“Here, let me bring those bags in for you.”
She had seen him around the neighborhood a few times, talking to some of the other people, but had never really taken a close look, or even noticed where he lived. His boyish bronzed face boasted of keen grey eyes, pouty lips over perfect white teeth and a charming smile. Her daughter would have described him as ‘a dish’. Such a gentleman too, she thought. Not only did he hold the door open for her but he helped put everything away. When she offered him a drink, he accepted most graciously, glad for the opportunity to get to know a beautiful lady such as herself. Not many young men would take time out to chitchat with an old lady. “Old? Nonsense! You’re at your prime,” he kidded her. He swore that she baked the best cookies in the state. He even noticed that she had monogrammed all her napkins. She bathed in his attention and flattery. Soon she was telling him all about the grandchildren, showing him pictures and inviting him to share thanksgiving with them. The dear boy had been travelling and had not been home in so long; much like her own son, always busy, always on the move. They barely realised how much time had passed as he shared stories about the non-profit organization that he worked for, the wonderful work that they did to help poor impoverished children in third-world countries, and the deep satisfaction he felt when he could arrange sponsors for them. When she offered to adopt a child, he almost had tears in his eyes. He called in her credit card number, all the while squeezing her hand tightly in gratitude. Once the transaction cleared he dropped her hand and rubbed his own together in glee. Suddenly his smile vanished like a thief melting into the night. Tapping his watch he recalled a forgotten appointment. Declining her offer to stay for supper, he hastily swept out of the front door, without a backward look or even a goodbye. It was as if she had altogether ceased to exist.