Day ten of sobriety brought something new, or rather took away something old. This morning when he awoke from his tossing and turning that he called sleep he noticed the shakes were missing or almost nonexistent in his hands. He missed his drinks they helped him to pass out each night and not remember a thing for those six hours. Now though, every time he closed his eyes for sleep, she was there, memories of his love were flooding back on him now. As he looked into the mirror today, he saw a different him. Slowly, he rotated his face from side to side. There was actually color to his face, in his cheeks and not just a bright red nose from the drink. The gray color he had grown accustomed to seeing had lessened and blood had begun to flow freely. His eyes were still ugly and bloodshot, but this was now from the lack of sleep, not the abundance of alcohol.He placed a hand on each cheek and pulled his face down into a funny pose; as he did this, it brought back one of the short dreams he had experienced during the night. His love was the star attraction and she had been pulling at his chin making those duck lips as she called them and laughing at him, really though with him because that laugh was infectious. He had begun snickering and blowing air from his nose and this had made her laugh at him harder and then it happened, the snort, it was the cutest thing in the world when she did that. At that moment, they had absolutely lost it and had fallen into each other’s arms in delightful laughter. As he came back to the present, he noticed something else new in the mirror, something he hadn’t seen in years. His lips had pulled up into a small smile or you might call it a smirk. Even his ugly eyes were slightly more alive in this moment. While still smiling, a small tear built in the corner of his right eye and slid down his cheek. The memory was good but it hurt at the same time. Pain proved you were alive, right? Well, enough about that. He needed to get ready for work; he had now been on time for four days and wanted to go for five straight. He grabbed his dress shirt off the knob of the closet door. He had forgotten how a crisp, freshly ironed shirt felt, so cool and stiff on the skin. His permanent-press pants still looked ‘great’, and his belt, socks, and shoes followed in quick succession. His shoes were still a wreck, but he would get to those someday. Heading out the door, he realized he had just enough time to stop and grab a coffee and bagel at the shop. The sun was out today and felt good on his face. The air was chilly, though, so he moved at a brisk pace. The smell of coffee just around the corner and the little ding of the bell as he opened the door surprised him. The heads of the three baristas came up and everyone flashed him a smile. The one named Lynette gave him a big smile and said, “Hi, Andrew, it’s good to see you today. Haven’t seen you for a while, how have you been?”He replied, “I am good, well maybe okay, alright, I just need an Americano, light water, please. Can you add a half-bagel with cream cheese?” Lynette moved quickly to be the one of the three to help him. She made eye contact with him and continued to make chitchat. He did notice her eyes; they were more than just pretty, they were kind. Her smile was constant and quite wide. He felt a smile creep up his face uninvited, but he couldn’t help it. He paid and walked to the end, waiting for his breakfast. It required him to chew but tasted way better than Scotch. Plus, he actually felt like he could function again.“Here’s your food, Drew”, Lynette said. He felt the touch of her skin as she passed the bag and the coffee over. “Let me know if there is anything else you need”, she said as she flashed that smile again. “Thank you, I will,” he replied in return, he moved quickly to the door and left for work. As he moseyed into the lobby today, he noticed the crowd of people and heard the chatter of multiple voices. Stepping up to the security center with his card out, he was ready for once. The guard said, “Oh, I see you had a good morning today.” Andrew cocked his head, “What do you mean?”The guard gestured at his cup and said, “You got a phone number.”Andrew drew the cup back and saw for the first time scrawled on the side, “Lynnie 555-555-5555 text me your order next time or if you need anything else. Nice shirt.” Looking at the guard, he shrugged and said, “I guess so, I hadn’t noticed.” Wow, was bursa escort he that out of it or just daft? He hadn’t picked up on any cues from her. Maybe it had just been so long and he hadn’t been paying attention to anyone at all for years that he was out of practice. Ha, he had gotten a compliment on his shirt. It seemed the thirty-two minutes it took him to figure out how to iron it had been worth every moment. Maybe polishing his shoes would be the next step. As he stepped onto the elevator, he pulled out his phone, typed in her number, and added her as “Lynette Kind Eyes Coffee Source”. “I guess I have still got it,” he said out loud.Shirley, from accounting, turned around and said, “What did you say?”“Nothing”, he replied with an embarrassed blush, not realizing until just then he had spoken aloud. As he stepped off the elevator and moved to his cubicle, he heard from the doorway, “That’s five days in a row on time. Way to go, Drew! We might not have to fire you after all.” He wanted to reply with just one digit but instead said, “Thanks” and ducked his head walking to his desk. As he sat in the chair, he spun it and thought, Today is a good day.*****Day Twenty-nine: Drew got up with his first alarm for a change. Most often it was a wrestling match of at least twelve rounds, with his alarm finally winning the day and him dragging himself out of bed. Today, though, he was ready and had almost seemed to be anticipating the alarm. For sure, all the exercise was starting to pay dividends with his energy level. He went quickly through his morning routine and found himself ready for work almost an hour early. Now, what should he do with his time? He decided to head out early and enjoy his coffee and bagel at a table instead of on his walk to work. He enjoyed the buzz of chatter at the shop. He could just sit and soak it in for some time. Out the door early, he followed his nose to that alluring smell of coffee. With a ‘Ding’ of the bell at the door, he announced his arrival. He was greeted with the strong smell of roasted beans and assorted baked goods. He hardly noticed though because Lynette was there and looked up at him with a beaming happy smile. He really did love that smile; it made his heart a fraction happier every time he saw it. “Good morning, Drew, you are up early today,” she said.“Yeah, I actually won the ‘pillow fight’ today,” he said with a little grin.His humor was not wasted on her; she smiled and giggled. “You are a funny man,” she said. He was not sure he agreed with her, but he did say, “Thank you.” “I will have the usual coffee with an extra shot, please. But instead of the bagel may I have egg white bites?” he said patting his stomach. “I am trying to watch my figure, go figure.” His grin followed and she laughed again. “I have been going for a walk every day and trying to get in better shape,” he explained, repeating his patting. “Not sure it’s worked at all yet,” he said looking down at his torso.“Here’s your coffee and food. Did you need it to go as usual?” “No, I have a little extra time today. I think I am going to sit down and soak it all in for a bit. Thank you for thinking of what I needed,” Drew answered.Lynette smiled and said, “I am due for a break; do you mind if I come and sit with you?”“Please do. I would enjoy hearing more of your giggles. I have about twenty minutes; do you have a favorite seat in here?” he replied eagerly. He hoped not too eagerly since he didn’t want to scare her away. He had to play this in a cooler way.She led him toward a table in the front window and although it was by the door, seemed to be in a little nook offering some privacy. The sun was streaming through the window and felt wonderfully warm making it all the more cozy. “How about right here?” she asked. “This will be great,” he said. “Let’s sit for a bit.” After getting settled, sipping his coffee, and taking a bite of his food, he said, “So much I don’t know about you. Like I didn’t know you had a kid and how long have you been married?”“Just one child and I have been divorced for a little over a year now. His choice of names for our son was the least of his bad qualities. Needless to say, we didn’t get along and seemed to fight all the time. How long were you married, Drew?”“I didn’t realize you knew I had been married, but it was a little over fifteen years before I lost her to cancer a few years ago.” He couldn’t help but get somber when he spoke about her bursa escort bayan and a frown was on his face now. “Sorry, I miss her a lot, even more recently than I did in the past. I thought I would be with her forever.”“Oh sorry, I brought it up. I shouldn’t have; that’s your business, not mine. I knew you were widowed a few years back but I didn’t know what had taken her.”He inquired, “How did you know I had been married? I don’t think I have ever told you that.”“I asked around, sorry. I guess I should have just asked you. I wanted to know more about who you were,” she explained.He brushed it aside. “That’s okay, nothing to be sorry for. I want to know more about you, too. I just haven’t asked anyone yet.” He smiled to show her it was just fine. “I didn’t want you to think I was a creeper.”She giggled at this and said, “Why would you want to know about me?” While she asked, she played with her hair and tucked it back behind her ear.A little self-grooming, this was a good sign of her interest so he decided to take a chance. “I really like your smile and your eyes light up the room. You are obviously attractive to me so I wanted to know more. I just didn’t feel right texting you about it. I wanted to talk face to face. So thank you for sitting down with me today.”She smiled and a faint blush covered her fair cheeks. Glancing with sudden interest at the table, she spoke softly, “Thank you for the compliments; you are easy on the eyes yourself. Unfortunately, my break is almost over but I want to keep talking with you. Would you be available to go to dinner with me on Friday night this week? No pressure, it doesn’t have to be a date, no flowers are required and we can go Dutch.”Without even giving it a second thought, he said, “Yes, I would like that a lot. I am in. Shall I text you about the particulars later today?” He hoped he didn’t sound desperate by responding as quickly as he had. But he could really use some good company and laughter. He would have to remember to play it a little cooler then.“It’s a date then. I mean, not a date, an appointment,” she said with that cute mouth of hers. “I better get back to work. Text you later.”As she rose and went back to work, he watched her move until he was embarrassed for her and the amount he was staring. I better get going for work, he thought and departed with a Ding from the door. Day Thirty-two- Drew checked the clock for the thirteenth time in the last five minutes; it was still 4:38, not a number had changed since his last glance at it. Why was time going so slowly today of all days? It was Friday night and he had his date, err, appointment with Lynnette tonight at 7 pm. To say he was excited was a bit of an understatement. He was that and then some, along with that, though, was fear. What if she didn’t like him or thought he was too old? Guilt pounded him as well because this was new. Was he moving on too quickly? Could he still love his lost wife and pursue another? He was giddy and happy, though, today for sure. He had spent the last night picking out and putting together outfits for the date/appointment. One thing had become very clear to him: his style was old and stale. He needed a change and planned to shop a little next week. Just a few things though, because he was slimming down already and wanted to get below 200 pounds before he shopped in earnest.That had brought him to another emotion last night, self-doubt. He wasn’t sure what Lynette saw in him. Either she was just desperate for a male companion or he was missing something. She had said he was easy on the eyes, but maybe she just meant his face. He had good features and his green eyes were quite vibrant at times, but his body was definitely from a war zone. The ‘battle of the bulge’ was the movie that best described him. So far, his eating healthy and walking regularly had helped him shed eighteen pounds, but he had another thirty to go before he would be satisfied. That probably meant more like losing forty pounds of fat because he intended to gain at least ten pounds of muscle. He would get there eventually, just not yet. So he was definitely keeping his clothes on tonight even if the date/appointment went perfectly.They had texted quite a bit since Tuesday morning’s rendezvous. All the usual questions, really, likes and dislikes when it came to food; personality types and quirks they had; what she liked to do in her time off… He hadn’t volunteered any escort bursa info on this subject because up until thirty-two days ago, he was drinking and spending his time drunk or passed out. Figured it would be best to keep that bit to himself, which could be the proverbial straw that ended her interest in him. They had decided, well, actually, she had decided they should meet at Frank’s, a local eatery about three blocks from his place. She had eaten there before and promised he would like something on the menu. He checked the clock now for the fourteenth time, success! It was now 4:43, about time to jam. He began cleaning up his papers, getting them “organized” into stacks. To be sure it was only organized to him, he knew where every piece was but another observer would call it a mess. He didn’t care what they thought, though, it was his desk. He closed the analysis report on his computer and shut it down for the weekend. He sometimes came in to catch up on Saturdays but that was before he had something else to fill his time, like actually living.After getting his desk ready, one last look at the clock showed 4:55. He could now leave in good conscience. Grabbing his briefcase, he made a beeline for the elevators.A few minutes later, he found himself on the street in front and as he turned to walk home, a flash of red grabbed his attention from one of the stalls across the busy street. It was a clothing shop and he decided to pay it a visit. As he got closer, he saw it was a scarf. This would look great with Lynette’s eyes. It was getting colder as fall wore on, so it would be a practical gift as well. He had read to never bring flowers on a first date but a thoughtful gift was appropriate. So he bought it and a length of blue ribbon to tie around to make it seem more of a gift. He hadn’t bought anything for a woman in nearly five years so it felt weird but good at the same time and suddenly he couldn’t wait until 7 to see her. He sure hoped she liked it. Arriving at home, he ate a snack to make sure he didn’t get ‘hangry’ tonight. Checked on the reservations at Frank’s making sure the table was a good one. Then hopped in the shower and threw down another shave to make sure he looked clean and sharp. His haircut received just yesterday was an attempt at looking younger, cut short on the sides to look a bit trendier; it styled nice and quick. He had chosen a bright olive green dress shirt and gray slacks with a black belt and shoes for tonight. That seemed to give him the best chance for her to notice his eyes, not his waist. Looking again at the scarf he had purchased for her, he suddenly was worried that it was too much. But after a moment, he decided it was do or die for him, so he scooped it up along with his jacket and headed out to meet her. The walk, even though only three blocks, was short but with the crisp air exactly what he needed to clear his head. It was okay to go out with a woman, he told himself, his wife would want him to move on to find happiness, but for the fifteenth time today, he apologized to the memory of her for it. He was glad he was a bit early; he needed to pull himself together. He could do this, he needed this. As he rounded last corner before Frank’s he was surprised to see Lynette there already. Was he late? Looking at his watch, he saw it was 6:45 she was just really early. He pulled the scarf behind his back a little, trying to keep it secret for the moment. He waved at her with the other hand and saw her wave back and then look down shaking her head. What was wrong he wondered?Coming up to her, he wondered if he should hug her or shake hands. She answered that by passing his outstretched hand to give him a side hug. “Sorry I am early,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if I could find a taxi on a Friday but one pulled up quickly. So here I am.”She noticed his other hand had remained pulled back by his side so she looked to see if he was okay and spied the gift. He held it up for her and said, “I saw this today and thought of you and those blue eyes of yours and felt this would compliment them nicely, plus it’s getting colder.” His face grew hotter with each word he uttered; he knew he must be in a full blush by now.Grabbing it from his hand, he watched her smile as she pulled the ribbon off and shook out the scarf fully. “Oh, I love it! You are so thoughtful, thank you!” she said with a slight waver in her cute voice.Looking down at her, he noticed she quickly averted her eyes from his and there seemed to be tears in them. “Are you okay?” he asked. “Did I blow it by bringing a gift? I am sorry, I just thought you would look good in it when I saw it,” he said.