Angie leaned against the risers at the side of the gym, watching other kids dance. She wished Aaron had asked her to the dance and regretted deciding to come alone. Then a hand appeared, outstretched in front of her. It was Maya. “Care to dance?” Maya asked. Angie froze. She’d been avoiding Maya after Maya confessed that she really liked her. She liked Maya, too, but was conflicted about admitting it. Doing anything in public like dancing would be too much. Angie couldn’t get her mouth to work or her feet to move. . . .
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It took me a minute to recall where I was. Right – I’d gone home with a woman from the bar last night. It was her bedroom I was in. What was her name? Rhonda? Rhoda? She had amazing red hair.
I pulled on my smoky clothes and wandered out of the bedroom. There she was, in the kitchen.
“Good morning,” she said.
Then two little red headed boys about 4 years old came into the kitchen. “What’s for breakfast,” one said. “I’m starving,” the other said.
A woman who looked like an older version of Rhonda? Rhoda? came in a walked to the coffee pot. “Want your coffee in a to-go cup or are you staying for breakfast?” she asked.
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“Let’s do lunch,” Ally said. “We haven’t seen each other in so long. We need to catch up.”
I was a bit nervous to answer yes. I hadn’t eaten in a restaurant since the pandemic lockdown started easing up.
Ally seemed to catch my caution. “I know a place with shaded outside dining and a big airy indoor space with good circulation,” she said. “Would you be interested in going there?”
Would I? Of course. “Let’s do lunch!” I said.
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“Whatever happened to that guy who used to stand in Times Square and give out free hugs?”
“Nobody hugs these days. What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about wanting to hug someone. If you weren’t on the west coast I’d hug you right now.”
“I’m not on the west coast. I’m in the bedroom. Come here and I’ll hug you.”
“You’re a lifesaver!”
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The puppy loved the piano, so she put him in front of it. He began pounding paws. The cat was a dud at music, but sometimes she would chase the light around on the iPad to create beats within the drum program. And on guitar was the ferret. The ferret needed work. His little fingers were perfect for strumming strings but he lost interest fast. It took her over 2 hours but she finally got the Tik Tok video she wanted from her little bedroom band. Now she would be famous!
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“I want it to be bright blue with accents of bright yellow.”
The painter set down two gallons of grey paint on the plastic covered floor. He stood up and gave her a long look. “We agreed on grey,” he finally said.
“I’ll pay for the extra paint,” she said. “I’m sure about this. It will remind me of Greece and sunshine.”
The painter didn’t have time for another delay, another trip to the paint store. This client was making him crazy. He wanted to punch her in the face. He wanted to pour grey paint down her throat. He stepped closer to her and couldn’t help the menace in his voice. “We agreed on grey,” he said again.
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. . . the dolphins led Charlie across the bay toward one of the smaller islands planted there. The locals called it ‘the slot’ because of a narrow fiord hidden from view. The opening into the slot was too small for a fishing boat and Charlie hadn’t been there in years.
He immediately saw a boat anchored near the small half-moon spit of sand that formed a beach. Above it was a cave. There was a big white tent at the cave’s entrance. As Charlie slowed to move onto the sandy landing, he saw a woman. She was blood soaked.
Charlie glanced around for other people as he ran toward the woman. . . .
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The morning chill hung in the air as Charlie’s boots thumped against the weathered wood of the dock. As he approached the boat he saw dolphins. They chittered at him and turned away. Then they came back and did it again.
It looked like they were saying, “Come here. Follow us.”
“What is this,” he muttered, “an episode of Lassie.”
But instead of climbing into his fishing boat he jumped in the small speedboat and slowly moved away from the dock. The dolphins gathered in front of him and darted away. He followed. . . .
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Zoom – Zoom the car said when I turned the key. The radio came on and the words disappeared.
“Why did your car say zoom?” asked the youngster in the back seat.
“Because we’re going to zoom through the world so fast we’ll be at the ice cream shop by 2 o’clock,” I answered.
How many times can a child ask you if it’s 2 o’clock yet? Even while zooming around the world, it’s a lot of times.
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“Let’s dance,” he said. “It’s almost the solstice and the days will grow longer.”
“Charlie,” she answered. “It’s freezing out here.” She slammed the car door behind her. “And we can’t dance in the driveway.”
“Sure we can,” Charlie said with a flourish. He held out a hand. She couldn’t resist. She took it.
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