Mary Ann was in her studio as usual on a Thursday afternoon. All of the large windows were open, letting the fresh spring air in to the warehouse-like space. she was working on a large watercolor landscape - certainly not among her most interesting commissions but certainly no less beautiful. The lakeside landscape seemed to be coming to life as she mixed colors both on her palette and on the canvas. A reflection was beginning to take shape on the surface of the lake when she heard a knock on her open front door. “Hang on a sec!” she called, her hand still moving and her brush still moving the paint across the water’s surface. It only took her a couple of minutes to complete the reflection, after which she put her brush on a damp towel and turned toward the door.
"Can I help you?" she asked, wiping her hands off on her jeans as she walked to the man standing stiffly in her doorframe.
"Hi," he said, though it seemed like more of an exhale. The man - no older than thirty, tall, moderately built - was standing with his hands loosely clasped in front of him and his arms hanging limply down his front. Everything about him said "I’m nervous", even the way he had greeted her. "My name’s Robert. We were supposed to have a date on Saturday."
Realization flooded over Mary Ann, and she was tempted to slam the door immediately. She had managed to forget the whole thing by painting that entire night until she eventually passed out in her studio. The next day was so busy for her, she had no trouble forgetting what had happened as long as she stayed occupied. Having Robert show up at her studio was certainly not part of the plan. “Oh,” she said simply, her posture changing from business to disinterest. “Hi.”
He hesitated, clearly debating simply leaving instead of saying what he had come to say. Her obvious hostility was not particularly welcoming. “Look,” he finally said. “I know I stood you up. And I know that you’re angry. You should be. All I ask is that you give me a chance to explain. Then… maybe another chance. If you want.”
Mary Ann looked him over as he talked, her face stony all the while. When he finished, she shifted her weight. “How did you find me?” she asked. “I don’t say anything about my profession or studio on my profile.”