He had been amazed when she had agreed to go on the first in what would become (to his continued amazement) a considerable number of dates. He had been amazed further still when she began to spend hours at a time with him in his small apartment, which, for the last fifteen years, had held only himself and, for the last ten, his increasingly obese dog—except for occasional visits from his elderly mother who came primarily to make dire comments about his failure to produce grandchildren. Perhaps most amazing of all was the moment he realized that she was not opposed to the idea of him making love to her, which he did, like a clumsy, asthmatic turtle. So when he found the note on his kitchen counter, folded neatly and initialed in her flowery script, he was expecting anything but the message he found inside, which read simply:
It’s just not working out. I’m sorry.
The note delivered a blow straight to his argyle-checked stomach. He sank to the floor, where his dog trotted over and watched him nervously. He buried his face into the soft dog tummy and cried. Cried like an infant with his round shoulders squared forward and shaking with sobs. The dog, mildly interested, lifted its nose to snuffle wetly against his sweater, leaving an abstract dark blot as evidence.