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Ask and You Shall Recieve

By Annette Taylor
Published in ART TIMES March 2013

“What’s speed dating?” Mrs. Davenport asked her daughter.

“Like musical chairs with the aim of collecting as many phone numbers as possible, hoping one is Miss or Mr. Right. Or a reasonable facsimile.”

“Let me find someone for you—“

“No, Mom,” Lindsay said.

Mrs. Davenport’s widened eyes gleamed a grandmotherly gleam. Lindsay saw it and reaffirmed her position.”

“No.”

“Well, if speed dating fails and you won’t let me fix you up, try—

“I’ m not petitioning St. Rita, Mom.”

“Rita’s patron saint of desperate causes.”

“I do have a plan. If Plan A fails, there’s Plan B; an online dating service.”

Any luncher at Sukhothai overhearing this conversation would have disbelieved

Lindsay needed help with men. Her intellect was top-notch for men who liked brainy women. That auburn hair, those merry hazel eyes, that petite figure. A definite twenty-first century fox.

Mother and daughter ate lunch alternating Fridays at Sukhothai. They ate steamed fish fillets served with plain rice and fried bean sprouts as a side dish at a carved wooden table. Mama Davenport sipped tea while she eyed her daughter.

“What brought on this quest for Mr. Right? You’ve always said you enjoyed singledom ‘Men are more trouble than they’re worth.’ Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”

“Rena hadn’t made me an aunt before.”

‘Six months ago. There must be more to it.”

Lindsay sighed, fixed her eyes onto those of her older mirror image. “I want someone who shares my interests. Someone right for me and for whom I’m just right.”

“Perfectly understandable, my own. All work and no play makes a person lonely. No one’s life should be all work.”

Doctor Lindsay Davenport and hope entered Mason’s Hall at 8:30 p.m. Speed dating participants separated themselves by gender in the assembly room. Even so, they exchanged shy smiles, bold winks and friendly waves. Every kind of man was there. Tall, short, medium height, slim, athletic, pudgy. Personalities varied as well. Some men seemed nervous, some aggressive. There were a few creepy ones but in general most passed inspection. The genders spoke among themselves. Voices filled the air with restrained excitement. Folding chairs ranged the room in a huge square.

The dating expert stood at the front of the room. She clapped for everyone’s attention.

“Take a seat people.” She wound up a timer, which rang a second later. “Next time you hear that, all men move over one seat to the right. You’ll get two minutes to talk. Begin.” She reset the timer.

“Hi, I’m Bradford.”

“Hello, I’m Wayne.”

“My name’s Oscar.”

“Ladies first.”

“Do you like me?”

Lindsay exited Mason’s Hall two hours later, a satisfied smile on her face, names and phone numbers nestled in her purse. She accomplished this all on her own. No help from mother or St. Rita.

“Well,” Mrs. Davenport said, “how did your weekend go?”

“not good. I’m not giving up though” Lindsay’s position needed clarification otherwise her mother might foist some mother’s son off on her. An accountant or, heaven forefend, a computer geek with bad taste in clothes.

“What happened?”

“Bradford talked about himself nonstop.” She touched pinkie with index finger while recounting her tale of woe. “Wayne behaved like he hadn’t seen a woman in twenty years. Oscar ogled the waiters. Both sexes. Marlowe needed psychiatric help.”

This time they lunched at Turkish Delight. Both women had a serving of plain rice pilaf. Mother ate gardener’s kebab with hers. Daughter ate beef kebab. Both women sipped pomegranate juice.

‘It’s on to Plan B,” Lindsay said.

“Online dating?”

“Yes.”

“if that plan fails, what then?” Her eyes gleamed. Time was nigh.

Lindsay sighed. “I’ll consider letting you set me up on a date.”

Doctor Davenport went on rounds at Bayhealth Medical Center. She realized her love life rested in her mother’s hands. A disturbing thought. She continued onward past the nurses’ station, down nearly empty halls. She concentrated on coming up with a way to avoid her mother’s matchmaking. Plans A and B had failed. She had no third alternative except….

Maybe she should—no! Not that. But if she--. Should she? Yes. Petitioning St. Rita would stave off her mother until she found another plan.

Lindsay entered the third floor elevator, rode it to the fifth where she entered Bayhealth Medical Center’s nondenominational chapel. She sat down. Inhaled deeply, exhaled then hesitated unsure how to begin. So, she kept her petition woman to woman.

“Rita, any hope for Mr. Right has long since died from lack of oxygen. What I’m asking for now is someone who shares my interests: sports, movies, and international dining. A best friend I can cuddle. Please send him soon. Don’t leave my love life in Mom’s hands.”

Beep beep beep. Beep beep beep. Doctor Davenport’s beeper alerted her to an emergency. She hurried back to the third floor. Mrs. Hammersmith was in cardiac arrest….

The doctor’s lounge was Doctor Davenport’s next stop after stabilizing Mrs. Hammersmith. A snack machine stocked with contents not recommended by four out of five doctors stood between two large tinted windows. Lindsay inserted seventy-five cents into the slot. She retrieved a bag of peanuts then headed for the couch. There was a man sitting on it. Their eyes met.

Six feet two inches stood up and moved toward her. He had thick, wavy brown hair, clear brown eyes, and features evocative of ancient Greek busts.

Lindsay’s tongue thickened.

“Hello,” he said, “I’m Doctor Booth Gibson. St Rita sent me.”

Lindsay stumbled walking over to shake this colleague’s hand and dropped her bag of peanuts. He returned them to her with his left hand while she held his right. She resisted an urge to sigh. His hand felt so strong and—

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“Yes… little lightheaded…yes. Did you say St. Rita sent you?”

“I’m here to learn the new procedure for knee-replacement surgery so it can be offered at St. Rita’s Hospital.”

Lindsay felt silly for entertaining the thought her petition had been answered. Now was no time for wondering about possibilities. An available man stood before her. No wedding ring in sight. So, however Booth arrived, heavenly intervention or coincidence, she seized the moment.

“I’m scheduled to observe Doctor Osgood in two hours.”

“Let me keep you company then,” Lindsay said. “Tell me, are you interested in sports, movies, or international dining?”

(Annette Taylor lives in Portsmouth, VA.)