Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Conference

After splitting with his wife of 30 years, Mike became seriously involved with Michele, a woman whom he had known professionally, over the previous 20 years. He thought they were in a permanent relationship, but she called a “break”. He had no idea what that meant, but after several months without hearing from her, he realized that their relationship was probably over. 

He signed up for one of those conferences where you go to keep up your professional certifications and attended the evening cocktail reception.  The usual crowd was there, but he noticed a woman whom he had never seen before. He was taken with her dark hair and large, green eyes.

She was talking to Vince Fernandez, a County planner. He said hello to the both of them and, Vince, realizing that Mike was looking for an introduction said, “I can’t believe you two don’t know each other.  Marcia, this is Mike.  Mike, this is Marcia.”  After all the hellos were exchanged, Vince excused himself.

Mike wasn’t great with cocktail party talk, but he knew enough to start by asking a question.  Noticing that Marcia had a slight Hispanic accent, he asked her where where she was from.  She said that she was from Zacatecas, a city in central Mexico.  Not having a clue how big Mexico was, Mike offered a non sequitur: "I've heard the beaches in Mexico are beautiful."  She agreed, but pointed out that her home town is, "...about a seven hour drive from both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific."  

They talked for quite a while, mostly about Mexico.  Marcia told Mike about the beautiful colonial cities and the Mayan and Aztec ruins. After exchanging business cards, they said good night. Even though Mike had not gotten over Michele, he kept thinking about Marcia. He called her a couple of days later and asked her to lunch. In his mind, this was nothing more than making a new friend, or so he thought.

They made plans to meet at a well known Spanish restaurant, a hang out for politicos.  He and Marcia were about to be seated, when he saw the Mayor, Dick Garcia, who was holding court at his usual table. Mike had been Dick’s attorney for years and they were close friends. And because of their age difference, Dick was also like a father to Mike.  

Mike, thinking he would impress Marcia, said, “Let’s go say hi to the Mayor” and the two walked over to the Mayor’s table.  Mike started to introduce Marcia to Dick, but Dick was already giving her a big hug and a kiss.  They already knew each other, since Marcia had worked at the City.

Mike and Marcia talked a little about their work during lunch and he discovered that they had crossed paths before.  Marcia had attended a seminar which Mike gave on new state land development regulations and she told Mike that she was very impressed with his presentation.

Mike also connected the dots and realized that he had read a newspaper article about Marcia. She was a well known urban planner in Mexico and the article was about her education and career in Mexico and her position in the County Planning Department.

Mike enjoyed hearing the story about how she came to live in the United States.  But, more than that, he realized that he loved Marcia’s enthusiasm and upbeat way of talking.  As they talked, Mike felt that there was a real connection between them. 

Marcia, probably sensing this and not wanting to mislead Mike, showed him her wedding ring.  Mike thought, "Am I an idiot?  I know better than to miss the ring."  Mike was surprised, but he reminded himself that when he called Marcia, he was thinking of her as a new "friend". 

After this revelation, their conversation suddenly turned to personal matters. Marcia asked Mike if he was in a relationship and Mike talked a little about his situation with Michele. And without Mike asking, Marcia started to talk about her problems with her husband.  Since they had only met, Mike was puzzled that they were having such an intimate conversation, but it was clear that Marcia was interested in telling Mike about these things.

After lunch, as they walked through the restaurant, they stopped to say goodbye to the Mayor. Dick was his usual self, giving Mike a hug and Marcia another hug and kiss. As they left, Mike looked back at Dick to wave goodbye and Dick, assuming Mike’s lunch date was more than just business, gave him a big "thumbs up". Mike cringed, hoping that Marcia didn’t see that.

As he and Marcia walked out of the restaurant, Mike knew that there was a big attraction between them, but, between his lingering feelings for Michele and the fact that Marcia was married, he knew that he would not call her again.

Later that afternoon, Dick called Mike and was raving about Marcia.  In his usual old school manner, Dick said, “Marcia is gorgeous; you’ve got a winner with her.  Mike, you have no idea, but Latinas are the best.  If they love you, you are their ‘king’. And I remember her from the City; she’s a smart, terrific person.”

Mike protested, “Dick, I hear what you’re saying, but she’s married.  I had no idea when I asked her to go out to lunch. Besides, I still have feelings for Michele. In fact, the whole situation was weird; Marcia was telling me about all her problems with her husband.  Why would she do that?” 

Dick, being a lot more experienced than Mike with women, became a little exasperated, “Mike, she wasn’t telling you that stuff to get your advice; she was sending you a message.”  Mike thought about what Dick said and responded, “Yeah, you may be right, but I’m not chasing after a married woman.” Dick said, “You just wait, I know I’m right.” 

© Lumdog 2012

I originally wrote this for Yeah Write Challenge Grid #78, however, it was rejected.  According to the Yeah Write editor, the post "reads like fiction." For the record, this is a true story.

Your comments are appreciated.


  1. Yep! Being married is the deal breaker so Mike did the right thing but that chemistry thing always sticks the back of your mind. An itch you can't scratch! I, too, think she was sending Mike a signal. People don't talk about those intimate things with others they hardly know unless there are significant problems. Maybe Dick's right but Mike still can't proceed until her situation changes. He's kinda stuck. Michele's loss!!!

    This read so matter of factly and smoothly and I could picture the whole thing actually going down. It's a great story that was well written. There definitely could be a sequel in this one!

    1. Thank you so much Gina. I appreciate all of your kind words. Yeah, since all this actually happened, I can tell you that Mike did the right thing, and, yes, there is a sequel.

    2. You are a great writer, lumdog! So when do we hear it? The sequel.