Outside a corner bar in a small western town, a man is standing on the stoop, leaning against the wall; a nearly empty bottle of beer held loosely in his hand. It is just after sunset, the glow of the sun can still be seen over the rooftops. The bar’s neon sign above the stoop clicks on with a buzz.
A woman appears around the corner, climbs the single step up to the stoop and walks towards the bar’s entrance.
‘Hey’, he says. She continues forward, reaching out to push open the door.
‘Hey’, he says again, this time a little louder. He is now facing her from about 6 feet away on the stoop. She stops and looks his way, her hand still on the door.
‘Hey, yourself’, she replies coolly, looking him in the eye.
‘You don’t remember me?’ he asks.
‘Well, I reckon so’.
‘Uh-huh. And why’s that?’ She now removes her hand from the door, turns towards him while crossing her arms and raising her chin; challenging him to come up with a credible answer.
‘Well, you seemed to want to know me this afternoon.’
‘What? What are you talking about? I’ve never seen you before in my life.’
‘Oh, really?’ he declares sarcastically, drawing out the vowels, and takes a step towards her to give her a good look at him face on.
‘Ya, really!’ she replies, imitating his tone.
‘Uh huh. So, you weren’t in Winslow this afternoon? Driving down main street in yer flat-bed Ford?’
‘Well, uh…’ She is suddenly less certain, slightly confused.
‘You didn’t slow down as you got close to the corner? Slow down, to take a nice long look at me? Huh?’ A wide grin now spread across his face, revealing an enticing set of dimples.
A faint pink glow began to percolate her cheeks. She looked down at her feet and tried to collect her thoughts. Sandy thought to herself – it couldn’t be. What are the chances? I was only in Winslow, Arizona 20 minutes, to go to the feedlot. Winslow is 20 miles from here!
Glen was encouraged by the silence. No news is good news. She’s thinking about it, and she isn’t denying it any more, he thought. To be honest, he hadn’t been quite sure it was her. The full light of day was long gone, and long shadows stretched from the porches and tall buildings. The bright sunlight reflected off the Winslow store-fronts behind her, which had created that beautiful golden glow through the strands of her blonde hair as it blew in the breeze from her open truck windows, was only a distant memory. She looked less angelic now. Some lines and creases were evident on her face. Still, there was no denying that she was captivating – to him at least. He hoped that when she did raise her head to look at him again, her expression would once again contain the bright-eyed twinkle of interest he’d seen this afternoon.
Well?’ he said at last. ‘Now you get another chance. That doesn’t happen often in life,’ he said quietly. ‘It’s a sign. Fate must really mean it.’
She began to raise her head slowly to look at him. Glen knew that one look would say it all.
When her face was raised level with him, it was blank and inscrutable. Glen’s heart started to sink.
But slowly the left end of her mouth began to twist upwards, almost imperceptibly. Her cheeks began to rise and it slowly became clear that a smile was permeating her chiseled veneer.
When she opened her mouth, it was only to clear her throat.
Finally, she did speak, but just four small words that would say enough. She said, ‘how about a beer?’
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