Successful Failure

by Isabel D, age 13
Successful Failure Isabel is a rising eighth grader at Westland Middle School who enjoys soccer and, of course, writing stories. She has a dog named Reggie.

“Jason as being 28 was obsessed with finding a wife. He would date anyone who was breathing and was determined to be married before the age of 30.”

The French restaurant was a perfectly square building, with chipping pink paint and ivy crawling down the side of. It had black wire chairs and tables in the front. Inside the restaurant there were creamy white drapes over the windows and small flickering candles on each of the square tables. Littering the walls were black and white photos of the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Palace of Versailles, and many other significant places in France,  along with pictures of the owner’s smiling family.  The aroma out of the kitchen was delicious and you could practically taste the Bisque, Terrine, or Croque Monsieur being cooked up in the kitchen.

Jason Mallory’s best friend told him he had found the perfect girl for him; Jason was ecstatic. Jason as being 28 was obsessed with finding a wife. He would date anyone who was breathing and was determined to be married before the age of 30.  He was laid back and lived in a small apartment, which he shared with six other guys to pay the rent. He was working as a barista at a small coffee shop on the outskirts of New York City. He wanted to make it big in the world of theater acting but so far was unsuccessful. He would go to three auditions per month, only to get rejected a few weeks later. On Friday nights, he would stay out late at bars watching football games. In fact he would do that any day of the week. The future to him was not anything but what he would do in a few hours, nothing more and nothing less.

Avery Kinsey was a powerhouse, despite what she might look. Petite at 4 ‘11 and icicle thin, Avery had started her own real estate company by the age of 25,  which was nearing one of the most popular real estate companies in New York City. Avery had no time for nonsense. She had things to do and places to be. She would much rather stay single her whole life. If she had too many people in her life, she would have less time to focus on her pride and joy, her real estate company. Despite her opinion, Avery’s only friend , Karen, had set her up on blind date. Karen’s boyfriend’s best friend  was supposedly the man for her. Avery was displeased; she hated when people chose what her next move would be like, but next week Avery had a huge deal and needed a lot of concentration, and Karen would be bothering her all of next week if she did not go on this date tonight.

When Jason arrived at the French restaurant he saw a small woman sitting at a table all by herself. She was wearing lemon-yellow blazer and skirt, and her blonde hair was pulled back into a high bun. Her shoes were pointed at the tips and were fire truck red, which matched her square glasses.

“Avery?” he asked the woman cautiously.

“Yes?” she said impatiently.

“Hello, I’m Jason,” he said, sticking out his hand for her to shake.

Avery shook his hand and then pulled out a small bottle of Purell from her lemon-yellow handbag.  

Offended, Jason sat down across from her.  “Do you think I’m that dirty?” he asked accusingly.

She ignored him. “You’re late.”

“What? So I was five minutes late, what’s the big deal?” Jason spluttered.

“It was unprofessional,” Avery answered, her words clipped.

Jason could feel anger rising up in his chest. “You know what? Let’s start over, pretend nothing happened, and just order.”

“If you say so,” said Avery, she picked up her black leather menu, which was so big it covered her whole entire face until Jason could not see her anymore.

“Hello,” said a waiter, who had come over to the table, “may I interest you in any drinks this evening?”

“Would you like a drink, Avery?” Jason asked her.

“I don’t drink,” she said from behind her menu.

Jason ordered his drink and the waiter came back two minutes later with a water for Avery and Jason’s drink.   

“Are we ready to order?” the waiter asked

“Yup,” Jason replied

“Yup is not proper English,” Avery said from behind her menu.

Ignoring her, Jason ordered foie gras and Avery ordered a French onion soup. The waiter took away their menus, revealing Avery’s face again.

“So what do you like to do?” Avery asked him.

Momentarily stunned that Avery was saying something not critical of him, Jason replied, “I like to play basketball, I work at a coffee shop, and I want to be a theater actor.”

“That’s nice,” Avery said politely.

“What about you?” Jason asked her

“Well, I don’t have much free time, since I’ve started my company, but if I do, I like to run and cook,” she said back. 

“So what do have to do with this big company of yours?” Jason asked her.

“I have to finalize bills, keep everyone in line, all final sales go back to me, I have to employ people, officially sign all of the verification bills when we sell a house, if too many things go wrong with house inspections, I have to fix them, and I have to manage all the income the company gets. I have help, of course, but it’s still a lot.”

“Wow, that is a lot.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Here is some bread as a appetizer,” said the waiter carrying bread basket.

Avery and Jason fell back into silence once again.    

Halfway through their eating, Jason asked, “So, how’d you start a company when you’re so young?”

Avery swallowed. “Well, you have to be clever and quick on your feet. You have to know what you’re talking about. You have to be confident and determined and not let anyone tell you not to do what you think is right.”

Jason nodded. “Okay.”

“Hello, here we have the French onion soup and foie gras,” said the waiter setting down the plates in front of their respective person, “can I get anything else for you today?”

“No, I think we’re okay,” Jason said, “right, Avery?”

Avery nodded her head. “Thank you very much, sir.”

Once the waiter left, Avery took out her Purell bottle again and sanitized her hands, once again.

“Would you like some?” Avery asked Jason.

“Sure,” he responded, noticing the excessive amount of purell that was now on his hands. “So are you kinda a germ-a-phobe?”

“Kinda is not a real word, and the real fear is called mysophobia, and yes,” Avery responded, matter of factly.

“Oh, can’t you relax a little bit? Not be so uptight?” Jason said

“No I can’t. If everything’s not perfect, then a whole list of uncharted outcomes will happen and that can not happen, ever,” Avery said, her voice rising.

“Okay, calm down. Sorry I suggested it,” Jason said, putting his hand up in surrender.

Avery just ate her soup.

“So do you have any siblings?” Jason asked her.

“I’m an only child. You?” she asked.

“I have two older brothers,” he responded.

“Are you close to them?”

“Well, we were really close when we were younger, but one lives in Brazil studying exotic plants, and the other one plays pro hockey, so it’s hard to coordinate time to talk to one another on the phone or go to visit. The only time we’re all together is when we go to the beach with my parents for a week in the summer, but for the last five years, one of us has not been able to make it.”

Avery nodded her head. “What do your parents do?”

“My dad’s a college professor, and my mom is a psychologist. How about you?”

“My parents divorced when I was nine, but they’re both in the real estate business. It runs in the family.”

“So what’s your favorite movie?” Jason asked her, hoping to start some conversation.

“Well, I haven’t really watched many movies since I was 16, but then I really liked action films then,” Avery said

“Action movies?! Wow, I would not consider you to be an action movie type of person!” Jason said, beside himself with disbelief.

“Now, now, that was then, now is the present, and now I hate action movies, but remember you should never judge someone by their first impression,” Avery said lightly.  

“Oh, well, I like action movies and comedies, but adventure is cool, too. I like dramas in plays but not movies, romances are boring, horror is awesome, especially that new movie that came out-” Jason started to ramble

“I can tell you very passionate about films in general,” Avery said, politely interrupting him.

“Yup!” Jason said happily.

“How many times do I have to remind you that yup is not a real word, please stop saying it!” Avery groaned, placing her head in her hands.

“Sorry,” Jason said happily, not sorry at all.

The waiter came back to clear their plates. “Can I interest you folks on a dessert this evening?”

“Would you like to split this tarte tatin, with me, Aves? It looks like an apple tart,” Jason asked her.

“I don’t eat added sugar,” Avery said, her voice flat.

“Oh, course you don’t…could you do a slice of the tarte tatin?” Jason asked the waiter

“Of course, sir,” the waiter said and left.

“Never call me that again,” Avery said, her blue eyes dead serious.

“Call you what?” Jason asked, confused.

“Aves.”

“Okay, sorry, it just kind of slipped out,” Jason responded,

“Promise.”

“Promise what?”

“To never ever as long as you live to call me Aves.”

“I promise to never call you Aves again,” Jason said. “Why can’t I call you that?”

“Because one, it’s unprofessional, Aves sounds like a name for a little girl, not a woman. Two, the name on my birth certificate is Avery, so thats my name and no other name. Three, I hate nicknames with every bone in my body.”

“Oh, okay, good reasons,” Jason said.

The tarte tatin arrived, and Jason ate it while Avery was staring at him, arms crossed.

Once Jason was done, he signaled for the check. Once the waiter brought it over, he proceeded to fill it out.

“No, Jason, here is $12 for my soup,” Avery said

“Okay. Thank you,” Jason responded

Avery did not offer up more money, which Jason thought was fair because she did not order anything other than the soup.

After the check was paid, Jason said to her, “I had a great time with you tonight, Avery.”

“Yes, me too,” Avery responded

Both just wanted to be polite.

In many ways, Jason though that this date was a failure, most of the conversation was forced, Avery and him had nothing in common, and most of Jason’s natural instincts–like saying “yup” and nicknaming people–seemed to annoy Avery. In some ways, though, it was a success. They both got see different people with very different life goals and standing in life currently, and it was sort-of fun for both of them.

As they walked out of the French restaurant, Jason held open the door for her.

“Bye, Avery,” Jason said, “maybe some other time.”

“Yes, maybe,” said Avery, although she highly doubted it.

Jason turned and headed west, and Avery turned and headed east. Neither of them looked back.

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