Carla and Evan: The First Chapter
She had waited impatiently all week for Friday night to come along. She was dressed in comfortable, faded jeans and her favorite pair of well-worn boots. In her favorite white lace blouse, Carla was ready for girl’s night out on the town. She wore silver and turquoise around her neck, with matching earrings swaying from underneath her long auburn curls. She didn’t wear much make up, just enough to accent her large, deep brown eyes.
Carla carefully checked her appearance once more in the vintage, full-length mirror that had belonged to her mother. She loved that old mirror, with its gold leaf edging and mahogany frame. It was one of the few things left to her when her mother passed away many years ago.
Giving herself a good to go nod, she rushed through the small house where she lived alone with her black cocker spaniel. He was fast asleep, curled up on the worn, comfy couch, full from the supper he had just finished. She stopped to kiss the top of his soft head and tell him to be a good boy. At the front door, she grabbed her warmest coat from the wooden rack, tucked her small leather clutch under her arm and headed out the door with keys in hand.
Carla was early again, the first of the long time friends to arrive for the weekly get together at the local, small town sports bar. She loved this place, with the live band every Friday night, a few well-used pool tables off to one side and softly lit dance floor. She had been coming here for almost a year now, since her divorce last year, which she considered one of the smartest things she had ever done. Girl’s night out had started with some old friends a couple of months ago and was now something she looked forward to with enthusiasm.
Upon entering, she paid her five-dollar cover charge while making friendly small talk with the girl selling the tickets. Most nights, she knew everyone in the club. Being in a small town, it was often the same group of people, made up of young, old, singles and couples.
After getting her ticket, she weaved her way around the tables and over to the bar to grab a cold beer. Scanning the faces of the few folks there, she saw him on her way across the floor. He was sitting there alone in brand new blue jeans, white pressed shirt and black felt cowboy hat. She always noticed the cowboy hats, although she wasn’t really sure why.
Avoiding eye contact with him, she got her beer and headed for her favorite seat, a tall stool at the edge of the dance floor. She was almost there, ready to sit and enjoy that first drink of ice-cold beer, when she hears the voice from the direction of the cowboy. It was Bob, the nice old fella who works there as host.
“Carla,” he says, “come over here, there’s someone I want you to meet.” She smiled at Bob and nodded ever so slightly to let him know she had heard. Draping her coat over the back of her seat and putting her clutch deep into the oversized pocket, she headed to the cowboy. Here we go again, she thinks to herself, but not this time! I can’t let it happen again! Her heart had been broken too many times already.
Determined to meet him and walk away after a few minutes of simple conversation, she takes a deep breath and shakes his calloused hand. That dreaded eye contact she had avoided so well earlier is finally made.
That was it; that was the moment. The life changing one you read about in romance novels. The kind of moment in chick flicks when the knightly hero saves the enchanting girl, kisses her deeply and passionately and you know at that moment that they’ll love each other forever, to the end of time.
The few minutes of small talk she had planned never happened. Well, maybe in a way it did. They talked about jobs, family, friends and hometowns. They talked about hobbies and ex spouses and everything under the sun.
Her girlfriends came in one by one, each noticing her there, talking to Evan. They came over to meet him, making comments about how handsome he was. Many beers and several hours later, they were still talking and laughing, holding hands and feeling as if they had known each other for years.
He wasn’t like the others; he was older, more mature. At 45, Carla was no spring chicken, but was fortunate to look years younger. The younger men she had dated since her divorce were only after one thing, and that had gotten old long ago. But he was different. She could tell he was genuine and down to earth. He had an honesty about him that was good and wholesome. He didn’t have to try to impress her; it just came naturally.
She didn’t join her friends that night for their night out. She would walk over and talk a few minutes every now and then, but each time found herself going back to Evan. It was 8:30 that cold, Friday night in February when she first met him. It was 9:30 the next morning before they parted ways.
She never expected to hear from him again. Saturday at home was just a lazy day; most of it spent reading a book. Afraid he might not call, she tried not to get her hopes up. When her cell phone rang around 3:00 that afternoon, and the display told her Evan was calling, she was genuinely surprised. “I just wanted to say hello,” he said, and that hello turned in to an hour-long conversation.
TO BE CONTINUED