This is based on a true story. Its about finding love unexpectedly. Its written in third person, so events and names can be changed slightly and I think it reads better. Although to be honest the events are pretty much as they happened. I decided to write it, because this week is an anniversary of it happening.
She threw her arms up in disgust, turned her back and danced as wildly as she could that night, because she no longer cared. At that specific moment, she decided that she was perfectly happy being single and, while the moment had had a bumpy ride in coming, when it finally struck, it was decisive and confident. Mary did not want, or need, a man in her life and her wild exuberant dance was a physical fingers up to all the available men, lining the edge of the bar and watching the dance floor like emasculated hyenas.
Mary’s mental stereotype of single, available men had been well and truly solidified. She was done with the whole lot of them. Refusing to play the game any longer, she danced. She danced a dance of freedom from looking, from hoping and from the oppressive feeling that somehow she was missing out on life.
That Saturday night, Mary had been dragged, cajoled and persuaded by her very good friend, Naomi, to attend a singles night. Groups of unattached men and women, well outside the twenty something bracket, were to be provided with the opportunity to socialise, have dinner and dance in an up market hotel in Yorkshire. At the time of the invitation, Mary was skeptical, but a small section of her heart quivered with excitement at the possibility of putting on a posh dress, having dinner and dancing with a man – or several of them, if truth be told.
As the two friends drove up the tree-lined entrance to the country hotel that early summer evening, Naomi finally let the cat slide out of the bag. It was a ‘Christian’ singles night. Oh good grief! Mary thought to herself. Life and experience had taught her that slapping the word ‘Christian’ on anything, seemed to give the excuse to create a ghetto: a somewhere or something that was perceived as safe or superior: a little bit like the label ‘low fat’. Yet read the labels, dig a bit deeper and the product could well contain hidden sugar or very bad things that cause cancer. Mary knew that labels guaranteed nothing, unless a look was taken more deeply… at the heart!
At the door of the hotel, Naomi stopped and began surreptitiously pointing out several people she already knew, including someone who had been part of a church work that her and her ex husband had been involved with twenty years ago. As Mary headed for her table, Naomi’s parting shot was to avoid him at all costs.
The large function room had been set out with tastefully decorated circular tables and each setting had a delicately written place name, waiting to receive its lonely heart. Despite her reservations, Mary found her seat and glanced around the table with a flutter of excited anticipation. It was clear that an attempt had been made by the organisers to evenly distribute the single men and women around the room. However, it was also distinctly clear that the ratio of men to women was significantly imbalanced. Four ladies and two gentlemen looked back. The rising anticipation faltered slightly.
Very quickly, one of the gentlemen at the table declared his position. The lady to his left was his newly engaged finance. The couple had met at just such an event two years prior – a shining trophy of all that the organisers aspired to achieve. The anticipation Mary had felt on arrival slunk away to get its coat and Mary thinking that the evening could not get any worse, quickly found she was sadly wrong.
The two ladies at the opposite site of the table began to engage in sisterly small talk. While Mary, sandwiched between the happy couple and the only available man left, turned to introduce herself to the very gentleman Naomi had warned her to avoid. Mary frantically looked across the room trying to catch the eye of her friend, but Naomi was far too engaged in a lively conversation with a gaggle of ladies at her own table. Mary soldiered on.
She did try her best to find some common ground with the aforementioned single gentleman, but very quickly came to understand why he probably remained single. Immediately after the meal had finished and whether it was polite to leave the table in such haste or not, Mary headed to the dance floor for her dance of defiant relief. It was over! The event confirmed everything she did not wish to be or have and she was gloriously content.
The following week, Mary headed out on a photography assignment with Robert, a man she had met the previous year on a business course. The course had been a change of direction for both and a mutual respect for skills and talents had formed. When Robert arrived that Saturday morning and all the photography equipment was checked and loaded, Mary had little expectation that this was anything more than the opportunity to take good images. Except something happened as she got into the car that day and headed out to the location. A conversation started – an easy, rich, engaging conversation that seemed to have no end. Mary found a man to dance with and it would take her a lifetime to learn the steps.