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The Love Café
Martha walked into the Café like she always does. She sat down in her regular booth and ordered her usual drink. She took letters out of her pocket. They were about her sister, Ana, and Ana’s husband, Nate, and their kids and how happy they are. One of the letters said:
The kids had so much fun their first week of school. They are doing really well. Nate and I are so proud. Nate and I are planning to take the kids on a trip this weekend so the family can spend a little quality time together. It will be so much fun. Maybe you can come too. It’s not like you’re busy. Well, you might have work. Anyway the kids miss you and so do we. Come and visit soon.
Martha put the letters down and sighed. She thought to herself, I need more to my life than being an artist. That’s what she was known for, being an artist. But Martha needed something more, something important. She needed love. “Why can’t I be more like my sister? I am a lonely and not-so-attractive girl, an unknown artist, and I’m invisible to all men or shall I say pigs,” she whispered. “And I talk to myself. How much weirder can I get?” Then Martha had a high school flashback. She was the geeky girl with glasses and bows in her hair. She had a crush on the head quarterback for the football team, Bobby Manor. Bobby and his friends sent her a prank letter asking if she would go to the dance with Bobby. Martha took it seriously. When she got to the dance she saw Bobby kissing his real girlfriend, Brooke Matthews. It was the most humiliating day of her life. She couldn’t get a guy back then and she thought she couldn’t get a guy now. But that’s what she thinks.
After ten minutes Martha got up and walked to the counter. “Billy, can I have a scone to go?”
“Sure. You can wait at the door. I’ll come bring it to you”
“Thanks.” As Martha was walking to the door, she bumped into a man. They looked into each other’s eyes.
“Sorry,” they both said at once.
“Martha, here’s your scone,” said the waiter.
“Thanks Billy.” Martha took the bag and as she was about to walk out the man said, “Hi Martha. My name is Sam.” Martha said hi and they shook hands. Martha walked out of the café and walked home. At home she started knitting while listening to the news on the radio. Then she decided to go to the bookstore.
As she was walking down the aisles of the bookstore she saw Sam reading the back of a love story. “Just like me. Instead of living it you read about it in books,” she whispered under her breath.
Just as she was turning around to avoid Sam, he saw her and said, “Martha! Fancy running into you here.”
Martha turned around and said, “Oh, hi Sam. Um…what book are you looking at?”
“Oh…um…The Eternal Flame,” Sam stuttered.
“I’ve read that book before. It’s good. You should get it.”
“Ok. Um…Martha would you,” Sam paused.” “Never mind.” As Sam was about to go pay for the book he turned around and said, “Would you like to go out for dinner with me tonight?”
Martha just stood there for a couple seconds and then finally said, “Sure. How about the restaurant next to the café at around seven?
“Ok. I’ll meet you there,” Sam said.
Martha rushed home to get ready. She took a shower and then put on her best dress. It was a beautiful sky blue color. It had thin straps with beading weaving through them and it fell just below the knees. It was the dress that she had bought for the dance that Bobby Manor had “asked” her to in high school. She had kept it and to her surprise it still fit. Martha then pinned her long dirty blonde hair up into a bun with a diamond-studded clip that her mother gave her before she had died of cancer when Martha was seven years old. She then put on makeup that she rarely used. And lastly she opened up her cranberry colored, oak jewelry box. She took out her favorite pieces of jewelry that she only wore on special occasions, her great grandmother’s pearl necklace and earrings. She was all ready to go.
She didn’t want to walk to the restaurant so she called her friend Lucy and asked her to take her. They arrived a couple of minutes after seven. Martha got out of the car and walked to the double door of the restaurant, Leo’s. She opened the right door and walked to the hostess stand. “Hi, I’m meeting a Sam Walker.”
“Ah….follow me,” the hostess said with a thick Brazilian accent. Martha followed him to a table towards the side where she saw Sam with his back towards her. The hostess placed a menu across from Sam and he pulled out the chair.
“Thank you,” Martha said as she sat down. The hostess walked off.
Sam’s eyes bulged and under the table he felt his legs give out as he saw Martha. He managed to say, “Wow. You look beautiful!”
“Thank you. You don’t look so bad yourself,” Martha replied. They ordered dinner and desert, and they talked the whole time. After desert and coffee they even talked another half an hour. When they decided that it was time to go Sam drove Martha home. The car ride home was full of chatter and laughter. They couldn’t stop talking; they had so much in common. They both grew up in New York, they both have older sisters, and they both love reading and baseball. Then the car ride came to an end as they arrived back at Martha’s house. Sam got out very quickly and then was suddenly on Martha’s side of the car. He opened the car door and he walked her to the front of the house. While standing on the front steps Martha said, “I had a great time.”
“Me too. I’m glad I asked you,” Sam replied. Then Martha felt the same feeling she had when they bumped into each other at the café. Their eyes were like magnets; they couldn’t move. Sam moved closer to Martha. His face near hers, their hands touching, and their eyes still locked. Then ever so lightly they kissed.
Five Years Later
Ana took a letter off of her desk. It was from Martha.
I’m so sorry you couldn’t make it to the kids 2nd birthday. They really wish you could have been there. Sam Jr. even asked where you were. That was so cute. He misses you and so does Millie. Sam and I miss you all too. We can’t wait to see you and your family for Thanksgiving. I know the kids can’t wait. Don’t forget to write back. Can’t wait to hear from you.
Your little sister,
Ana put the letter down, smiled, looked up, and said, “Thank you.”