Hello, Mrs. Robinson
By Sarina Dorie
As a child, Sarina Dorie dreamed of being an astronaut/archeologist/fashion designer/illustrator/writer. After years of dedication to art and writing, most of Sarina's dreams have come true; in addition to teaching, she is a writer/artist/ fashion designer/ belly dancer. She has shown her art internationally, sold illustrations to Shimmer, Bards and Sages and Penumbra magazines. Sarina's novel, Silent Moon, won second place in the Duel on the Delta Contest, hosted by River City RWA and the second place in the Golden Rose contest hosted by Rose City Romance Writers. Silent Moon won third place in the Winter Rose Contest hosted by the Yellow Rose RWA and third place in Ignite the Flame Contest hosted by Central Ohio Fiction Writers. She has sold stories to Daily Science Fiction, Bards and Sages, Neo-Opsis, Flagship, Allasso, New Myths, Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, Penumbra and Crossed Genres to name a few.
Now, if only Jack Sparrow asks her to marry him, all her dreams will come true.
I couldn't hear my daughter's words with my head under the drier, but I could tell by her tone she was none too pleased.
"What?" I shouted over the noise.
Shirley shook her head and rolled her eyes in the same way she had done over sixty years before as a teenager. Of course, that was back when she considered herself too cool to listen to her mother. Not much had changed.
"If I want purple hair for my eightieth birthday, I'll have purple hair," I said.
Shirley scowled, making her look twice her age. She'd turned into a sour apple when she and Rick had divorced. No matter how I tried to set her up with nice, young men, she refused to move on. Or cheer up.
The drier lifted from my head and Rita, my hair dresser, helped me out of the chair to the other side of the beauty shop to finish my new hairdo. Rita had been fixing my hair for twenty years. She'd been a constant every week during my retirement, my late husband's cancer and death fifteen years ago, through grandchildren being born and when I'd lost my driver's license.
Like clockwork, Shirley picked me up for my hair appointments on Tuesdays and shopping on Thursdays. We would have dessert after this and I would be back at my house in time to get ready for bingo.
I leaned on my walker as I shuffled out of the beauty parlor and down the sidewalk to Tom's Ice Cream next door. A nice, young man of about sixty held the door for us. He wore a velvet fedora and a smile like Clark Gable.
After I batted my eyelashes and thanked him, I turned to Shirley. "He's handsome. Did you smile at him?"
She shushed me and ducked down her chin in embarrassment. "Ma, you're talking too loud."
I shuffled up to the counter where the tattooed teenager greeted us. "Whoa, Mrs. Robinson! That hair is awesome! I'm jealous."
We chit-chatted and ordered our ice cream. Shirley remained silent.
"You know what your problem is?" I pushed my walker to the nearest booth. "You don't smile enough. How do they know you're free if you don't smile?"
"I'm not." She always said that.
"You're too young to be all alone. You need to flirt with men."
This made Shirley's wrinkled face pucker up like a giant prune.
"I'm going to show you how it's done," I said.
"How what's done?" Shirley asked.
I glanced around the ice cream parlor. It was nearly empty aside from a mother with two children, some teenagers and the man with the fedora watching us from the other side of the room. He was rather dashing with that hat.
I turned on the charm; I smiled, looked away and glanced back at him. He leaned forward. It was the flutter of my eyelashes and come hither eyes that drew him in though. He ambled over.
Shirley's face went pale when she saw him coming. "No, Ma! Please, don't! I can't. I'm not ready!" The panic in her eyes caught me off guard. It wasn't like flirting was marriage. Plus he was at least ten years older than her. This was just practice.
"I still love Rick," she blurted out. Her eyes filled with tears. I reached across the expanse of table and patted her hand. She really wasn't ready for another man. But it was too late. Mr. Fedora was already beside our table.
The man leaned against a mahogany cane. He looked from me to my icecream. "Do you always pick ice cream that matches your hair?"
I laughed. There was no point in missing this opportunity for a good flirting. "Yes, only it's the other way around. The hair has to match the ice cream," I said. "This week it's black cherry. Can you imagine what they'll say when I start craving lime sherbet?"
He winked. "It's always greener on the other side."
I patted my hair back from my face. "Are you sure? I heard it isn't easy being green."
He was older than I'd first guessed. I fumbled for my glasses. He didn't look a day older than seventy-two.
I made small talk, showing Shirley how it was done. She quietly scooted to the edge of the booth and shrank off toward the trash area. I let her go. I hadn't meant to mortify her and if she wasn't ready to move on, there was nothing to be done for that but time.
Mr. Fedora sat down across from me. His eyes twinkled. He had all his real teeth, I could tell. After a couple minutes of conversation, he asked for my number and we had a date for bingo night.
When he shuffled away, Shirley said, "Mom, you're a cougar. That man must be at least five years younger than you."
"Oh, no, more like ten. They don't call me, Mrs. Robinson for nothing."
My daughter might not have been ready for a date, but that didn't mean I wasn't ready.