Late Date

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1. Flash Fiction 1.

Gwendolyn Powell stood, square-on, in front of a full-length mirror - her confidante and only true friend. She sucked in her cheeks, thrust out her chin, placed the manicured index finger and thumb of her right hand either side of her nose and stretched the skin over her cheek bones. Slowly, she pulled the palm over her chin and drew it down her neck, ironing out the years as it passed.

She continued its downward path, the middle and ring fingers briefly acknowledging her hard collar bone, before slipping down and cupping her breast. Still firm, she thought, not too saggy. ‘Not so bad,’ she said. She punctuated the uncertain audit of her assets by drumming her fingers on her softening belly, ‘No-one would know I’m over fifty. I know lots younger that would kill for my figure,’ she said.

Then, silently, not even confiding in her reflection, 'I can still turn a head or two, and not just old ones,' she thought. 'There’s the young soldier at number fifty seven. I’ve seen him looking, ogling me as I’ve walked by.'

She quarter-turned, looked over her shoulder, clenched her buttocks and examined her legs. 'Pins are OK, too,' she said, aloud again, raising herself on her toes and smiling. 'It was my legs that attracted Harry. Men fall into two camps, he used to say, they’re either leg men or they’re boob men. Me, I’m a leg man and you’ve got the best, west of the Severn, Gwen, my love.’

‘I hope this new bloke the agency’s found is just half the man Harry was. He used to make me laugh so. Never a gloomy moment, and so polite. He’d stand when ladies entered a room, and open doors for them, and he’d always give up his seat to a young mum or pensioner. A proper gent. Not many like him about now.’

'That one they sent last week, awful he was. A real pig. No manners and hands all over the place. I soon told him, and Senior Soles – Dating for the Discerning. I told them - he shouldn’t be let loose on decent souls, let alone discerning ones!’ She laughed.

Just thinking about Harry had brought a lump to her throat, but her unintended pun lifted her mood. She almost caught a twinkle in her eye. ‘Must get ready. He’ll be here soon.’

She strolled across to her dressing table and rifled through the lipsticks. What to wear? Nothing too bright, it might give the wrong impression, but nothing too subdued; she didn’t want him thinking she was dull, either. She settled on a pale pink, the colour of a clear autumn sky just before sunset.

One last check through her handbag: purse, keys, tissues, diary and the photo of Harry in his uniform - the one she never left behind.

Outside, a car door closed with a reassuringly solid thud. Gwen smoothed her dress and waited, as she had so many times before.

 

(End)

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