A THOUSAND ROSES: The Most Wonderful Man – Pagosa Daily Post

For Stella, the hardest part of waiting in La Belle Vie is putting up with waiters. They gave her the creeps.
She hated the way they watched her, eyes alert. The way they approached in mincing half-steps. The false smile as they offered you a menu. Then the oily, backward retreat, nodding and bowing, almost genuflecting. It was all too much.
Ah, she thought. The burdens of the rich.
She pushed her menu aside and peered up through tall windows at Chicago’s glass and brick skyline, then down onto teeming Michigan Avenue.
So many people, so many problems.
Good for business, Dads would say. He would also have liked her clothes, a simple navy Donna Karan blazer over a white silk shirt, one button open, and pressed khaki slacks. She wore small diamond earrings, no necklace, no rings but on her left wrist the heavy links of a substantial gold bracelet, which she would adroitly push beneath a sleeve when meeting with patients.
Clever, Dads might say. But Stella McGinnis didn’t dress for him. She dressed for her clients, or possibly her sister… she suddenly realized, a sister who was irritatingly, typically late.
She caught the swarthy eye of of some kitchen hand peering from a swinging door, open a slender inch. The door quickly closed.
Finally Catherine entered.
She strode through the dining room with her typical aplomb, staff and even waiting diners parting as Moses parted the Red Sea. “Hello, Sis,” she said, dropping her Fendi Selleria purse onto a chair. She had bought the thing in Milan last year for ten thousand dollars.
“Not scared to carry that, huh?” said  Stella.
“Me? No.” Unlike Stella, her sister was tall with a long, long neck. Both were blonde, but Stella’s modest bob was a peculiar mousey color, which she refused to correct.
“If you’ve got it, flaunt it,” said Catherine.
“Until someone takes it away.”
Catherine’s laugh was short and efficient. “I’d like to meet the man who tries.”
They each had the beet salad. A dangerous choice, Stella thought, for her sister, in her cream suit and pale, very pale lavender blouse. Catherine dug in fearlessly. “So out with it,” she demanded.
“Out with what?”
“You’ve got something to tell me.”
“How do you know?”
“You haven’t said three words. You’re the shrink, Stel. You know what that means.”
Damn her. Why was she always right?
But it made no difference. Stella was bursting, and welcomed the opening. She’d met the most wonderful man. Her age (or about, mid-twenties), tall, reserved, intelligent, a good family, Catholic, athletic (sailing, soccer), fair of hair. short of beard, wonderful teeth, Downer’s Grove High…
“Good looking?”
Stella leaned forward, sleeve dangerously close to a gleaming purple beet. “Handsome doesn’t do him justice. Think Ryan Gosling… no, his eyes are too close. Think Bradley Cooper.”
“Money?”
Stella fought the frown. “No.” She brightened immediately. “But wait ’til you see him! He’s working at the club, just for the summer.”
“Oh, Stella. A laborer?”
“He’s not!  He’s working a summer job, an outdoor job for the tan I think, and he’s graduating soon, and he’s smart, and handsome, and he loves me, and…”
Oh, why was it always like this? Why must her beautiful sister always have the men, the job, the friends? Why did Dads approve of everything Catherine did, and nothing she did? She would show them. She would…
But then she must have raised her voice. A spoon clinked, an elderly woman coughed. A black eye peered from the kitchen door. When both sisters looked up, the door closed.
Richard Donnelly lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Classic flyover land. Which makes us feel just a little… superior. Mr. Donnelly’s first book is ‘The Melancholy MBA.’ published by Brick Road Poetry Press.
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