It's ten days until Christmas.
After losing his husband in an auto accident the year before, Chris has decided to go all out to find someone new before the big holiday - planning ten dates in ten days. Somehow, though, none of them is quite right. And as each new day and date passes, Chris starts to notice a strange pattern in the guys he's dating.
What do they all have in common? And is one of them Chris's new Mister Right?
Only time will tell.
December 17th - Glenn
I picked up the mail on the way into my apartment from the car. It was the usual junk—a copy of Sacramento Magazine, two Bed Bath and Beyond coupons… and a credit card offer made out to Aristotle Collins.
I closed my eyes, picturing Ari’s laugh—“I haven’t been Aristotle since I was six!” I smiled and took it inside, grabbed a Sharpie and scribbled “deceased” across the address label. I tossed it in the mailbox and went back inside to get ready for my third date.
Two days, two duds. No matter—with eight dates left to go, I figured I still had a one in five chance at finding marital bliss again.
I always wasgood at math.READ MORE
Glenn had suggested we meet at some place out in the suburbs called the Melting Pot. He was a little older, conservatively dressed in a tailored suit and tie, his hair cropped short. He looked kind of familiar in that weren’t-you-a-character-actor-on-Law-and-Order? sort of way.
I’d found him on Craigslist. I know, I know, it’s basically the swap meet of hook-up sites—a lot of the merchandise is a gritty and a little used, but every now and then you found a copy of Action Comics #1. Or a cute bit of flower-based wall art.
His ad had seemed nice:
Mature, middle-aged man seeks younger for fun, possible relations.
I was sure he’d meant “relationship.”
The restaurant was dark and smelled like meat and chocolate. It kinda turned me on.
I sat down and smiled. “Nice place.”
He nodded. “I like it. It’s quiet and out of the way.”
“I haven’t been to a fondue place in years.” The things you do for dating.
Ari had always hated it. Our first two dates had been famously bad—involving a napkin on fire and some classic teeth on lip action—but we’d given it another try, and somehow the third time had been the charm.
“You’re cute.” Glenn grinned. He had a nice smile. A point in his favor.
“Thanks.” I was pleased. “You’re not too bad yourself.” I refused to add for an older guy. I’dworn that shoe with Bryan, and it was a bad fit, not to mention bad manners. But that tongue…
The waiter stopped by. “My name’s Dorothea. Have you two decided what you want?” She gave us her best waitress smile.
Glenn waved her off. “Give us a couple minutes?”
“Sure. I’ll check back with you in a little bit.”
I felt something between my legs, and looked down to see Glenn’s foot, wrapped in a black nylon sock, massaging my crotch. The sock had a little golden cross embroidered on it.
I looked up and Glenn was winking at me.
Nylon socks? Seriously?
I could almost hear Ari laughing.
He was moving a little too fast. I pushed his foot away.
Glenn looked hurt. “I’m sorry. I thought you likedme.” He tugged at his collar.
Boom, I knew where I’d seen him before.“You’re Pastor Glenn from All Hallows,” I blurted out before I could stop myself. My sister’s parish. I’d gone with her once for Christmas Mass and remembered ogling him. Holy shit, maybe I’d turnedthe poor bastard with my gay gaze.
Glenn’s face went white. “I… I’m not… I can’t…” Without another word, he got up and pulled out his wallet to lay forty bucks on the table. Then he almost ran out the door.
I stared after him. Why does everyone think I’m a john or a prostitute?
Then I realized he’d left the money to pay for the meal.
He wasa decent guy, after all
I wasn’t going to waste the twenty-five-minute drive, so I stayed and treated myself to an awesome chocolate fondue.
I was kind of ad for the guy—I mean, what must it be like to go your whole life lying about who you were? But I didn’t date closet cases.
Ari was in total agreement.
I gave Glenn a four on my scale.
Hey, at least he’d paid for dinner.COLLAPSE
At the core of this thoughtful, sweet Christmas story are both heartbreak, due to a husband lost, and a very cute idea to help the surviving man find new hope a year later. It’s a story with heart and a ton of Christmas spirit, entirely without fluff or sap, and written with lots of humor. The end result is entertaining, made me smile, and carries a wonderful message of hope on more than one front.