Melissa finds divorce inconvenient. It’s easier to simply move on. She arrives in Manderville with a suitcase and a healthy bank balance.

It’s the kind of bar where restless businessmen have time on their hands. She sits, cross-legged in knee-length cotton. Her glass is empty. She waits.

‘You look like you need a top up.’

‘Well, that’s mighty kind.’

‘What’s your poison?’

She pats the stool next to her. ‘Gin and tonic.’

‘Barman, scotch and ice, gin and tonic.’ He puts a note on the bar. Takes a seat. ‘You from round here?’

‘Just arrived.’

‘I feel like we’ve met. Where you from?’

‘Ealing Falls,’ she says. She remembers. Harbourtown with Randy. Before that Lars in Holton City. She still has their rings. Ben was a disappointment. Six months wasted in Langley. Going back. Other towns.

‘You ever been to Edensworth?’

‘I don’t believe so.’ Hell, Edensworth was Robert and his stupid dogs. Melissa sips her drink, then rises. ‘Just ducking to the powder room,’ she says.

That smile, he thinks. ‘You sure remind me of someone.’

She flattens her skirt. ‘Maybe from a photo. I used to model. Now don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back.’ As she hurries off she curses silently, then turns her thoughts to the next town, the next bar.

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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