Friday, December 14, 2012

Fiction Friday--Duckling or Swan

Greta was everything a woman could want to be.  She was tall, blonde, shapely, intelligent, and successful in her career.  It hadn't been easy to put herself through college, but she used her looks to do just that.  She had modeled at night and on the weekends to pay tuition.  Even with such a busy schedule, she managed to graduate in four years.  

Taking time off for enjoyment after college was out of the question.  So she graduated on Saturday morning and began a new job at a bank on Monday morning.    She loved the job, interacting with the people, and growing closer to her peers.  Her boss was pleasant with reasonable requests which Greta had no problem fulfilling. 

The only issue Greta was having at work was Clark, the guy in the next cubicle.  He was at least 6'3" and weighed all of 150 lbs.  His arms were too long and his legs too short.  His eyes were close together and his ears stood straight out from the sides of his head.  He walked like a crane and his head bobbed with each step.  No two parts of him looked like they belonged together.  Greta thought he looked like he had been assembled with leftover parts. On top of his unusual looks, his social skills were less than acceptable.  He was as awkward socially as he was in the looks department.

Clark was nice and polite, but didn't seem to understand the Greta wasn't interested in him.  He had asked her to go out with him at least three times every day since she began working.  She always declined as politely as possible, but he would come back with a different invitation an hour later.  In one day she could be asked to go to dinner, a concert, and skating. It seemed that Clark thought she objected to his choice of entertainment.  The gossip around the office was that he had done the same thing to every single woman hired.  So far he hadn't been successful in securing a date.

One night Greta's phone rang.  "Hello?"
"Hello, beautiful."
"Who is this, please?"
"You don't recognize me?  I thought you'd never forget me. I'm disappointed."
"Do I know you?"
"You did at one time and proud to tell everyone who would listen."
"Is this Robert?"
"Yes it is.  Now you remember."
"I haven't seen you since our freshman year in college.  Where have you been?"
"In medical school, baby.  How would you like to go out with a doctor?"
"I'd like that.  When?"
"How about tomorrow night we go out to dinner?"
"That sounds good.  Are you planning to pick me up?"
"No, I won't have time for that.  I'll be working in the ER until the last minute.  You'll have to meet me at the restaurant."

Greta agreed but was a little uneasy about it.  She had never met a date for dinner unless it was their first date.  She and Robert had dated in college and knew each other well.  Why couldn't he pick her up?

Robert was intelligent, charming, and very good looking.  The fact that he was now a doctor only added to his date-ability factor. 

The next day she talked to some of the other ladies in the office about her upcoming date over lunch.  Some expressed concerns.  Others saw no problem with Robert's request.
"How did he treat you when you dated in college?" Sandy asked.
"Alright, I guess.  Not great, but not bad."

Greta pondered that question throughout the afternoon.  How had he treated her?  She remembered one time when he forgot a date completely.  Then wasn't especially apologetic when she confronted him.  There was another time they went to a party and he completely ignored her.  He visited with others at the party, but his behavior didn't indicate they had come together.  In fact, Greta remembered that he was never very attentive when they were together.  She always felt like he was on a date and she was tagging along.  Greta was beginning to remember why she stopped dating Robert.

Right before the end of the workday, Clark stepped into her cubicle.  "I hope you have a good time on your date.  I just want you to know that I agree he should make time to pick you up.  I would never expect you to meet me anywhere.  That doesn't show respect."  Just as quickly as he stepped in, he was gone.  Greta didn't have time to reply to his comments.

 Greta was late getting home due to heavy traffic.  She showered quickly and did her hair in an updo for time sake.  After a quick make-up application and dressed in her favorite outfit, she was off to the restaurant.  She arrived about five minutes late.  She searched the restaurant for Robert, expecting him to be anxiously waiting for her.  He was nowhere to be seen.  A server approached her and asked, "May I help you?"  She explained that she was meeting Dr. Robert Davis.  The waiter informed her that Dr. Davis had called and left instructions for her to sit and order an appetizer while she waited for him.  Greta felt a little annoyed then immediately felt guilty when she remembered that he was an Emergency Room doctor.  What if he was saving someone's life and she was angry because he was late?  She decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The waiter led Greta to a nice quiet corner table and took her order for an appetizer and drink.  After he left the table, she looked around the dining room.  It was exquisitely decorated with rich wood and leather.  Each table was placed under a magnificent chandelier which was dimmed to provide the perfect amount of romantic lighting.  There didn't seem to be a bad table in the establishment.  Greta was very impressed.

Her appetizer and drink arrived in sophisticated dishes that fit the ambiance of the dining room.  She was enjoying the spinach dip when Robert arrived, a full thirty minutes late.  He appeared in dress shirt and slacks that fit him well.   He smiled as he leaned over to kiss her cheek before sitting down.

"Sorry to be late, love.  It couldn't be helped."
"Were you treating an emergency patient?"
"No, it was kind of quiet today.  Not much traffic as we say."
"Then why are you late?"
"Well I don't feel the need to explain to you, but I will.  Some of the other doctors were having a get-together and I stopped by for a few minutes."
"Why didn't you just call and tell me to meet you later?"
"Because I knew you wouldn't mind waiting for me."
Greta decided to let it go.  She didn't want to spend the evening arguing.  They hadn't seen each other in eight years and she didn't want to spoil this evening.
"So how do you like working  for the hospital?"
"I love it, but I don't plan to be there very long."
"Really, why not?"
"I plan to be off to bigger and better places.  This is just a stopping place."

The waiter returned and Robert and Greta each ordered a medium steak.  It arrived after a few more of Robert's stories.  Greta's steak was cooked perfectly and her steamed vegetables were seasoned with an unusual but delectable seasoning.  Robert's  steak looked exactly like Greta's but he sent it back with further instructions for the chef.  Meanwhile he talked--about himself.

By the time they had finished the entrees, Greta was tired of hearing Robert's voice.  He offered dessert, but she declined claiming an early morning appointment.  She thanked him for the evening and excused herself for the evening.  She was almost to the front door when he caught up with her.  "Let's do this again sometime."  Greta smiled and gave a slight nod of the head.

Greta spent the rest of the evening remembering why she had stopped dating Robert in the first place.  It seemed that Robert loved two things, medicine and himself.  Then she promised herself that she would never go out with him again.

The next morning everyone in the office wanted to know how her date had gone.  She explained and surprisingly could laugh while telling them.  They laughed as well.  Within a minute of entering her cubicle, Clark stepped in.  "I'm sorry your date didn't see how valuable you are.  If he spent the entire night talking about himself, he miss discovering the treasure sitting across the table from him.  I hope you don't go out with him again.  You deserve better than that."  With that he left.

Greta was shocked and humbled by his compliments.  The rest of the day, she watched him.  He somehow didn't seem as gangly and awkward as he had yesterday.  His head didn't seem to bob as much when he walked.  Greta thought, I've had two men spend time with me this week.  One duckling and one swan.  Could I have been mistaken about which one was which?  She vowed to look past Clark's looks and get to know him better.

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