There’s a picture of Dave and me on the refrigerator. I’m tucked under his arm and he’s smiling. We’re a couple in that picture.
Now it’s just me.
The years since he died have slipped by—the pain is just below the surface now, like an underwater current that suddenly grabs a swimmer and takes her out to sea.
Cindy noticed the picture when she stopped in for coffee one morning.
“When was this taken?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I guess at least six years ago, before the ‘big C’ entered our lives.”
“Are you keeping it there as a constant reminder that you’re alone?”
“You don’t get it, Cindy. Your husband is still alive, you see him every day.” I stirred creamer into my coffee. “Pictures and memories are all I have left.”
She nodded her head. “You’re right. I do get to see my husband everyday—napping on the sofa, or in the recliner, or at the kitchen table over the newspaper.” She smiled. “Don’t you want to get out again, Beth? Or are you going to be alone forever?”
“Where am I going to meet someone to go out with?” I bite into my bagel. “I think I’m a little too old to start hanging out in bars.”
“You could try an online dating site. My sister’s friend did and she met some nice guys.”
“I’m not that interested. I get out. I’ve got friends. I don’t see the need.”
“Seriously, don’t you want some male companionship? Just someone to spend time with…Don’t you miss—you know, sex?”
“Okay,” Cindy said, as she set her cup down. “Look, I don’t mean to interfere. Well, no more than I usually do. But think about the dating site—it might be worth a try.”
She kissed me on the cheek. “The web site is called ‘Single No More.’ Here, I’ll write it down for you. Think about it, okay?”
“Sure. Right after I lose twenty pounds and have a face lift.”
“I’m just kidding.”
Loneliness swept over me like a tidal wave. Tears slid down my cheeks and I wiped them away with the back of my hand.
A few nights later, I was in need of a diversion so I fired up the computer and typed “Lonely No More” into the browser. Up popped a glitzy web site full of testimonials from the no-longer-lonely; the lucky ones who found their soul mates through the web site. They gushed their eternal thanks to the “awesome” people who started this “amazing website.”
I clicked on the free trial button and began to scrutinize the men who were as desperate as I was at that moment.
I read a few bios, when I came across a picture of a man with thinning hair and a nice smile.
“Hi, my name is Drew. Are you tired of being alone?” I nodded my head, and on impulse, I sent him a note, introducing myself.
A few days later, he emailed me an invitation to meet him at the local coffee shop.
That’s how I ended up here waiting for my “date” to appear. I gazed out the window, wondering if Drew had driven up, seen me, and decided it wasn’t his day.
Smiling, I remembered my first date with Dave. We sat in a gray vinyl booth at the diner and talked all night. That was when I fell in love with him.
Tears stung my eyes. Gathering my purse, I started to leave.
The door jingled and a man entered. It was Drew. He approached me, smiling. “Hi, are you Beth?”
I shook my head.
“You look so much like her picture.”
“I have no idea of what you’re talking about,” I said. I pushed past him and left.
I slid into my car and caught my breath.
Memories of Dave washed over me as I drove away. Sitting at a red light I thought, What if I had turned Dave down the first time he asked me out? Would my life have been as happy?
The cacophony of car horns beeping startled me out of my reverie.
I made a right turn and headed back to the coffee shop.
The door jingled as I entered. I walked up to where Drew was sitting.
“Hi. I’m Beth. You look a lot like a picture of a man I was supposed to meet her today.”
I sat down across from him.