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You are my sunshine

“Lisa, I met a guy on an online dating service. We’ve been chatting and he asked me out! I’m really excited!”

“You know how I feel about that Kathy. Be careful. Where is he taking you?”

“That new Italian place on Echo Lane. What should I wear?”

“A little black dress, of course! You can’t go wrong with that.”

Kathy had just turned 38 and had never had a serious relationship. Being a scholar with 3 master’s degrees had been a turn off to some guys. Kathy realised that her studies were a great way to escape facing her fears. She had been kidnapped at age 7 and only recently had begun counselling.

“I was with my mom at the grocery store,” Kathy explained to the therapist. “A man was hiding in the back seat of our unlocked car and put a gun to mom’s head. He told her to drive and gave her directions that lead to an isolated field. He, he…raped her in front of me, telling me that I was next.

“Two hunters were in the adjoining woods and heard my mom’s screams. They ran towards us, guns pointed and he jumped in the car and took off before the hunters reached us.

“Mom and I were taken to the hospital and then interviewed by the police. He was caught several hours later and eventually convicted of kidnapping and battery. He committed suicide in jail. His name was Vincent Lockleer.

“Mom was never the same. She had severe flashbacks constantly as one of her PTSD symptoms. She saw a psychiatrist and was medicated, to no avail. She lives in a home with other sufferers and I was raised by my dad.”

Mark could not believe that he was feeling so tense. He’d dated throughout his 40 years, but had never seemed to find the match that he dreamed of. Kathy’s profile picture was certainly attractive and their online chats had led to phone calls. She was bright, educated and a bit shy – all qualities that he looked for in a woman.

Franco’s was crowded that Saturday evening. Mark arrived first, confirmed their reservation and sat at the bar with his eyes on the door. Ten minutes later he recognised Kathy and after a brief, “Hello”, they were escorted to their table near the fire place.

“I have to admit that I’m pretty nervous,” Mark stated. “Meeting in person is different from our calls and I want to appear charming,” he said with a smile.

“I’m an absolute wreck,” Kathy said quietly. “I also want to seem like a confident and worldly woman.”

“Well, why don’t we agree to try and relax and enjoy each others company?” Mark laughed.

Dinner was delightful and after a glass of wine, both Kathy and Mark found themselves chatting freely and comfortably. “May I see you again?” Mark asked as her opened Kathy’s car door for her. “I really had a wonderful evening.”

“Lisa! I’m in love. I truly think I am! Love at first sight!”

“Whoa lady! Take a breath – it went well I’ll assume?”

“He’s a doll in every way, Lisa. We talked about things that interest us both and he’s a gentleman and he’s handsome and he’s funny and he’s…”

“Slow down girlfriend! Do you even know his last name?”

“Lisa, he has a last name, of course. Tomorrow, we’re going to the lake to picnic. I can’t believe this is happening! I feel elated!”

They met in the parking lot and Kathy told Mark that she had brought a Frisbee. “I’m not bad, if I can say so,” she giggled.

“Well, will just have to see about that,” Mark replied as he carried the basket full of goodies toward a shady tree. “I’ve been known to throw a mean disc a time or two.”

Mark began to whistle as they strolled along. “You’re sweet Mark,” Kathy said. “My father used to sing that to me.”

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…” Mark sang.

The afternoon passed. They nibbled and talked. They laughed and flirted. Both Kathy and Mark felt they had found their other half.

“By the way, Mark. What is your last name? We only used an initial online.”

“My full name is Markus Vincent Lockleer.”

{A work of fiction}

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