1st place flash fiction
Toe Tap by Maureen Flynn
He creeps into the hall when the ceili is in full swing. He feels colour flood up his neck and deepen his already ruddy complexion. He ducks his head and darts to the bar, eventually catching the eye of the handsome but surly teenage bartender
‘Sorry?’ The youngster is already backing away from him.
He clears his throat
He scurries to a seat that has a good view of the dancers. He glances around, finally lowering his shoulders and relaxing slightly as he settles into his chair. Couples seated on either side give him the once over and quickly lose interest. Gradually his heartrate slows down and he no longer hears the blood pounding in his ears. He sips his drink willing himself to take it easy. He won’t risk a second trip to the bar. He becomes absorbed in the dancing where women greatly out-number men. He sorts the talented from the imposters; the show-offs from the shy. A barely detectable toe tap the only clue that he would love to join the dancers.
His eyes are drawn to one lady. He watches her serene face as she allows herself to be steered around the floor by her determined looking partner, a stout little woman in a flowery dress.
He times his exit during the last dance stealing out into the cold air as unobtrusively as he had arrived.
‘Hello Jess, good girl for minding the house’ He pats his sheepdog on the head as he enters his empty house. He makes tea and sinks into his chair by the dying embers of the fire.
‘ Fair play, you did ok’ he whispered softly to himself.
Maybe next time someone would talk to him.
Maybe next time he would ask her to dance.
MMCF Writing Competition 2020