It was hard to ignore the heart-shaped decor in the hotel lobby. When asked if she wanted two keys, Delilah snapped at the receptionist.
“Do I look like I’m with someone? One key will suffice.”
Arriving for dinner, the hostess questioned if there would be others in her party.
“I clearly made the reservation for one. I’d appreciate a window table and a bottle of the house red.”
She was still seething upon returning to her room. So she changed into her swimsuit and grabbed the half-bottle of wine and a coffee mug. Relieved to find the pool empty, Delilah slid into the hot tub alone.
“Why does everything have to be about romance and couples?” she said out loud. “Can’t a woman take herself away without being given the third degree?”
“I agree completely. Except for being a woman,” a voice said. “Sorry for startling you. I saw the empty hot tub from my window and was looking for quiet time myself, but you beat me to it. I can go if you want to be alone.”
“Pardon me. Of course you can come in. It’s not my private hot tub. I’m just grumpy.” Delilah answered.
“Thank you,” he said, placing his own half bottle and coffee mug on the pool deck. “Great minds think alike.”
He raised a toast after settling across from her. “Here’s to being single on Valentine’s Day.”
Delilah raised her mug in response. They sat in comfortable silence for several minutes and she began to relax.
“I’m Delilah. I guess a stay in Napa wasn’t the best choice. My therapist recommended a little trip rather than sulking at home.”
“I’m Sam. It’s not my favorite holiday, either.”
Then quietly he added, “I lost my wife to cancer a year ago. I’m not comfortable with dating although my family wants me to move on.”
Delilah blinked. “I’m so sorry. I lost my husband in a car accident. I’m still so angry and definitely not ready to date.”
Steam rose between them.
“What was your husband like, if you don’t mind my asking? No one wants to mention my wife. It’s as if she never existed. I miss her.”
“Oh! Me, too! We had a wonderful marriage. I don’t think I’ll ever get over losing him.”
For the next hour they shared stories, laughter and tears. Sam walked Delilah to her room when the bottles were empty. There was an awkward moment at her door.
“Um. I had a really nice time. I know you aren’t ready to date, but perhaps we could get together for coffee and talk again? Not romantically, of course. Never mind, it was a stupid idea,” Sam rambled.
“No. I mean yes,” Delilah stammered. “I’d really like that. I was going to wine taste tomorrow. And it’s so embarrassing to go solo. Would you join me?”
Dr. Zelinsky listened to her voicemail. Two of her grief clients had to reschedule their sessions. Who said Valentine’s Day in Napa wasn’t good therapy?
Written for the To Live & Write in Alameda February 2020 “Flash Lit” Challenge #4. We had three days to write a piece of fiction, non-fiction or poetry of 500 words or less to the theme “Alone in the Hot Tub” and post the link in our group.