He was there hours earlier than the time they had set for their meeting. One thing Stuart didn’t want to risk was her getting off the train, seeing him arrive and then deciding not to meet at all. That had happened the previous two times, and he has learned his lessons then. Not only had they left him standing high and dry at the meeting point, but their profiles were nowhere to be found when he returned home, disappointed.
Was it really that difficult to find someone reliable and trustworthy?
Yes, Stuart answered his own question; it was.
He watched as the first city train rolled into the suburban station. Several people got off the train, but she wasn’t among them. Two yellow shirts caught his attention, but they both hugged the shoulders of men.
What’s more… she had said ‘yellow blouse’, not ‘yellow shirt’.
People left the station, and the platform was empty once again.
He sipped from his paper cup — everything was take-away here — savoring the taste of coffee on his tongue, his mind wandering across to his online profile on the sugar-daddy website. Before that, he had tried a site for people of his own age, but the women on there were boring, all wanting to have tea parties and go on world cruises.
Stuart wanted fun! Wanted to live! To be with someone who matched his own zest for life.
He had created a profile a year ago, during the third lockdown. Stuart was careful. He had heard about catfishing — he still thought this was a strange term — and it took him months to take the step to meet in person. When he was stood up a second time, he thought he might have been too careful, which is why he had agreed to meet this woman only three weeks after he had talked to her the first time.
The next train arrived, but she wasn’t on it either. While watching everyone getting off the train, Stuart vaguely registered the door to the tiny kiosk opening, but it was only when everything quieted down outside that he looked around him. A man with a yellow shirt sat at against the back wall of the kiosk, staring out the window and paying no attention to anyone else. Stuart shrugged and returned his attention outside.
Three more trains arrived, and twice more Stuart got up to buy another paper-cupped coffee from the uninterested woman in the glass cabin. With the second cup — technically his fifth coffee — he also purchased an apple cake packed in crispy, see-through cellophane paper. It was dry and only remotely tasted like apple, but he ate all of it.
His nerves were on edge. The agreed time to meet drew closer, and she should be on one of the next two trains.
The next arrived, but she wasn’t on it.
And so did the next.
Disappointment rushed through him, but Stuart decided to wait for one more train. If she wasn’t on it, he would leave.
Just as the train rolled in, someone spoke behind him: “Are you waiting for ‘coffee2go’?”
Momentarily, Stuart was confused. His mind couldn’t translate and marry the ‘coffee to go’, the yellow shirt, and the man wearing it. He just stared at the man, and his slow nod betrayed his age.
It was only with the younger man’s next words, accompanied by a mean cackle, that the penny dropped.
“Have you checked today’s date, Sugardaddy?”
© Rebel’s Notes