Page 22 from the series Before the Pirates Came*
She was still in college when she met Brian Parker Hall. He was in town at a professional conference and stopped for dinner at Oliver’s on the River, the restaurant where Miranda was a hostess part-time. Miranda considered this the perfect job because the food was delicious (and free if you worked there), the clientele was upscale, and the hostesses wore off-the-shoulder dresses that were really pretty.
On the night of her 18th birthday, Brian Parker Hall approached the waitress stand and said, “Party of four.” He was in town with a group of pediatricians who were attending a conference at the university. Miranda was hard at work. It was Friday night and the restaurant was slammed… a 40 minute wait with people sitting on benches outside the leaded glass doors.
She didn’t give him a second thought until one of the waitresses took her aside and said the man-in-the-party-of four wanted her to stop by his table. He was thirty-something, built like an athlete, with warm brown eyes and a nice voice. He introduced himself and asked her if she would join him for a drink when she got off work. Miranda said she had plans with her boyfriend (which she did), but told him she was very flattered.
A month later there was a continuing education seminar at the university and Brian-party-of-four was back at Oliver’s with the same colleagues. It was on that night, after Miranda was summoned to his table and politely declined again, that he told his friends he was going to marry the hostess whose name he didn’t know. On the way out the door he asked for her phone number. She smiled and reminded him that she had a boyfriend. He smiled and said he understood.
Two weeks later he was back. He was alone this time and called the restaurant in advance to make sure Miranda was working. He drove into town for dinner and to ask Miranda out on a date one last time. Brian Parker Hall sat at the bar and asked her to have a drink with him when she was done working. He was in luck because Miranda’s boyfriend cancelled their plans so he could get drunk with his college buddies. She was fuming and decided to accept.
He was drinking scotch so she ordered one, too. It was the night her drinking career turned a new corner, and not in a good way. But because Brian Parker Hall was a classy, successful physician, she wanted to make the right impression. It tasted like transmission fluid, or at least as she imagined it to be. Dr. Hall explained that as long as you drink top shelf liquor, you won’t get a hangover and you wouldn’t become an alcoholic. Miranda was relieved to hear that and ordered another.
They left Oliver’s on the River and went to a club where a popular blues band was playing that night. The music was smooth, and by now, so was the scotch. Miranda liked talking to Brian. He was a pleasant change from her frat house boyfriend. When he dropped her off at the restaurant to pick up her car, it started to rain. Brian Parker Hall walked her to her car, they both got wet, and instead of grabbing her and kissing her, he hugged her goodnight. She thought she might like to see him again and gave him her number.
*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2011, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.