Short Stories

Gaining Ground

Love in the Aisles

Gaining Ground: Single Parent finding love Anthology

Finding real love is hard. Finding it when you’re a single parent is more difficult. Trusting your heart is terrifying when it’s not just your heart you have to protect. These six single parents find themselves Gaining Ground with the courage it takes to open their lives to love.


Daphne met Teddy’s gaze, and he nodded. She reached for the red colored candy. Leonor pointed to the green colored item beyond Daphne.


“The sour apple ropes? You have sophisticated tastes, Leonor.”

Teddy’s face widened into a grin, and the gleam told her he was in good spirits.

“That’s my girl. Found any good cantaloupes lately? You might need to work on that. The last one you picked out for us never ripened.”

Daphne gestured to the produce aisle on the opposite end, matching his smile with one of her own. His lighthearted tone assured her he was kidding. “The art of correct thumping is deep and mysterious. Mastery is slow and must be learned over time. Too bad there’s not a school for melons.”

“Maybe there should be.”

“I like licorice better.” Leonor still held the treat in her hand. “Maybe some of the red kind too? Please?”

Teddy shook his head, his focus still on Daphne.

“Nope. Too much sugar. One, and that is it.”

She’d been able to ascertain through their five-to-ten-minute conversations over these months that he’d been a widower for over twelve months after losing his wife to cancer. Leonor’s mother went fast, from the initial diagnosis to her passing in the hospital. Her tragic death lurked over their talks like an invisible third party. Over time, they turned to more mundane things, including the information that both were single. He had not dated anyone since he lost Ana and she had come out of a relationship eight months ago.

“Aw dad.”

“No.” Teddy’s voice was firm, but kind. “You can trade the green for red, but no more than one package. You have plenty of energy without adding too much processed sugar to the mix.”

She liked that he set boundaries without being mean about it. Everything in this man screamed what a decent human being he was.

Daphne tried to determine if her question would be welcome. A year was the length of traditional mourning, but it might not be long enough. She could be overstepping.

If she was, she’d alter her grocery routine, and leave Teddy and his daughter to the early morning forays. No harm, no foul. Half the time she came when she did because of him. She wouldn’t admit to anyone but herself that she planned these outings sometimes, whether or not they fit into her schedule.

Leonor nodded in a fashion that would have been appropriate on an adult.

“Daddy doesn’t like the sour kinds, but I do. They make my mouth tingle.”