Darlene Foster's Blog

The Special Date

Posted on: November 9, 2018

This is my entry in Stevie Turner’s November short-story competition. Let me know what you think. Why not send in one of your own.



The Special Date

Decision made, she laid out her clothes and applied two coats of a subtle shade of melon nail polish to each fingernail and toenail with meticulous detail. Retiring early, the mirror reflected a well-rested woman the following morning. This pleased her. It was important that she look her best for this date.

A girl needs to get her beauty sleep you know, she could hear her mother say.

What would Mother think about this date? Did it matter? Mother passed away many years ago. Why did she still feel the need for her mother’s approval? Was it because she didn’t get it as a young girl, trying so hard to please?

She returned to the mirror and stopped thinking about such things while she dabbed ivory concealer under her eyes and on various spots on her face.

Get rid of those dark circles and spider veins, and ten years will be erased, she assured herself. Like an artist putting the finishing touches to a masterpiece, she applied the rest of her makeup. She needed to look perfect.

Would he appreciate the effort? she wondered while slipping on her new black underwear; bikini panties and a lace push up bra. She glanced at the full-length mirror. Not many women her age could wear this stuff and look good. She kept her body toned by working out regularly and she watched her diet for the most part. She looked closer, noticed a few bulges here and there, and planned to forgo dessert in the future. Although, she was sure he wouldn’t mind.

She stepped into the slinky little black dress with ease, pulled up the zipper in the back and took another look in the mirror. The cleavage looked inviting. Perhaps it was a bit much though. She didn’t want to send out the wrong message. She reached for her favourite silk scarf and tied it loosely around her neck. The black, grey and melon swirls complemented her nail polish. Pleased with the result, she smiled at the reflection in the mirror.

A giddy feeling came over her, making her feel like a school girl. Perhaps she should have a drink, or better still, something light to eat. There was no point being nervous. It will be all right, she reassured herself. She nibbled on a piece of Brie on a slice of a baguette topped with a chunk of cantaloupe while sipping a small glass of chardonnay.

“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou,” she murmured to herself.

She looked in the mirror once more to fix her hair and felt a burning sensation in her chest. Her breath started to come in short gasps. The recognizable signs of panic began to take over.

I can’t go through with this. What will people think, what will they say?

She wanted to stay home, go back to bed and forget everything. Those old enemies, tears, were about to revisit her.

“Stop it!” she shouted out loud at the confused image in the mirror.

When are you going to stop worrying about what other people think, you stupid woman? 

She managed to pull herself together in time to save her makeup from running. What was she thinking? She certainly didn’t have time to redo it. All she had to do was look lovely, say the right things and keep cool for a couple of hours, and it would soon be over. She reminded herself that she was doing this for him and he was special.

After running a brush through her nutmeg coloured hair, she applied a light coat of hairspray to the bob. She liked the colour of her hair and refreshed the roots every four weeks. She could not understand women who let their hair go grey and grinned when she thought of women not much older than herself with shades of pink and blue-grey hair. They would bury her with nutmeg coloured hair.

She lined her lips with a pencil to make them look fuller and filled them in with lipstick, a melon shade to match the nail polish and scarf. Taking the new, long black jacket off the hanger, she slipped it on over her short dress. It was well tailored and fit her toned body perfectly. He was sure to be impressed.

Something simple but elegant would be the best choice for jewellery. She rummaged through her jewellery box and found a small pair of black pearl earrings that would do the trick. She tried a couple of pins on the lapel of the jacket but nothing looked right, not the butterfly or the cat or the rose. Time was running out. She slammed the lid of the jewellery box as she decided not to wear a pin.

The limousine arrived to pick her up. A quick spray of her favourite perfume before she slipped on her black patent pumps and she was ready. Making her way downstairs, she felt faint and grasped the railing for support. Would she be able to do this? She had never done anything like this before. She took one last look in the hallway mirror, smiled faintly and took a deep breath. She could do this. He was worth it.

Heads turned as an attractive woman walked into the funeral service to say goodbye to the only man she had ever loved; her husband of the past forty years.




52 Responses to "The Special Date"

Thanks Darlene for submitting your story to my contest.

Wow! This is terrific, Darlene … superb piece of interior monologue in the third person and you have us right there, next to the woman as she prepares for her ‘date’. The twist is brilliant and a total surprise. Good luck with the competition.

Thanks, Annika. I appreciate your feedback.

I didn’t see that coming! Great story!

Lovely story, Darlene. I knew there must be a twist but I had no idea what it would be until right at the end.

So pleased you liked it, Mary.

Oh what a surprise. Now I understand all of her care and attention. I’m pretty minimalist but that event, I’d dress carefully too.

How sad.

I imagined that to keep her mind off the actual event, she would need to focus on her appearance. Thanks for your comment!

Wow, Darlene. Great story – didn’t anticipate the ending.

Glad you liked it, Anne.

Not what I was expecting, but oh, so special. This brought tears to my eyes, Darlene, well done!

If as a writer, I can evoke emotion, my job is done. Thanks for the generous compliment.

Oh, Darlene. That was lovely and took me back twenty years to such an event. I had my family supporting and helping me; she obviously is alone.
Well done and I hope you win the contest. You certainly deserve to win.

Thanks, Judith. I can only imagine, which I did. I appreciate your vote of confidence.

Great ending. I was thinking all the way through perhaps she was getting ready to meet her real father for the first time. You got me there! 👍

It could have gone a number of different ways.Glad you liked it.

Wow how powerful a really good write. Darlene, nicely done.

Beautifully written, Darlene. Congrats! I didn’t know what the twist would be, but you set it up perfectly. I should have figured it out 🙂

Thanks, Debra. I appreciate this coming from you.

Great description and story to an unexpected ending! 🙂

Thanks, Debby. I like to surprise my readers sometimes!

I love it, Darlene very cleverly written with an unexpected twist 🙂 Good Luck 🙂

Thanks a lot, Carol. xo

I agree with your commenters, a careful built-up to the powerful ending that surprised me too. I wonder what symbolism lies in the choice of the melon color.

Pleased to hear that the story worked. Not sure about the melon colour, it just popped up.

Beutiful writing with an unexpected ending…I was expecting a happier occasion. But that is the beauty of reading something that can totally surprise you. I will keep my fingers crossed for you Darlene 😄

Thanks, Gilda. I appreciate it.

A very well constructed story with a brilliant ending, I was completely surprised. Best of luck in the competition.

Thanks, Lorna. Pleased you were surprised.

Beautifully written Darlene. Best wishes for the competition.

Thank you for the good wishes.

Oh my! This was a powerful story, Darlene. I never saw the ending coming. I especially liked how you wove quotes and sayings into the story. Excellent!

This pleases me to no end that you liked this story, Jennie.

I’m so glad, Darlene.

This one took me by surprise. A dear friend lost her husband suddenly a couple of weeks ago and, like this character, her strength amazes me. Well done, Darlene!

I think we can be strong on the outside while falling apart on the inside. Thanks. I’m pleased you liked it.

Wow Darlene…..I mean “Wow”….incredible…well done!!

Glad I got the “Wow” factor in. Thanks for your comment!!

Well done, Darlene! Good use of prose and unique handling of a testing situation. x

Thanks so much, Joy. It means a lot that you liked it. xo

That’s brilliant. And a really lovely story. Great message!Not the ending I expected. Enjoyable read; good luck.

Thanks so much, Gloria!!

I was getting as nervous as she was, but I did not know what to expect…

Thanks! I’m glad that feeling came through.

“When are you going to stop worrying about what other people think, you stupid woman?”

In my unending research to write better female characters I recently spoke to a woman who told me a long story of private schools and empty refrigerators and her trouble with men and her mother and I said I know every woman is 6 or 7 women or more and she said, yes, that’s true, but there are really only two kinds of women. Ones who are awake, and ones who aren’t. Awake? Yes, to the fact that worrying about what anyone else thinks of you is the biggest waste of time in your life. Because no one lives it but us and…well it got a little profane after that, but no bones about it. Awake or Asleep. Two sides of the woman coin.

It’s a terrible human condition affecting both genders and I agree it is a huge waste of time. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

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