JoAn Martin

Alicia had decided that if she hadn’t started dating by the time she was 16, she was headed for spinsterhood. Her prospects didn’t look good. With parents who insisted she was still a child, how was she going to get any practice in dating?

She had gotten her braces off and hardly ever stumbled over cracks in the sidewalk. She liked school but none of the geeky boys at school interested her. Fortunately she must have been invisible to them.  

She spent her 16th birthday throwing up but it was a stomach virus, not due to the after effects of a wild party. That summer she got a job at a fast food restaurant and was noticed by a co-worker. She answered the phone in her parents’ bedroom. No cordless walk-around phones in the 1980s. Her dad caught her with a photo so they had a picture of the first time a boy asked her out on a date.

All she remembered about the date was the struggle to make small talk. On their second date he insisted on buying her a phone for her room. Her interest in him was already fizzling so she should have refused it.

She felt guilty when she didn’t date him again but used the phone sitting on her nightstand to talk to other boys. 

Everybody knows blind dates are disasters. Fast forward to Alicia, single again with two little daughters.  Life was not easy. The ceiling was leaking, work deadlines were piling up and her two girls shrieked and called their father after seeing a mouse. Suddenly alone, she felt like a total failure.

“I’ve found a man for you,” her friend called and insisted she go out with him. Alicia groaned but felt so downhearted, she agreed. Ron was great. They had dinner and spent the evening non-stop talking and laughing. They liked the same books, movies, had interests in art, antiques, and travel. He never called again. 

A year later they ran into each other. Ron apologized profusely and asked for another chance. He was an ideal date. How could she resist?

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Alicia warned. 

This time it worked. Alicia and Ron are still dating two years later and planning their wedding.

JoAn Martin is a retired teacher with five published novels. Reach her at or at

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