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 her story while we
waited for her husband.
She started by saying she had been a good looker in
her younger days and that she was mentioning this
not to be boastful but because it had a bearing on her
story. I was inclined to believe her for it was easy to
imagine what she might once have been. Anyway,
years before she didn't say how many, she had
worked out regularly in the gym at her local health
One day in the fall a new member turned up at her
health club. He created a good bit of interest for this
was a small town club where the girls outnumbered
the boys. She often saw him working out in the gym
and they soon became quite friendly. He even asked
her out a couple of times but she said no.
She really liked him for his warmth and sense of
humor but she had her reputation to think of. He was
just about the same height as herself perhaps less
with her high heels. He was a little 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. In this small town she
had to be careful about who she would be seen with
and she was just not prepared to compromise. By the
end of the year he had dropped out of the scene.
Strange thing is, she said she never asked his name
and he never volunteered it.
Very soon afterwards, she found an altogether more
acceptable partner and they were married within a
month. He had the required good looks and some
money besides. They could manage a good night out
every week and even a grand occasion from time to
time. It was on one such special outing that she saw
her old friend from the health club again.
It had been styled as a black tie gala charity dinner,
with entertainment and a few celebrities no doubt
keen for a bit of publicity. Tickets were hard to get
but they had been lucky for they knew someone who
worked with the caterers.
She didn't recognize her old friend at first.
Realization came gradually with 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 was OK for 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.
She wanted to go over to say hello but was pushed
out of the way by a crowd of otherwise respectable
society girls clamoring for his autograph. Some were
trying to pass him telephone numbers on barely
concealed slips of paper. He didn't see her in the
crowd and she never saw him again except on
I pressed her for his name but all she would say was
he had been her Mr Opportunity.
Her husband arrived as she got to the end of her
story. He was neatly dressed, overweight, with thick
spectacles and a poor complexion. I know they're
happy enough but there was something in her eyes
that time she was telling me her story.
Mr Opportunity ws published in
6 Tales Magazine, May 2011.
First published as Runner Up
Adult Creative Writing Club
Competition No. 84, Aug 2008.