There was a moment that Martha was certain something exciting might happen, and then she broke her ankle.
It had been a painful couple of weeks. She hadn't heard a thing from that Garvin fellow. Just as she figured, he was not going to take that job at the local newspaper. She thought of all the things she could complain to him.
He'd never said her name, come to think of it. How could she like someone..if he didn't even say her name?
Of course, this riled her up in her silence as she went on with work, but she never said a thing in her anger at home nor at work.
This was the way it was. No different than usual, except for this thing on her foot she lugged around. And there was an itch she couldn't get too. Yes, she was certain she was even painful to look at. Of course, she gave everyone that wrinkled forehead look of hers as to not to stare.
Autumn was turning to winter these days. It was getting cold and damp and..just the other day, a cold wind almost knocked her down. It went to show her that she was getting frail. She needed to eat like her mother told her, but she didn't. She forgot about it.
Now, it was three in the afternoon, and she didn't have lunch. Her stomach almost did a flip flop of hunger pangs.
Evidently, Brice, who's office was next door, must have heard her stomach. He brought her his Sweet and Sour chicken leftovers.
She made a face. It did not look promising. It was cold from the breakroom fridge.
"I made it myself." That did not sound encouraging to Martha.
"No, thank you." her frown was small as she went back to her keyboard and heavy duty monitor. They did work on archaic systems here.
"Martha, how..about..dinner tonight?" Brice pressed.
Martha looked at him as if Brice was out of his mind, perhaps ill. He'd said her name too. She didn't think he knew her name.
"Oh, I couldn't." She shook her head.
"Its that city fellow, isn't it? You're seeing him, aren't you?"
Well, now she had to laugh. That was so funny. Best joke she'd heard in a very long time.
"Are you kidding?" She sighed. Maybe in another life a guy like Garvin spoke French and she'd speak back to him in the same language. Her luck she'd be in Quebec, but still, that would be interesting.
"So..you're..not seeing him?" Brice was serious with those very icy blue eyes of his. She thought he was going to be a preacher once. He'd been engaged to some girl, who was now a lawyer, since high school. It never happened, the marriage, but she assumed he might still be engaged. Yet, Martha thought he was gay.
Martha only shrugged and went back to her document she needed to print off and e-mail too.
"Look, what do you have in mind?" She asked before he could get away. Maybe she was interested. She gritted, hoping this was a real restaurant he had in mind. Not his home-cooking.
"We could check out the specials at the diner across the street." He shrugged back, as if he didn't have to look so hopeful, after all.
Martha winced, thinking how she'd broke her ankle not so far from the diner.
"OK." She knew an offer like this only happened, ever blue moon. She needed to make the most of it.
Just what could Brice talk about?
He remembered the first time he ever set eyes on Martha. It was middle school. He reckon she was not of this world. Perhaps a fairy. Yet a very quiet one. In fact, he was sure she might have a problem of some sort.
She was extremely shy. He didn't know what her problem was, but then he thought the whole family to be strange. Martha didn't even talk among her siblings. It was as if they hated each other.
Oh, he was suppose to be a politician by now. But that hadn't happen.
He was even lucky enough to go on a trip to D.C. He beat out Martha, in fact. Naturally, it was a small world they lived in. She was pretty smart, after all.
While, he'd crunched numbers, she went off to be a page one summer at the Capital. He thought certain by now she would have stayed, but she was never away from home long.
And now they'd worked in the same building close to a decade. Although, it felt like a century sometimes. Perhaps he was beginning to smell as old as those going into retirement. But it was a job.
And maybe they were too much alike.
But she'd said yes. It had been such a long time. I really empty space that Brice could not even grasp.
What had happened to him?
Could he possibly let himself do this? Go out on a date?
His hands began to sweat and he thought he might be shaking, but he wasn't.
She was smitten by the newspaper fellow. No way did he have chance.
He'd never had a chance with his ex, either. It was on rewind and repeat in his mind. And yet, he went forward. He needed to move forward. After all, he had nothing to lose.