Lost Chance

by Pam Hawley McInnis

Usually, late-night bitchfests with Kathy in the 24-hour diner, where she could punctuate each lament with a sip of lukewarm coffee or a drag on her cigarette, made Gina feel better about being 36 years old, overweight, overworked, living alone with her cat and losing her battle against crow’s feet. A bit rough around the edges herself, Kathy could understand Gina’s frustrations with men who passed her up without a second glance because someone younger, firmer, fuller-lipped and smaller-waisted was almost always in the room. But tonight, the blue-eyed blonde-haired waitress whose cleavage threatened to spill over into Gina’s coffee with each refill just reminded her that she was losing ground against the competition with each passing year. As Gina sighed and used Kathy’s lighter to stoke up an other cigarette, a slight man with thinning hair and glasses walked by and caught her gaze, his hopeful half-smile fading as she quickly averted her eyes and focused on her coffee cup. He left the diner as Kathy erupted into girlish laughter and rambled on about the nerve such a scrawny, balding specimen must have to think he even stood a chance with the likes of Gina. They finished their coffee, stubbed out their half-smoked cigarettes, and headed into the darkness, each driving home with her radio blaring and cursing the fact that she’d be sleeping alone again.

6S

Pam Hawley McInnis lives, works, and writes in Baltimore. Some of her additional work can be found here.