Anna sat at a table in the bakery waiting for Fred to arrive. From her seat, she could easily see both doorways so there was no way she would miss his arrival. She ran her fingers over her carefully styled hair as she caught a glimpse of herself in the window. Anna’s full breasts looked amazing under the new sweater that modestly hinted at the ample bounty below and her pants cleverly made her large stomach not look so big. She looked good and couldn't wait for Fred to see her.
Her thoughts wandered and Anna smiled as she pictured Fred's long black hair pulled back into a ponytail, his scruffy beard, slim body and dark eyes behind thin-rimmed glasses. She was sure they had connected during the writing workshops he'd led six months ago. Fred had even piqued her interest in reading again. It wasn't much of a surprise when Anna realized she was completely smitten with the much younger man.
She didn’t think she’d ever hear from him again but then she’d gotten an e-mail from him about six weeks ago. They’d e-mailed back and forth a few times then he’d asked if she would like to meet him for tea or coffee. Anna eagerly replied, saying she’d love that. She couldn’t believe she was going to be seeing him again and felt as giddy as a school girl.
Anna glanced at the clock; Fred was fifteen minutes late. She decided to give him a chance and wait a bit longer. Her heart jumped when her phone beeped announcing she had a message then sank again as she checked it—the message was from her daughter telling her she was home from school. Anna replied then read the menu boards behind the cash register to keep from thinking about Fred not being there yet.
Fifteen more minutes passed and still no Fred. He had stood her up and hadn’t even had the decency to at least text her saying he wouldn’t be there. Anna picked up her purse then walked out and got in her car. She rested her forehead against the steering wheel as the tears started to fall.
"You're such a foolish old lady," Anna said aloud. She grabbed some napkins then blew her nose and wiped away the tears. “You should have known better.”
Anna couldn’t face heading home yet. She started the car and drove to a nearby park, parking next to the pond. It was still covered with ice with several signs around the shore warning about thin ice.
A hole in the middle of the pond caught her attention and she was reminded of a commercial she'd seen the night before. The character was now an angel after having fallen through the ice on his snowmobile and he was warning others not to make the mistake he had.
She stared at the hole and wondered if she could make it to it without breaking more ice. If she could, maybe the frigid water could numb the pain Anna felt. Fred standing her up was the last straw. She was tired of playing the fool and always feeling so alone.
Anna pulled out her cell phone and texted her daughter. "He didn't show. I'm going to be at the pond for a bit. I love you and I'm sorry."
She turned the phone off before she got a reply then got out of the car, leaving the keys in the ignition. Anna walked to the shore and carefully stepped onto the ice. It crackled and creaked under her weight but was thick enough to hold her. She slowly slid across the ice towards the hole.
"Hey! Can't you read? The ice isn't safe," a man called out from the shore. Anna ignored him and continued towards the hole.
A loud crack echoed around the pond and the ice split under her. Anna cried out as she lost her balance and fell into the cold water. Her body temperature rapidly dropped and she was unable to climb out of the hole. As she started to lose consciousness, she thought, “I’m free.”
Darkness enveloped Anna as she passed from the living to the dead. Her soul was salvaged by the Grim Reaper as she floated lifelessly in the water. When he got back to his office he examined Anna's 426-year-old soul.
"True enlightenment has not been reached," he declared then placed her soul in the reincarnation pile with the rest of the souls still needing to figure it out.
© March 31, 2011