MR. OPPORTUNITY Most of us have an opportunity story. Some folks get lucky, others just look on as their chance passes them by. This lady I know, I won't say her name, once pulled me aside and told me this story while we waited for her husband. "I was in good shape back then," she said. "That's not to be boastful, well, not entirely, but it's sort of important to the story. Anyway, years ago, trust me I won't say how many, I worked out most days in the gym at the local health club." I was inclined to believe her. Even now it would be easy to imagine that she might once have been a real good-looker. Then she got into the story proper. "One day in the fall, this new member turned up. He created a good bit of interest for this was a small town club where we girls outnumbered the boys. I often saw him working out in the gym and we became quite friendly. He even asked me out a couple of times but I said no." "OK he had a great sense of humor and we got on really well but I had my reputation to think of. Funny how small things can seem important. He was just about the same height as me but perhaps a little less if I was in high heels. He was a few pounds overweight and wore thick spectacles. What's more if you looked closely, you could see he had some sort of skin problem on his face and neck. This was a small town and I really had to be careful about whom I could be seen with. I was just not prepared to compromise. By the end of that year he had dropped out of the scene. Strange thing is, I never asked his name and he never volunteered it." "It wasn't long after that that I met my husband. He was an altogether more acceptable partner and we were married within a couple of months. Not only did he have the good looks but he had some money besides. We could manage a good night out most weeks and even a grand occasion from time to time." "It was a year or so later on one of these special outings that I saw my old friend from the health club. It had been pretentiously styled as a black tie gala charity dinner. There was to be entertainment and a few celebrities no doubt keen for a bit of publicity. Tickets were hard to get but we got lucky for we knew someone who worked with the caterers." "I didn't recognize him at first. The realization came gradually with the answers to some of the questions from the pushy lady with the microphone. No, he had stopped wearing the fake glasses as he was getting recognized now whether he wore them or not. Yes, the director had asked him to gain weight for his last film role, but he had worked it off in the gym. Yes, he had been troubled with an allergy but now he knew what to avoid. And yes, of course it was all right to ask if he was romantically linked with his current co-star, but of course he wouldn't answer." "I wanted to go over to say hello but I got pushed out of the way by a crowd of otherwise respectable society girls. They were supposed to be clamoring for his autograph but I saw them trying to pass him telephone numbers on slips of paper. He didn't see me in the crowd and I never saw him again except on television." I pressed her for his name and was real impressed when she told me but she made me promise not to tell. Her husband arrived as she got to the end of her story. He was neatly dressed, a little overweight, with thick spectacles and a poor complexion. I know they're happy enough together but there was something in her eyes that time when we were waiting and she was telling me her story. end Mr Opportunity was published in 6 Tales Magazine, May 2011. First appeared as Runner-up in Adult Creative Writing Club, Competition No. 84, Aug 2008.
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Copyright  Colin W Campbell A Sarawak based writer.
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