Reza was an anxious man. He had immigrated to this country 25 years previously and hadn't looked back for nearly 20 of those years. Something inside him which he could not understand compelled him to keep going without asking questions, without trying to find answers. The more he did so, the more anxious he became, the less he slept, and the more strange and unnerving were his dreams. He tried to cover it up with medication, which worked temporarily, although in a sadly hollow way. After finishing a degree in accounting, he married a divorced mother of three children. That ended disastrously. Then he met his second wife: young, beautiful, highly intelligent, and ambitious. It could have been the perfect partnership.
Alice noticed the short, dark man with shiny eyes and a sympathetic face sitting at the back corner table. She also noticed the couple he was with. The woman did not seem very happy, and Alice wondered why, but the short, dark man kept making eye contact with her and tried to make a witty comment each time she had to come to the table. She sensed his smile was hiding a deep sadness, and his eyes were shouting out for help. He, the guest, was entertaining her, the hostess. This role reversal was a bit endearing and refreshing on such a busy Friday night. Nevertheless, Alice was surprised when he handed her his business card on his way out and asked her to call him.
She tucked the card away in her apron and put it aside for a few days. At home, she looked at herself in the mirror. She was attractive, but she knew she was no great beauty. She hadn't dated anyone in over seven years. This was mostly due to the fact that she threw herself into her work so whole-heartedly that there simply wasn't any time for dating. She liked to think that she was waiting for "the one." She had so many treasures saved up inside that she wanted to share, so many secrets that she wanted to reveal, and yet so many mysteries not yet uncovered, because she did not have the means of uncovering them. She sensed they were there, hidden inside, but was not sure what form they would take as they materialized.
On the afternoon she called him, she had just finished watching "The Girl in the Cafe." She imagined that this man she didn't yet know was somehow like the character Lawrence. "Maybe we could love each other. Maybe together we can do great things," Alice pondered. She knew that he was older, but this didn't bother her. She knew her own worth and considered a man interested in her to be savvy indeed.
"Hello, Reza? This is Alice," she said happily after dialing his number.
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