“Date of birth?”
George always found it a bit annoying, but in this case kind of humorous too. In order to buy a pack of cigarettes at the local supermarket, he had to give his birth date to the cashier who in this case was young enough to be his granddaughter. “9/2/49” he replied to the inquiry.
“Oh, that’s Denise’s birthday, too.” she replied. “I know because we celebrated her birthday yesterday.”
“Did you call me, Jeanine?”
“No, no, Denise, it’s just that his birthday was yesterday, too.”
George turned to see who Denise was and recognized her as the woman who ran the floral department and with whom he had exchanged the perfunctory “Good Mornings” on any mornings she happened to be up front when he walked in. The store required it’s employees to greet customers when it wasn’t busy and at 7:30 in the morning, it was rarely busy.
“A belated Happy Birthday to you, Denise” George said, smiling.
“And to you as well” said Denise before heading out to tend to the outside display of fall flowers and garden decorations.
While he waited for the young cashier to make change (thank God for the register showing how much change to give,,, doing math in her head did not seem to be her strong suit) he wondered if he should invite Denise out for a drink to celebrate their birthdays. George hadn’t dated in the year since his wife of 40 years succumbed to cancer and had not had sex in a couple of years before that. Denise had that wholesome look he found so attracting. She was about 5′-5″ and nicely proportioned without being anorexic looking. She had light brown hair with blondish streaks, usually done up in a ponytail. He was willing to bet that all the high school boys working in the store referred to her as a MILF.
He took his change and groceries and walked outside to see Denise watering the mums and other fall flowers displayed outside. Oh, what the fuck, he decided. “Excuse me, Denise?” She turned and smiled as she released the handgrip on the hose to stop the water.
“My name is George and I was wondering that since we share a birthday if I could buy us both a drink to celebrate after you get off.”
Denise looked at him and then his hands. “Wouldn’t your wife object to that?”
“I’m sure she would if she were still alive and rest assured I would never have suggested such a thing if she was. She died a while ago and the thought never even occurred to me to take my ring off.”
“I’ve heard that once before in my life and lived to regret it.” she replied.
Okay, this isn’t going anything like what my imagination told me it would, George thought. “I’m sorry to have bothered you and certainly didn’t mean to offend you. Have a good day” he said, as he turned to walk to his car.
After about two steps he heard “4:00”
George turned back toward Denise as she said “I get out of work at 4:00. I’m sorry, it’s just that I’m still a bit skittish about guys with wedding rings. But after the last couple of days, I probably could use a drink.”
“Okay, how about we meet at Fannucci’s up the street about 4:15?”
“Sounds good. I’ll see you then.”
Working from home allowed George some freedom to come and go as he pleased as long as his work was finished on time. He knocked off around 2:30, grabbed a shower and put on some jeans and golf shirt with a light sweater over it, arriving at the restaurant / bar at about ten after four. Not wanting to seem to presumptuous, he took a seat at the bar and not one of the booths or a table in the dining room. Denise arrived right at 4:15 and smiled as she joined him at the bar. She had on a pretty flowered top and her black, employer mandated slacks. They decided on drinks, a vodka and tonic for her and a bourbon for him. After their drinks arrived, she asked if he would mind if they grabbed an open booth since she found the commotion around the bar very annoying. George agreed readily and followed her across to an open booth. He chastised himself for staring at her ass as she walked, but rationalized it by thinking it was certainly worthy of a look.