Back in the Saddle
They were lucky they’d managed to get one of the tables with parasols. The Miami sun was showing no quarter today and the beach crowd was cramming the café to capacity.
“Oh relax,” Rita told Tim. “She’s a pharmacy technician, which means she has to have some brains.”
“I guess,” said Tim with a shrug.
Tim’s hair was starting to thin, and he was about twenty pounds overweight, but Rita believed that most of his trouble with women was his defeatist attitude, thinking he was going through "manopause." The poor guy never would have signed up for the dating site if not for Rita. Confidence came easily to Rita. She was buxom and redheaded, she could work the color purple without letting it take over her wardrobe, and she was good at making men laugh, sometimes just with an expression or the infectious power of her own laughter.
EuroGirlEva showed up about fifteen minutes late, which is almost suspiciously early in Miami-Time. Eva’s hair was a struck match, flicking where the wind went. Troublingly, she was even skinnier than she’d looked in her picture from the dating site, her clavicle sticking out from her V-neck like a wishbone that might snap at a nudge. But at least she had the same big white smile, and when she sat down she leaned forward, closing up much of the distance between her and Tim.
Very promising, Rita thought.
Eva didn’t seem to mind Rita being there, but then she’d probably expected Rita’s presence, seeing as she’d been the one to coordinate the date over email. In her lovely, unplaceable accent, Eva recounted to both of them her latest trip to Dubrovnik—the next, next Prague, as she called it—but when it came to asking questions, they were all for Tim.
“Where did you go to college, Tim?” she asked.
“He got his B.A. from Youngstown State in Ohio, and his MBA from UT Austin,” Rita told her, while Tim just nodded.
“Are you an entrepreneur?” Eva asked.
“He runs an online company that makes and ships fiberglass replicas of trophy fish,” said Rita. “High profit margins,” she added.
“For fishermen?” Eva asked, not even glancing at Rita.
“No, for people who want other people to think they’re fishermen,” Rita said.
This went on for a little while before Eva started to show signs of irritation. “Why do you let her speak for you all the time?” she asked, tugging on Tim’s elbow.
“He’s a sweet guy,” Rita said. “He’s just what you’d call a human doormat.”
“Stop answering for him and let him speak,” Eva snapped. “Tim, is it true what she says? I want to hear it from your own mouth.”
With both women now staring at him, Tim swallowed. Then opened his mouth. “Yeah,” he said. “It’s why Rita divorced me.”
About the author:
Jonathan Louis Duckworth is a current MFA student at Florida International University in Miami, where he works as a teaching assistant. He also serves as a reader and copy-editor for the Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. His work appears in or is set to appear in Sliver of Stone Magazine, Mount Island Magazine, The Kudzu Review, and Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal.