It’s the end of the year. Today I’m meeting a blind date. I walk fast, though careful not to get my high-heeled boot caught in a pothole. No way do I want to fall. Not like my poor friend Dusty who fell, broke a hip and bingo, she’s dead.
Starbucks is bustling. It’s a warm day for November — hate the sunshine — all the greasy sunscreens and everyone worrying about melanomas. What happened to the beautiful cold weather and fog?
I order my decaf cap, dry inside, two shots, two inches of nonfat foam on top. Then I find my seat by the window. I love to look out the window at the slanted narrow streets and hills, Victorian houses, old flats hanging from the edge of old grocery stores.
Just then on the dot, 4 o’clock, the door opens. I see a man much older than Aunt Zoe’s claim that he’s in his late 60s. Maybe he’s in his late 70s, but that’s OK. Aunt Zoe said he’s still working as a doctor. He wears green scrubs, a stethoscope dangling from his thin neck, and a heavy–duty spray tan. He stands in line and then, carrying his cup, he approaches my table.
“Jeremy Blum. I like a woman on time.”
His eyes behind huge, out-of-style aviator glasses are dots.
“What kind of surgeon?” I ask after a long silence.
“Uh huh. How … interesting.’’
He holds the cup of herbal tea close to his very thin mouth, his tiny tan eyes evaluating my face.
“Zoe said you were early 60s,” he says peevishly.
“She lied about both of us then.”
“Mildred, my wife, at 65 looked 30.’’
He reaches in his pocket and opens a worn leather wallet. He shows me a photograph of a woman with pale blond hair and one of those faces so done — nose job, puffed-up lips, all of it.
“She’s lovely. How did she die?”
“Eating a tainted pea and she died from botulism.”
He shrugs his narrow shoulders.
“Since Mildred died, every woman over 60 sends me tickets to musicals, leaves casseroles on my doorstep. They’re boring and old.’’
“So why did you agree to meet me?”
He shrugs. “I Googled you. You write books and columns. I’ve got a whopper of a story.’’
“Oh, I’m sorry. I have enough with my own career.”
“Isn’t it too late for a career?” he asks unpleasantly.
“Why can’t a woman have a career?’’
“If she’s 20 and gorgeous she can,” he says.
“What if they’re over 60 and passionate about their craft? Anyway, sorry, I can’t help you.’’
He sticks his face so close to mine I can see the tiny cluster of hairs sticking from his nose.
“You’d be a doll with Botox — Juvéderm on those chin lines — some fat from your thigh on your cheekbones. You’re sinking in. Also, I can see you as a blond.’’
“I’m not interested.’’
“Are you dominatrix?’ he asks.
“This isn’t Latin, honey. Top or bottom?”
“Hey, I have a deadline. I have to go.’’
“What are you writing about?”
As I walk home, I admire the early twilight dropping gold shadows on the city, like gold foil. Oh well, soon it’s another year. 2012 was a year of hopes, dreams, triumphs, hours on the phone with Comcast or the Apple hotline talking to a technician in India, then getting disconnected.
But I survived cancer, Hollywood’s ups and downs, UPS delivering packages to Alaska by mistake, and losing keys, three telephones and six pairs of glasses.
Yes, everything is possible at any age.
Who knows? The next date may be the one.
I live my funny life.
Happy New Year. n
Barbara Rose Brooker is a native S.F. author. A new edition of her novel “The Viagra Diaries” will be published by Simon & Schuster in April and be available on AudioGO; her next two novels to follow. www.barbararosebrooker.com