Monday, January 18, 2016


Was this handsome man flirting with me in the YMCA cardio room?
While five or six other people walked or ran on treadmills, I lumbered along at five miles and hour on a treadmill. Eyes straight ahead, I was listening to music on my iPod and getting ready to shut the machine down when I sensed someone at my side. I turned my head and gazed into the blue eyes of a perfectly well built, silver-haired man about my age—fifty.
"Is there a problem?" I asked, pulling off my earbuds.
"No problem," he said with a wonderful smile.
Then I glanced at my wristwatch and realized I was five minutes over my half-hour time limit. "I'm so sorry," I said, embarrassed, feeling my face go red. "I got totally lost in the music...and my thoughts. I didn't hear the machine beep that my time was up."
"Happens all the time," he said, smiling a smile that this time made my heart jump. "They should program these machines to stop after a half hour." Then he said, "You were going at quite a pace—lookin' good. Very good." He nodded approvingly.
He is flirting with me!
For some stupid reason shyness gripped me, and my eyes lowered. Why would he be flirting with me? I was all sweaty, wore no makeup, and had pulled my hair back in a long ponytail.
Though I didn't look forward to working out three nights a week for the last year, I enjoyed the results and did think I was looking pretty good. Maybe he was flirting. But I had not idea how to flirt back. Too many years had passed since I was young.
"Name's Phil Parker," he said, extending his hand. "New in town two months ago. City building inspector. Been thinking I need to get back in shape."
"Amber McGee," I said, shaking his warm, dry hand with my sweaty one. "Head city librarian. Working out is much better than sitting around every evening watching TV sitcoms and cop dramas, snacking."
"With that I agree," he said, unleashing an even bigger smile.
Then I said something I might have said as a teen but never as a widowed adult until just this moment: "You're looking good yourself."
My breath caught, and I felt my face turning red again.
"Thanks," he said. "Would—"
"You better get started on your workout," I said, offering my own smile.
"Look, Amber—I was wondering if—"
But I didn't give him a chance to finish. I turned, headed for the showers so I could cool off, and I managed to leave the Y without seeing him again. This sudden encounter with Phil had unnerved me a bit. I wasn't used to speaking to strange men—let alone flirting.
On the drive home, I thought about Phil. He must be single, or he wouldn't have flirted with me like that, would he? I'd been alone for ten years. My husband died after a long battle with cancer, and though I loved him dearly, I suddenly wondered if, after all this time, I was ready to start over.
I also wondered if Phil would call. He knew my name. I was the only Amber McGee in this small town's telephone book. But neither one of us had established that we were single and available. I worked out three nights a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This was Wednesday. I'd have to wait a day for a chance to maybe see Phil again.
Friday evening at the Y, I nearly fell over when I found him waiting for me.
"Shall we?" he asked, pointing at the treadmills.
"Why not?" I said, smiling.
We walked slowly on side-by-side machines. I told him about my marriage and its sad ending. He told me his ex-wife had run off with one of her co-workers six years ago, another sad ending. We worked out on the weight machines for a half hour, chattering between sets. I couldn't remember being so at ease and comfortable with a man I'd just met.
Finished, we headed for our respective shower rooms. I was positive I felt his gaze on me as I walked away—was I strutting a tiny bit, being just a little flirty? Perhaps.
We met in the Y lobby, our gym bags in hand.
Phil's gaze catching mine, he smiled that awesome smile and asked, "Amber McGee, would you like to do something with the rest of the evening?"
I felt warm all over.
"Do something? Why, Phil Parker, are you flirting with me again?"
"That I am, Ms. McGee."
We left the Y and strolled down the street to a little nearby coffee shop where we ordered large cappuccinos and flirted some more. Six weeks later we were engaged and tomorrow is our wedding. Seems flirting is like riding a bike: A girl never forgets how.

The End

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