Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)
TITLE: Passing in the Fog
By Linda Roth
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What have I gotten myself into? What kind of a honeymoon is this?
Her list of negative questions was interrupted by a call.
“Precious! I’ve got good news!”
“Your meeting’s over?”
“No, honey. Better than that. I’m still upstairs in the Nelson office. It’s important that I stay and get this deal nailed down. It will only be a few more hours. But remember you were disappointed that you didn’t get to take a shower this morning?”
She remembered all right! They had driven all night. She didn’t even get to sleep in a bed on the second night of their honeymoon.
“Listen, Susan. I have a friend who lives in this town. He and his wife are leaving for work, but they said you could spend time in their apartment.”
“You go to their house at 963 N. Chicago. It’s the last house on the street. We passed their road about a mile back. They left the door unlocked for you. Stay there until noon. No. Just before noon. Then come back and meet me at the restaurant again. I thought staying in an apartment would be a nice surprise.”
“Yea, okay.” Susan said. No knowing if she should be proud of a husband who could give her a trip of a life-time across the US for $159.98 after business deductions or if she had made the biggest mistake of her life.
“Did you write down the address?”
“I’ve got it!” Susan didn’t admit she didn’t have paper, but she could remember 963.
Nels had already paid for their meal. Susan got up and walked to the door. Her sandals sinking into the thick, variegated blue carpet.
She found their white Ford Taurus. Pulling out in the fog was difficult, but not impossible.
A few blocks away at 369 N. Chicago, Mark McKenzie, a bachelor who prided himself in his ability to live life to the fullest, without fluff, in a timely, orderly manner, was pouring himself a cup of coffee when his cell phone rang.
“Mark? Frederick here. Mr. Zinne’s got an earlier flight. Need you here immediately!”
“I haven’t even had my morning coffee!”
“If we get Mr. Zinne on board, I’ll buy you a new coffee pot. I need you in 15 minutes!”
The phone went dead.
Mark darted out the door. He wasn’t accustomed to being rushed. He prided himself in always being on time. He left behind a neat apartment – except for that steaming cup of coffee. He didn’t allow food or drinks in his auto. As Mark rushed out, he failed to wait for the click of the lock as he normally did.
Susan found the house. She had never seen row houses before. It wasn’t at the end as Nels had said. She walked up to 369 and knocked. Then tried the door. It opened.
Inside she found a fresh cup of coffee. Considerate friends! Susan drank the coffee and decided to take that shower. She went to the car for her clothes.
Mark returned to his house. Another phone call had told him the meeting would be postponed a couple of hours. Mr. Zinne was delayed on the tarmac. Besides, Mark had walked out without his brief case. He worked late each night, and getting to work early was not normally required.
As Mark walked in, he heard water running. Strange. Must be the paper-thin walls.
Mark walked into the kitchen. His cup was empty.
I must be losing it! He poured another cup and drank it. He didn’t hear the water any more. He washed the cup and put it away, picked up his briefcase and left…totally unaware that a beautiful blond was only a few feet away.
Susan finished getting dressed. Back in the kitchen she searched for that cup. She was sure she had left it on the cupboard. She also looked in the living room. Hadn’t there been a briefcase on the couch?
I need more rest!
Quarter to twelve Susan left the apartment. She passed a man on the front sidewalk. Mark was returning home for lunch. They nearly bumped into each other. They gave each other a slight greeting unaware of how their lives had almost touched that morning like two ships passing dangerously close in the fog.
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