by Sally George
There wasn’t any rain although it had been predicted. The cats lay on the window ledge as if they were waiting for the rain and not able to adjust to the reality that it wasn’t coming. Adjusting to the lacks and nips of reality was an important skill, in Liz’s view, but maybe not one that cats possessed. Liz thought she was pretty good at it.
If it rained, it rained. If it didn’t rain, that meant Art wasn’t coming. If it didn’t rain and Art came, that would be two good things and you couldn’t have two good things, unless it was winning at solitaire twice in an evening. That sometimes happened and it didn’t signify anything.
But if it rained that would not be too good because the umbrella was at work, and because it made the invisible dips in the parking lot fill up so you had to hopscotch to your car. Art was not the sort of man who liked walking in the rain. That was why she responded to his ad. Hate walking in the rain, dislike music and social occasions, not fond of pina coladas. It made her laugh and it gave her hope. It was, at least, better than the others she had tried.
She had given directions to her house but had made him come the long way so he would have to be late. There had been one she had talked to on the phone and at the last minute, gave him directions to the Sherwin-Williams store. He hadn’t called back. There had been a few other she had made coffee for, made conversation with, but they had been nothing after all. Back when she started she used to meet them in coffee shops but decided it was depressing. Might as well get right to the point, but the point was awfully slow in coming.
If he was coming it would in the next few minutes. She checked again that the cats dishes had plenty of dry food, plenty of water. She had left the toilet open, cats would drink out of the toilet.
He came. He was short, well-dressed, and had promising eyes, cool and empty. She made him coffee, and they talked in a nervous first-date way. He had a raincoat that he laid over the back of the couch, and after the first coffee Liz went over to pick it up. He jumped, and declined her offer to hang it in the closet. Under cover of neatly re-laying it over the couch, she felt the pockets. It was almost certain that something was in there, it was not solid enough to be a gun but it felt awfully like a knife.
She opened a button on her shirt, pushed up her sleeves, crossed her legs and stretched out her neck whenever the occasion arose. He seemed a little jumpy. Liz wasn’t sure if she should try to provoke him, or make him comfortable. He had a second cup of coffee, and then he left, shaking her hand at the door. She was sure it had been a knife.
Later, his email explained. “Sorry, you were just not my type.”