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The Dating Chronicles

By Accident

Candy gave no hint of recognition as she limply grasped the familiar hand.  She felt faint as the pounding in her heart rose to a high crescendo.  She had not seen Matt in four months, but the memory was still fresh in the vault.  His hand was warm and filled with the strength that was him.  His eyes intense as ever, stared blankly as if awaiting admonishment for his actions.

For a moment, it was difficult to focus, as she struggled for the power to appear congenial.  He had broken her heart and she had not forgotten.  Now, he stood facing her on the arm of her best friend’s friend, being heartily introduced as the new woman.  She had come to this networking event in search of freedom from the loneliness that seldom left her.  But instead, she had unexpectedly encountered the source of her pain.

As the host continued the introductions to include other members of the group, she quickly backed away to distance herself from the pain.  As she turned to seek out a place of obscurity, she accidentally bumped into a passing stranger, whose drink splashed wildly over her new suit.

The tears, which had been waiting to break formation, gushed forth, as she bent to mourn the damage.  The stranger knelt beside her and offered his handkerchief in sympathy.  The tears stopped abruptly as she stared into the handsome face.  Suddenly, the soiled suit and the experience of running into Matt no longer mattered, as she slowly wiped the suit dry.  She decided she had the rest of the evening to look forward to, as she smiled boldly into the concerned eyes of this handsome stranger. She hoped he was alone.

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Matt shuddered silently as he reached to shake Candy’s hand.  It was their first encounter, since the breakup and he was unnerved by the sight of her.  She was the last person in the world he would have wanted to run into with a woman on his arm.  He was surprised that she pretended not to know him.

He felt repulsed by the familiar dampness of her hand, which he knew was due to an ongoing neurosis. He stared without expression at the woman who had made his life miserable for six long months.  He braced himself for the expected outburst of invectives, which could flow very easily, but it did not come.

He’d felt panic as he studied her face for some sign of intent…but he saw nothing. He felt pity for her as he watched her shift slowly away from the crowd.  Her shoulders slumped with the posture of defeat.  He knew she was hurt, but he felt relieved of the burden.

He watched as she accidentally bumped into the passing stranger.  He witnessed the tears and the visual assessment…then the twinkle in her smile and he knew she would be okay…at least for a while. Meanwhile, he felt sorrow for the stranger who appeared mesmerized by her beauty.

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