Where the sun shines

Javiers05.jpg picture by pemerytx

 Photo – Javier’s Cantena © Guerin Design

Jenna got all dolled up for her dinner date.  Little black cocktail dress with a matching bolero jacket, sheer black hose, black heels.  She checked her look once more and headed toward the door.  Her roommate, Lil, looked up from a magazine, raised one eyebrow.  Lil didn’t believe in online dating, wished Jenna luck mockingly.  Jenna smirked and let the storm door slam instead of taking care with it.  Everything was fine.  Until a king-sized wave of nervousness hit her on the way to her car.

Jenna’s legs felt unsound, began to wobble.  Her hands shook.  They fumbled for the key fob in her purse, they rattled the keys, made it hard to press the button to unlock the doors.  What hell, she thought.  She looked back toward the house, considered calling the whole thing off.  Until movement at the living room window caught her eye.  Two slats of the blinds snapped shut where Lil’s eyes had been peering out.

Jenna huffed and got into the car and headed downtown to Javier’s to meet Matt.  Matt.  She liked the sound, enhanced as it was by degrees, from tepid e-mails to passionate phone conversations to this first hot date.  She thought back over the highlights of the wind-up to this moment, and she smiled, thought Matt might be the one.  Until she saw the Exit 3 sign and the wave of nervousness returned, complete with beads of sweat.

This is just not worth it, she thought going west on Mockingbird.  This is torture, she thought turning onto Cole.  Maybe Lil is right, she thought as she pulled up in front of Javier’s.  She fumbled for the door handle, got out of her car.  A handsome, young valet caught her arm when her knees buckled.  Oh, thank you, she said.  What a nice lad, she thought.  Until she heard him mumble to one of the other valets, something derogatory about her.

Jenna huffed and clipped up the steps and through the front door.  The maître d’ acted charmed at the sight of her, like he acts at the sight of anyone with money, and he led her into the dining room.  Her eyes flashed across the room looking for one man sitting opposite an empty chair.  And there he was, considerably heavier than he was in his picture online.  But no matter, she thought, considering how lithe their connection.  No matter at all.

The maître d’ led Jenna to the table and Matt stood to greet her.  Their eyes met, excited and joyful.  Their exchange of pleasantries was fiery and sweet.  Without breaking his gaze, Matt moved around the table to stand before Jenna and offer her his hand.  She took it and felt its warmth race to her heart.  She hadn’t been wrong about him.  He is the one, she thought.  Until he helped her off with her jacket and his eyes locked onto the sword tattoo on her left shoulder.  Then everything changed.

Matt’s eyeful of excitement and joy deadened during the cocktail.  And by the appetizer, the passion in his voice had flattened out to the thinnest sound of tolerance, at best.  Just one more offense, Jenna thought, and he would flee from their table as fast as his meaty legs could go.  Funny, she thought.  Funnier still, was her forgetting how objectionable tattoos are to some people.  She’d had hers for so long.  Her circle of friends and clients had them.  She hadn’t even thought to mention it to Matt.  She began to laugh until tears rolled down her face, and that did it.

Matt told her he was sorry, that he couldn’t continue.  He signaled the waiter and paid the check.  Then he escorted her to the entry, her eyes still streaming down tears of laughter, of disbelief, of hurt and rejection, of the absurdity of it all.  But there were no tears of loss or regret or shame.  To each, his own, she whispered when he said good-bye.  She watched his meaty legs carry him away, his Armani suit pants binding around them as he hurried down the steps to the valet stand.  And she thought if she were crazy enough to continue with online dating, she would add to her profile, “I have tattoos: one where the sun shines, two where it doesn’t.”

Fini

  

EXTRAS

Jordin Sparks’ “Tattoo.”  Fiery and sweet.

 

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Missalister’s “Where the sun shines,” copyright © 2009, was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#180 – Tattoo”  Click here for more on prompt #180 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

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13 responses to “Where the sun shines

  1. You are most definitely DOWN. This did not go where I thought it was going to go and I love that about your writing. I begin by thinking I’m taking one journey and land smack in the middle of somewhere else. I loved her and wanted to slap his pudgy little self for rejecting her. You showed all the angst, the hope and self doubt we have when we take a risk with someone else and the shattering pain that comes from having someone toss us aside without looking beyond the exterior. Bravo.

  2. DEE
    LOL! Well, the dude before me in the comments line-up was up and what goes up must… Ohhh, I’m plagued with adages all of a sudden. You can’t judge a book by… It’s all true. There’s gravity and there’s filters all folks see and hear through. That’s life… Now I’m curious where you thought this flurry of a ditty was going. If you swing back by here, let me know just for fun, wouldja? Now I’m snatching up that Bravo! and signing off with a smile : )

    QUIN BROWNE
    Her majesty Quinanne, queen of the one line that says it all! I love your one lines, even as I’m nearly wrecked with wondering how you do them so bloody well ; )

  3. i think i had sort of expected the unexpected in the end, and wasn’t disappointed one bit!
    i have a tattoo on my arm, and remember the first time i was so excited and showed it off to mama – and she was so upset! i think for a lot many people in this part of the world, it is almost derogatory. i love body art though :)

  4. hahaha What a great tag-line that would be :)

    Oh Matt…you superficial man. I must say however that I was at the beach last week and I was surprised to see how many people have tattoos and how many of them are ugly. I don’t like tattoos but it seems that it’s something that we’ll see more and more of, so I’ll get used to it if I have to. Poor Jenna though :(

  5. All the nerves and that feeling – seemed like some instinct was telling her not to go – that something bad might happen. I was all set for Matt to be some evil killer and that would have been the “expected” direction. It turns out that having your heart assaulted is more interesting….
    I was angry at Matt at first, but he missed out on what may have been the chance of a lifetime at love. I ended up feeling a bit sorry for him, for the rigidity that cost him Jenna. At least she dove in and took a chance. She may have been hurt, but Matt will never forgive himself.

  6. DHARMABUM
    Oooh, Bum, you have a tattoo?! You must show me! I’ll show you mine if you show me yours :-D I have two: a finished one on my lower back and one that just made it to grayline status, so it looks like a sketch. The grayline begins just above the lower back tattoo and winds up and around my side… Hard to explain. Anyway, it’s interesting your comment on how tattoos are considered in India. Here, although there seems to be a wave of receptivity to tattoos, I think it remains as touchy an issue as religion and politics to those that aren’t receptive. LOL! I think the very nature of tattooing—the mindset it takes to mark the body for whatever reason—is disposed to extreme views. And that’s the beauty, the spice of life as we know it. It’s what prompted this ending that you weren’t disappointed in! Very, very good to hear since endings give me fits. There’s an art to them and I’m ever trying to get the feel for that art! Oh, so, the tattoos, my friend, Flickr or e-mail, you choose : )

    DEVIL MOOD
    I know what you mean ‘bout the bad tattoos! Anchors aweigh and Tweety Birds and Betty Boops and anime-style babes with big boobs and all manner of prefab kitsch just like everyone else’s prefab kitsch. LOL! I was very aware of that when I got mine. I drew them myself and found a kick-ass artist to plant them where the sun shines in a two-piece summer :-D
    I got such a kick out of your “Oh, Matt…you superficial man.” When I read it, I could hear Vivien Leigh saying it! And certainly no matter for Jenna. It’s good she found out how shallow his supposed luxury pool!

    DEE
    Oh, hahaaa, yes, that’s perfect! Funnier is that it didn’t even cross my mind once as I was going down that winding writing path with any number of offshoots presenting themselves to be taken. That’s one thing about writing that fascinates me: I can get an idea and map it out in detail first, but as soon as I start typing, the story goes where the story goes. One sentence come to mind mid way can change everything and so on and it sure is fun to see what happens!
    Speaking of sentences coming to mind, “It turns out that having your heart assaulted is more interesting” is a gem of a sentence. It’s got it, that thing, you know, that thing that writing can have where no one has to ask, “Is that any good?” Everyone knows it is. Yes, just one sentence…
    About Matt, my bet is that he won’t feel bad until after a few years married to a pretentious bitch and then he’ll look back on those e-mails and phone conversations!
    Anyway, thanks for coming back around, Dee : )

  7. Yes, Matt will find that Kharma debt’s a bitch on wheels LOL. It fascinates me, the process that happens when a story is written. I wish I could get to a point where I can map a story out. My ideas come in flashes – one picture or phrase and everything comes out of it. It’s like going to the flea market and finding that one perfect thing that you just love even if it really isn’t good for anything, doesn’t go with anything you have…then decorating an entire room around it – finding this piece, and that lamp, and oh, didn’t think of that but see how the color fits? Pretty much the story of my life – fly by the seat of my pants and hope that when I finally come in for a landing I won’t have road rash on my butt :)

    Didn’t think much about the heart assault sentence when I wrote it but it does have a little glow to it. Might need to go back and open that box and have a closer look sometime!

  8. Oh I did wonder if you were a tattoo woman yourself. I think it’s great if you like tattoos and plan them to be meaningful, etc. But those bad tattoos are bad precisely because they seem to lack that meaning. It seems that they were simply done because they were tattoos.

  9. DEE
    That’s neat. Your flea market scenario is perfect, gives me the picture loud and clear ; ) My first reaction is why mess with mapping when you’ve cranked out a steady stream of good stories since I’ve known you?! But it’s good to experiment if you’ve got a mind to. I’m trying all kinds of things. “If jewels could yearn” was a big time mapping experiment, and although the story did what it wanted in places, it was a better, tighter story than this one that I just let roll off an idea. So for me, just knowing more about the character and the story, where I wanted it to go and how I wanted it to get there, seemed to make a difference. That Hemmingway iceberg theory, I guess ; )

    DEVIL MOOD
    I am or was or whatever you call someone who has a couple of tattoos and doesn’t plan on collecting any more! I do agree with you regarding meaning. I wouldn’t want just any tattoo. Mine are like drawings, images that mean something to me. But I have to say, for the sake of discussion, there is meaning in just having them, period. It’s a statement, a freedom, a rebellion, a dare, and all points in between. Of course a Tweety Bird kinda takes the edge off that a bit if you ask me… LOL!
    That’s too hilarious you having seen GWTW lately! That’s where “Oh Matt…you superficial man,” came from, I just know it! I picture it said like Leigh speaks in her Oscar acceptance speech : )

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