be the hunger for socio-professional integration that has also established this. It became obvious to me that as a family man, it's much easier to climb the social hierarchy. This happens especially if I succeed to have a wife who can and wants to give a helping push”.

It was so hard for him to write on that dating site. He always considered this as a frivolous affair. But, eventually, he decided to try, after persuasive counseling. He does not lack women in his life, but those that arise are not for this aim.

Take care M.R. don't rush into telling too much about yourself. Ask questions and watch your partner's nonverbal carefully. You have to find out many things as quickly as possible about each one”.

“Why does this guy from counseling presume that I have to meet a herd of possible partners?

It’s already really hard for me today, at this first date”.

He bends down to choose a tie. He never managed to match a tie to his clothes. He gets angry. But, for God's name, why should I wear a suit? What am I going to CO? He throws away the pretentious clothes and quickly chooses a pair of light black pants and a blue blouse that highlights her deep azure eyes. Quickly put a pair of sneakers and runs out the door. Wow, I forgot the recognition book. Does that mean bad luck? That's what my mother used to say: ”don't turn back of the way; whatever it is.” He shrugs, grabs the volume with the red covers, and goes out the slammed door again, which locks automatically.

Cora is ready for this date. Honestly, this time she doesn't even have emotions. It is the seventh date for her. She wants it to be the last one. No matter if it's a success or not. The taste of previous disappointments, embarrassment, indulgence, or hilarity mixes in her mind giving birth to the urge to return from the road. “Now, if I started, I'll accomplish. Ready. Whatever it may happen. This time I won't say anything about myself without being asked. I will let the guy take the initiative and play as long as he is able to do it. ”

Cora has been single for the past three years. After two years of relationship, her partner left her for an expedition to the North Pole, without even formally asking her opinion. He announced it abruptly he was going to leave. She was amazed to see how easily she received the news. She seriously wondered why? "I didn't love him!" The sentence rang in her mind and a shiver ran down on her spine.

"Why, why didn't I manage to love him?” She asked herself this, many times in these two years before the game of blind dates started. She kept asking and after when failures began to cascade.

She didn't even expect anything from this attempt of dating, but she gave in to a thought born in her mind. She doesn't even know when and where it came from, as a kind of premonition. She used to laugh at those who resorted to this form of finding a partner. Even now, for this “last date", she doesn't take the approach seriously. Something unknown is pushing her forward.

Cora didn't say anything to her mother about this approach. The poor woman was in despair of seeing her daughter married and always used to pressure her in different ways. Cora was the only child of a middle-class family. They have a nice house in a residential area, where only the two of them remained after her father left in a ray of light. And her mother is horrified at the thought of leaving her alone in the world. "I do understand her” Cora was usually thinking even if the pressure wasn't comfortable at all.

She was known as a quiet girl, relatively shy in social life despite her tenacity in the profession. Her success was unexpected for her relatives, acquaintances, and even for her mother. Cora never wanted to ascend in the social hierarchy, but she was smart and conscientious. She suddenly found herself pushed by the current, without appearing as a threat to anyone. Probably this happened just because of this.

What Cora truly wants is love, a true love without too many words but present in every gesture, smile, and movement. She knows it's a utopia but... "What if I hope?" Hope does not hurt! I have only to take care of how I handle disappointments.

And there were a lot of disappointments. This is the reason she considers this attempt as the last, at least for a while.

 She always wears the same clothes, her uniform for blind dates. At least, for this one, she doesn't need a sign of recognition because they had seen each other on the internet. "It seems he was not afraid to put his own photo," she thought when he immediately proposed to talk on Skype. ”He must have a good opinion of himself”- says her mind. Cora, though not ugly at all, does not hasn't a too positive self-image. That's why he often avoided meeting guys who seemed too handsome. He doesn't think that's the case with this guy, although he seems to have a different opinion. "I'll see," she concludes.

M.R enters the terrace where the date has been scheduled. Under the weeping willow, on a well-placed table, he sees the book with red covers. But no woman is at the table. Somewhere to the right, at another table, is a man of medium height, with discreet baldness, well dressed and with a slight air of superiority. He goes to the book with the red covers and the next moment a young woman with the look of a toothpick, in black trousers three quarters and with a blouse loosely tied under her breasts, appears out of the blue and sits down at the table, slowly wiping her hands. She looks around and their eyes meet.

No startle or shiver feels M.R. Neither the girl seems impressed. He holds out his hand taking hers. The young woman's hand is soft, the grip barely sketched, anemic, and their eyes are fixed on the pair of books with red covers. Something in the mind of M.R. signals a lack of mutual interest. But the discussion is connected, the ideas flow, the communication seems to succeed. M.R.notices, with a slight wave of sadness, how childish the girl in front of him is, how far she is from what he wants. And, from the somewhat detached way in which she responds, he quickly understands that in the profound difference between them, one thing still binds them, the lack of interest in each other.

A woman appears at the table where the arrogant man is sitting. She is tall, with a fine figure and large, black eyes. M.R. although he is talking to the young woman next to him, is damn tempting to observe the woman at the next table. The willow above waves its branches in the light wind. A branch with long leaves slightly touches the woman's hair in the color of autumn chestnuts. She raises her hand to rearrange a rebellious strand and at that moment her gaze meets that of M.R. Above, hidden in the willow branches, a bird begins its trill. A shiver runs down the man's back and he marvels at how the woman's gorgeous black eyes at the next table widen, embracing him in a hug that is no stranger to him.

Cora almost jumps out of her chair. Or so it seems. Only her dark, deep eyes make the move. The eyes of her mind see, somehow far away, in time, near the watermill of a mountain village, a woman with a lunch basket covered with a towel, on one arm. Surprisingly, she seems to recognize herself in that woman and feels her lips tightly contained in a warm and deep kiss, the moment the man who appeared in front of her embraces her in a tender hug. Something whispers to her that she has been tied to this man by wedding only a few months ago. She seems to feel with that man the fulfillment of the bee that finds its pollen. Cora blinks in astonishment. Surprisingly, the face, the face of the one who hugs her there, then, is that of the man at the next table. But who really is the woman with the basket? She feels it is her, but she doesn't understand why her long hair is tied in thick tails making a crown at the top of her head. He doesn't understand why he has those clothes that he only saw in movies from a bygone era. And he, yes, is his face only that he has clothes like hers, from a past time.

Their eyes clench, the separation appears to be impossible. The arrogant guy notices something and in the next second tries to draw Cora's attention to him and somehow gestures angrily.

Some long minutes pass. Cora looks at her partner with a slight surprise, not understanding why the arrogant man is there in the landscape under the weeping willow. And she, what is she doing there, next to that man? She doesn't seem to have a place there either. Not even that thin girl, whose clothes stand like on a fence, is in her place next to the man with blue eyes. It's just that the skinny girl doesn't care. She eats with a mad appetite all that is brought to her. She even orders a dessert, without much interest in what is around her, announcing to M.R sec not to be afraid that she will pay for her consumption.

"I'm glad I don't eat alone, that depresses me the most. You know, when I go to a restaurant, I can't sit at others' tables. But with these meetings, the problem is solved. "

 M.R looks at her somewhat amazed, especially since her sylph figure does not betray anything of her appetite like Pantagruel's hunger. But M.R. has no time to think about the girl next to him. He is amazed by the black-eyed woman. He feels it for sure he knows her from somewhere, but where from? He has a clear perception that he knows also her body. The image of a mole on her left shoulder, where the bra strap usually sits, haunts his imagination. "Or it’s the memory?" In his memory, the mole is not hidden under the bra strap but under the linen of a rustic snow-white shirt. Confused, M.R closes your eyes tightly. He doesn't know exactly how, but he knows for sure that this evening will end with the woman at the next table. Each of them is next to the wrong man; it is only a random joining.

Cora and M.R. walk along the alley with acacias; they are speechless.

 Both of them have followed an unseen thread of Ariadne's, after parting peacefully and trouble-free with their table partners, and met at the corner of the alley with acacias. They set off on their way shoulder to shoulder. They walk and keep quiet, only their souls speak.

M.R. stops. His deep blue eyes look her in the sweet darkness of her black eyes. His lips whisper simply: ”Now I'm M.R”. As if she genuinely understood the meaning of that "now" without hesitation, the woman answers: ”My name now is Cora”.

M.R. reaches out lightly his hand to her shoulder and gently removes her blouse and bra strap. The delicate mole that reveals itself, gives him the certainty of an end of the road. M.R is thinking: ”Maybe, I would say that it is rather of a bridge in my life and over lives. I deeply feel that beyond it a new road stretches under the stars. He smiles. She smiles. The sky is smiling with happy eyes of stars”.

Cora's black eyes shine under the blue sky of his gaze, illuminated by the moon of hope even in the darkness of the falling night.

Two loneliness meet over the bridge thrown by fate.

August 22, 2020 18:30

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Yes No
21:44 Aug 29, 2020

Hi Rodica! Your writing has a straight-to-the-point fashion and doesn't get too flowery which is a running theme throughout your story that I enjoyed. Plus, using short sentences is an aftereffect of this style which ensures the story to be bold and impactful, and it sure is! I also like how you mentioned character backstories to elevate each protagonist's relevant character development. It is important to create a relationship between the characters and the reader and referencing information using reminiscence is clever. As opposing i...


Rodica Niculescu
05:20 Aug 30, 2020

Thank you very much for the pertinent and detailed analysis. I must mention that it is a difficult but extremely useful exercise for me to write fiction in English which is a less used language in my daily activity. Specialized English (in my profession) is much more familiar to me. The whole comment is extremely useful to me. Thanks a lot!


Yes No
07:01 Aug 30, 2020

Your welcome, and great job in taking criticism so well!


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