Dating Denied by
(29 Stories)

Prompted By Dating

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Once upon a time, long long ago, two college students met. They were next door neighbors living somewhere near the Arnold Arboretum — this last having meaning only because their romance began to bloom that spring along with the lilacs.

Years later she would relate with a smile the time he asked her if she liked creme de menthe (the liqueur). She gushed yes, she loved chocolates. He found her charming then, and he was right. She would grow into a radiant, loving, remarkable woman. 

It was early in the game when his mother determined this flirtation should not flower. She wanted him to marry a girl of his own faith—not an uncommon feeling at the time. He returned to his campus and she to hers. Her family moved across the city. That was that.

Both married and had families. In early middle age they ran into each other unexpectedly one winter evening at the University skating rink, children in tow. Hello, how nice to see you. And you. A warm moment, then life resumed happily for both.

Fifty years later she and a good friend attended an outdoor gala. Prince Charles was in town. Thousands of people were seated in rows of folding chairs on the fragrant June grass. The prince’s robes, shot with gold, glittered in the sunlight.

At event’s end the women stood up to go. She saw a man and a woman approaching from several rows back.

“I knew you by the sound of your voice,” he said.

“He has spoken of you many times over the years,” said his wife.

What happens when a romance is nipped in the bud?
Profile photo of Susan Bennet Susan Bennet
I'm so happy to have joined the gracious Retro family. The basics:
I have a background in marketing and museums.
I come alive when the leaves turn red.
I regret every tech mistake I have made or will ever make on this site.
I want a dog.

Characterizations: been there, moving, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Your economy of words speaks to the nature of the relationship, which felt so real and true; the family and cultural interference and yet…and yet. All those years later, what might have been? They were still in each other’s heads. There is a wistfulness to this story, perhaps some longing. They both seem happy in their choices, but have never gotten over the other person. If this were a movie, I could hear the music swell.

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    Perfectly captured essence of an incomplete love, with a reconciliation. It seems the path not taken was still a good one, and we all have possibilities that never came to be. Poignant but not tragic, a lovely story.

  3. Suzy says:

    This is so poignant, and beautifully written. I thought it was about you, but your comment to Betsy suggests maybe not. I wanted them to get together at the end, but alas it was not to be. Was that what she (you?) would have wanted too?

    • Susan Bennet says:

      No, it is not my story.

      I believe Fate took her in hand. The challenges she overcame in life made her magnificent. He was the first (but not the last) to discern her special light.

      You may agree with me or not, that the loveliest thing a man (or woman) can do is to remember you, and to tell you so. Men: Take note!

  4. Wonderful story Susan, whether yours or not!

    We’ve all surely had a few of those serendipitous moments, that like all memories can be bitter or sweet!

  5. Dave Ventre says:

    Your first big love occupies a place in your heart from which it can never be completely dislodged. It’s one of the sad facts of being human that they so seldom last.

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