This story is set in a time before the invention of the mobile phone; things were more straight forward in those days. A phone was one of those devices that sat in the hallway or a room of your house, which occasionally rang; it was usually a wrong number. When you were out of the house (or office) the only availability of a phone was a public pay phone, for which you probably didn't have any change, or one of those pre-paid phone cards. How wonderfully primitive!
‘Hello, is it Tracy?’
‘Err … no … sorry.’
‘Oh … sorry.’
That was embarrassing, quickly I walk round the concourse. I knew she liked horses, I thought the horse necklace was a dead giveaway. People rushing for a train, looking for a bus or a taxi home. Stood where she can’t see me, then she’s approaching me, looking sheepish.
‘I’m sorry, I am Tracy, I lost my nerve.’
‘That’s OK, I was sure it was you.’
‘I’ve never done this before; I told some of my friends, they said I was stupid.’
‘I know it’s difficult, but we’d chatted well on the phone.’
‘You were easy to talk to, we seemed to have things in common,’ she said.
‘Do you still want to go for a drink?’
‘Well we’re here now, we might as well.’
I’d parked in the station car park; she directed me to a nearby pub she knew.
‘So, have you been riding today?’ I asked.
‘Yes, my horse Candy needs to be ridden every day.’
‘I’ve had some riding lessons, I’m not very good, I’ve fallen off a couple of times.’
‘It takes a lot of practice, I started very young.’
‘Do you have any other animals or pets?’
‘I got an Alsatian puppy four months ago, she’s adorable. She’s got such big paws, you should see her.’
Yes, I like dogs, I’ve always had one. Mine’s a bit of a cross breed.’
The first drink eased the nerves, both hers and mine. No awkward silences.
‘Would you like another drink,’ I asked.
‘That would be good, I’ll get them but can you go to the bar? I’ll give you the money.’
‘OK that’s fair enough; white wine again?’
Drinks bought, we carried on as before.
‘I’ve had a few boyfriends, but I never manage to keep them for long. That’s why I thought I’d try this.’
‘My horse takes up most of my time, I go out with a group of friends most Fridays. I told them I was meeting you tonight.’
‘I see, what did they think?’
‘They think I'm mad! They said you’d be a weirdo.’
‘Oh! Do you think I’m a weirdo?’
‘No, not at all, we got on well when we spoke on the phone.’
‘Yes, I was pleasantly surprised, that’s why I suggested meeting up.
By ten o'clock the pub was busy; background music was louder and conversation became more difficult.
‘I’m really tired, I've had a long day. Would you mind taking me home, please?’
‘Sure, but it’s still early.’
‘I need to be up early in the morning to ride Candy.’
‘You can see Lucy, my puppy when we get there.’
‘Yes, I’d like that.’
We got back in my car, it was dark. I was in a strange city, so she directed me once again. It was only a couple of miles away. It seemed a large house, had a courtyard at the rear. We went through the back door, into the kitchen.
‘Wait here, I’ll get Lucy.’
The kitchen was cold and quiet, there didn't seem to be anyone else in.
A playful Alsatian puppy came bounding up to me, brown and tan with massive fluffy paws. Fussing and sniffing, Lucy wanted to be my friend.
‘How about meeting up again?’ I asked.
‘I’ll give you a ring next week, I’ve got a few things on.’
Next week, she didn’t ring. So I phoned her, we chatted. It had been a nice evening, we had got on well, all friendly stuff. Couldn’t arrange another date.
I never saw Tracy again.