The first sentence is from The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. My writing pal didn’t think she did much with hers but she described a woman cleaning in a house that had been deserted for 50 years. I just wanted to know so much more about the woman and the house, of which she painted a very vivid picture. I could almost smell the bleach and see the tub come clean. This time, unlike many exercises we do, our stories were totally different, rather than picking up on the same idea.
I climbed into the bath leaving the scrap of paper on the edge. The number had been hastily scribbled when he handed it to me.
I wasn’t in the market for a new man in my life. Overall, my dating record from high school, though university and now as a working woman had been abysmal.
Not that I didn’t get offers, I just had the knack for finding the losers disguised as winners. I was attracted to the Armani suits only discover the suit was worth more than the wearer when it came to things I wanted. A man like my father who showed my mother respect and consideration along with love.
Frank and I had met when I was loading a 50 pound bag of grass seed into my trunk. He took it from me and dropped it in my trunk without struggling, as I has done to lift it.
He had his own cart filled with gardening supplies, including a tree, I’d my eye on but I’d already blown my budget on the grass seed and smaller plants for the dirt area between my house and where the grass began.
We talked about gardening. Then we got into ecology, then politics. We’d locked everything into our cars, except for his tree and wheeled it and his cart back to the outdoor terrace where he could keep an eye on his tree, ordered a coffee and talked for another hour.
“I’d like to see you again,” he said. “But you might be uncomfortable giving me your number, so here’s mine if you want, call me.”
The paper was on the back of a credit card receipt just the bottom not the top where the card number showed.
I stuck it in my pocket. “I probably will,” I said. “Call you that is.”
I’d finished my gardening and now I was in for a long, long soak after filling the tub, adding bubble bath so I looked like one of those movie bath scenes where there are bubbles to the neck to hide the boobs. I’d put his number on the edge and was debating with myself if I wanted to try once again with a relationship.
He did seem different. At least when you meet at a gardening centre, men usually are wearing jeans not Armani suits and his pair wasn’t even a designer label. And his jeans looked well used.
I leaned back letting the water soak the dirt from my pores.
The window was open to let in the lovely spring air. A light breeze lifted the paper and it landed on my bubbles
I grabbed it but not fast enough to blur the telephone number until it was unreadable.