Hank had finished polishing the bar when two women approached and perched on adjacent stools. He waited for a pause in their conversation before asking what they’d like. He heard the brunette say, “Well, you know that I’m always waiting for that moment when the other shoe drops. It’s the way I’ve always been.”
The blonde laughed. “I know, but you have had the shoe drop in pretty much every one of your relationships.”
The brunette said, “Yeah. Thanks for pointing that out.” She looked at Hank. “Hi, I’ll have the house cab. How are you?”
The blonde said, “I’ll have the same. Thanks.”
Hank said, “Welcome, ladies. Thanks for coming in.” He placed two glasses of wine in front of them and went back to the bar sink.
Ann brushed her brown hair off her shoulder, “I’ve been burned, Pam. I’m an idiot to ever think that the other shoe isn’t going to drop. I’ve got to be prepared. You’ve never had to worry about that in your 25-year marriage.”
Pam laughed. “Well, it’s fair to say that the shoe drops in a long marriage, too, but it isn’t a deal breaker. I don’t know how to tell you the difference between the red flags that turn into deal breakers that cause the other shoe to drop or a red flag that ends up just being a bump in the road. I guess I kind of take each issue as it comes, but I also trust that Bob wants this to work as much as I do.”
Ann said, “That must be nice – to know that he’s as committed as you are.”
Pam said, “Well, he’s not always wonderful, you know. And neither am I. I’ve wanted to walk. And I know he has, too. But we always end up staying. I wish I could tell you why. I wish it was easy to explain.”
Ann said, “Yeah. I wish you could explain, too.”
Hank picked up bits and pieces of their conversation as he wiped the glasses clean. He wanted to interject, but didn’t feel his thoughts would be welcomed.
Pam took a sip, “Are you finding some red flags in this new relationship?”
Ann smiled, “No. He’s wonderful. But don’t they all start out that way? I mean, he’s showing me his good side, just as I’m showing him mine. At some point, we’ll get real and that’s when the flags start flying and the shoe gets ready to drop.”
Hank overheard Ann and thought to himself how self-fulfilling that could be. If you expect the worst, you’re likely to get just that, but he didn’t say anything.
Pam said, “Do you ever wonder if your expecting the other shoe to drop might be the very thing that makes the other shoe drop?”
Hank smiled and nodded his head as he went to take an order.
Ann said, “Oh, please. My track record proves that I suck at this. Why don’t I just end it now before he does.”
Pam put down her glass, “Geez, Ann. Listen to yourself. You’re thinking this to death. God! You just met the man. Have a little fun before you start over-thinking everything.”
Just then Ann noticed the bartender nodding his head up down. “So you agree with her then? You think I’m thinking this to death, too?”
Hank smiled, refilled their glasses and said, “Forget the shoe for a bit, quit worrying about red flags, and just enjoy his company.”