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Starting Over
Chapter 2
A serving of hockey to go

by Eleanor Tylbor

Lately, she had found herself thinking about this very subject, especially after encountering someone special from her past.

"Remember Mike Pickering from our senior year? Almost walked right by him yesterday. He's lost most of his hair but it's those piercing blue eyes of his that made me recognize him."

"Didn't you have the hots for him?" Estelle asked, studying the waiter as he bent over while emptying the plates in the trash can. "Hmmm...nice... I mean, Mike was very nice as I recall."

"Me and a hundred other girls had the hots for him," Sheila answered, suddenly feeling nostalgic for her youthful past. "He's a big shot lawyer now with a firm here in town. Even gave me his business card."

"So you talked to him, too. Well that's a good start! Now if you'd only leave that jerk of a husband of yours…"

"Far be it for me to interrupt another of your tirades but I better go check out that gourmet shop you recommended before it closes. Call you later."

It took more than a half-hour to get served at Estelle's favorite upscale delicatessen and the prices they charged would put her budget out of whack for a couple months, but it would be worth it if it would entice her husband away from TV. The clerk suggested escargots and smoked eel but knowing Hal's very basic tastes, she opted to play it safe with a beef consommé, and steak tartar for the main course. A decadently rich, chocolate mousse birthday cake for dessert completed the order. The food was expensive but it was a small price to pay if their relationship could be salvaged.

Their dining room table was set with their best dinnerware, along with two new crystal wineglasses she had bought for the occasion. Dimming the lights she lit perfumed votive candles to lend a romantic air to their dining. A few stirs to the bisque and it was time, as they said in hockey talk, to drop the puck.

"Dinner ready yet?" Hal bellowed from another room. "It's between periods so we better eat now."

"Almost," she yelled back. "You can come in now."

"We celebrating a special occasion?" Hal asked, scanning the beautifully set table before settling in his chair"

Your fortieth year on this earth is special, so I went all out and chose a gourmet menu for us."

"Dark in here," he commented, looking around and staring into his soup bowl. "Can't see what I'm eating. Hey – maybe that's a good thing! "

Only Hal laughed."What's this stuff?" he asked, sniffing the air like a dog and moving his spoon through the liquid.

"It's…lobster bisque…very light…" she stammered. "Try it!"

He pushed the bowl away spilling some of the liquid out of the bowl, grabbed a slice of French bread from the basket, and tore into the crust.

"Can't eat this soup!" he spluttered between bites. "You know I can't stand fish! What in hell made you think I would eat this crap?"

There was no use trying to reason with him when he made up his mind about something and didn't bother trying. Instead, she removed the bowl and emptied the contents into the sink. If Hal knew how much money she had poured down the drain he would have a stroke, which would suit her just fine at that moment.

Next was the steak tartar and she gritted her teeth anticipating his reaction.

"Raw hamburger!" he barked at her, moving the meat around the plate with his fork. 'Ya wanna gimme food poisoning?"

"Not hamburger. It's steak tartar," she answered matter-of-factly, "and one eats it rare."

"Well this...one likes his well done! Take this…tartar crap and fry it up like it was meant to be cooked and add a side dish of fries. Don't forget the ketchup. Bring it in to me when it's ready," he told her, walking out of the dining room. "The game is starting again."

Her body shook with frustration and anger and her eyes filled with tears. Why had she bothered trying to please him when she knew in her heart that this would be the end result?

Only dessert remained to be served, but she held on to the ever dimming hope that maybe they could still re-ignite the passion they once had shared. She had nothing to lose at this point. This was her last shot. 

To be continued.
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Miss Chapter 1? Go to Chapter 3.
Drop by "Starting Over" - a continuing chapter-fiction story focusing on the trials and tribulations of Sheila, once married to a loser, who attempts to re-start her life.

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