The Moulin Rouge

I’ve been trying my hand at fiction! Let me know if you need more of this story. Thanks for listening…


“He’s five minutes late, it’s a sign.”

Sheila’s  fingers instinctively started tapping her thigh. To think she actually hyped herself up to get excited about the possibility of their relationship. In her head, they already had a standing date every Friday to go eat at a different restaurant, fancy or hole in the wall. They would have deep conversations over picnic lunches.

No. They wouldn’t because he wasn’t coming. Actually, she was almost relieved. First dates, even with friends are nerve wrecking enough.

Finally, she saw him doing a slow jog up the stairs of the subway; his flip flops making their distinct slapping noise as he got closer.

“Hey I’m so sorry I’m late! You know how the trains are, what the heck is train traffic anyway?”

“Right?! How can trains have a traffic jam? My dad works for them and I still have no idea.”

Hans covered his mouth. “Let me stop talking trash. I don’t want him to come after me if I ever meet him.”

At this she smiled. He was thinking about the future. Do good signs cancel out the bad ones?

They walked in a pace that didn’t rush. He told her jokes the entire way. She genuinely laughed. She even considered inviting him to dinner after the movie.

This could work. This is going to be easy. I’m over it. I can get through the movie.

Once they get to the outdoor area, Sheila forgot her nerves completely. She set up the blanket while Hans got the snacks. He asked her what her favorite candy was, she told him they were white chocolate kit kats. He got two of those plus two sodas and nachos. He paid for all the snacks and didn’t complain or ask her for the money back.

What he did do was ask her was about her family life. She told them who they were and what they did. It wasn’t his business that they got into detrimental hurtful fights. She didn’t tell him that she and her mother didn’t get along and were always butting heads. She didn’t mention that she hadn’t told her mom that she was on a date but would like her to know that a boy…no a man, asked her out on a date. Instead, she thought about how she would have rathered that he would have noticed what her favorite candy was.

They finally settled down into their picnic and their snacks. She decided that he would be The One. He could work. They could work. Everything would be fine.

Sunset reached the park with almost perfect timing. New York city sunsets were always perfect for romance. The orange and pink backdrop reminded her of grapefruits in the morning. They slipped off their shoes and spread their feet across the blanket. As the opening credits to The Moulin Rouge came on screen, her heart started beating to the up tempo of the music.

It’s just a movie. If you can make it through the movie, you’ll be ok.

And she almost made it. It wasn’t until Christine and Satine were singing in the ruby elephant that she felt the unmistakable heave in her chest. Silently, she got up and ran across the park and into the bar across the street. She could hear Hans calling out after her but she didn’t stop; she didn’t answer. She didn’t stop until she reached the cramped bathroom and locked the door. That’s when she crumbled. The lump in her throat grew and the tears she had to hold in for months fell forth on the cold cracked linoleum. All this time she had asked God to send her love so she could forget. But in this very moment, she realized she wasn’t ready for the love she asked for. What good could she be to love if she was on the floor in a grimy bathroom?


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