Madeleine Ritzker_Cupid is not a URL_1

Cupid is not a URL 

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Felicia stuck her head beneath the hand-dryer and added a fresh layer of lipstick. She freed the top two buttons on her shirt and pulled a necklace out of her handbag. The mirror told her that her roots were dangerously creeping in on the verge between sexy and stripy. Six weeks earlier her freshly highlighted head had been beneath the same dryer before meeting Eric. Or Evan? Brown eyes and ironic glasses he was too old to pull off. A pharmacologist or physiotherapist, he did something vaguely medical. Or was that the one she’d met for tapas at the place around the corner? No. She only went there on Wednesdays when the cocktails were half price.

The first time she dared meet someone she was early and obvious with her red scarf draped loudly across her shoulders. But Dan had been nice and only laughed when the pepper spray fell out of her handbag. She hadn’t felt the desire to smell his vinegar breath again, and so she went home alone that night and signed up for three more websites.

The clock behind the bar read 6:30 p.m. and before she could decide whether to order a gin and tonic or a martini – was it here they had those special olives? – a hand attached to a navy-clad arm gently touched her elbow.


His shirt was buttoned to a casual height and he would have looked good in a tie. He was tall, which was unusual, and his hair was thinner than it had been in his photo, which was not.


Still holding her arm, he led her to the tastefully candlelit table. As he pulled out her chair for her, Felicia watched the number 6 bus pass by. It would stop and start through the centre, towards the suburbs and past her flat before continuing to the outskirts of the city. She would sit here, as the pavement darkened beneath the autumn rain, opposite Mark, who had nice shoulders.

“So, you’re one of these city-slicker types,” he said once the waiter had taken the menus away. They’d agreed on white wine. She didn’t take him for the rosé type.

“I wouldn’t call myself a city girl,” she said. “But I do work in finance.”

“I could never wrap my head around taxes and percentages,” he said. “Though I like a woman in a power suit.”

She reached for her white wine, wishing she’d had time for the martini or gin. Or both.

“And you’re a carpenter, is that right? What does that entail?”

“It means I’m good with my hands.”

She felt a pang of disappointment as she realized she wouldn’t get to taste the restaurant’s specialty cheesecake. It wasn’t often she made it to dessert. Bravely, she smiled back at Mark and thought of the forgiveness of her sweatpants, the winegums in her cupboard and the internet and its infinite possibilities of men who were good with things other than their hands.


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Madeleine Ritzker is a Canadian-German living in the UK who wishes she was as well-travelled as she sounds. She has studied creative writing, history and English lit at university and one day hopes to combine the three in some sort of earth-shattering way, but for now she is quite happy to write the odd story in the hopes of reaching an audience wider than that of her two highly critical dogs.

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