Could It Be…
The man of my dreams or the man of my nightmares?
She was divorced, lonely and bored. Her room painted in dark chocolate led to her despairing mood. A rainy night persisted on, the bellowing of the cats howls to get in out of the rain reminds her of herself; the screaming inside herself longing to get in out of the rain, hoping the door would open to a whole new world full of possibilities; oh the wonder!
She crawls out from the comfort of a good book, the glow of a warm light and the soft warmth of her cozy lap blanket to open the door for the poor drenched kitty in the rain. “Hello little kitty” she says as the door opens and the cat quickly scurries in. “Let’s get you dried off,” as she grabs a towel and begins to dry the kitty with love and sorrow. Thinking to herself, 'If only someone could love me and bring me in from the storm and dry my tears.' Feelings of hopelessness creep in, leading to that pint of Edy's double fudge chocolate ice cream in the freezer. Armed with a spoon and the carton she heads back to her beloved book of romance that sweeps her away into another world.
A new day dawns, a new mercy arises and she begins her trek into the world of work. Her coworkers giggle and laugh at the computer. She asks, “What are you looking at?”
Her friend replies, “This guy’s profile."
“What do you mean profile?” she replies. Her friends begin to tell her of a new way to meet men and quite honestly how lame some of them sound; so corny and desperate for a quick romp in the hay. She joins them in their laughter and ridicule; it brightens her day.
When the evening comes and her day has now turned to the lonely night, she puts her book down and goes to the website. “Just for fun” she said to herself. Hours upon hours she looked and laughed, she pondered and wondered, “Are these guys real?”
It was early in the years of online dating, scamming and catfishing. It was taboo even to tell others of doing such things. You certainly didn’t admit to your mother that your newfound friend was from the internet. This was something you did quietly and discreetly, only to admit to it if you got lucky and found your one true love by the hands of the cosmic gods. Shame was not your friend!
As she continued to scroll though profile after profile, she stops, she stares and she wonders, “Um, this guy seems different.” She has never reached out, never shown an interest; afraid of the rejection she would surely feel. A nice looking guy like this wouldn’t be interested in me, or would he?
She works up the courage, she sends a flirt; a wink. Daring to dream a new dream she moves on. In the kitchen, getting another glass of wine she hears a new sound; a ding. “Could it be? Did he?” Eagerly she pours her wine and heads back to the computer. He did! He winked back, now what, she would have to join if she wanted to send a message. How could she not? He winked back, clearly interested. She fumbles with her purse and pulls out her debit card, she joins, she writes a note and with baited breath sends the message. She exhales, “What’s done is done!” She waits expectantly. Her mind not able to focus on anything else, she wonders, she waits, she wonders “what if”, “did I just pay to be rejected?” Oh the misery of the thought as she slipped into a slumber. She drinks her wine, one glass, two glasses lead into four. She resides back to her book, her warm light and soft blanket with her kitty by her side. She slowly drifts of to sleep.
The next morning, feeling stupid she gets ready for work and goes about her dull boring day. The coworkers giggle, but she does not join in. The pain of rejection, of not being written back makes her believe that he is likely sitting at his computer looking at her profile and giggling too.
She worked tirelessly on her profile; wanting to come out like a shining light, not a rambling desperate fool. “As soon as I get home,” she thought, “I’m deleting my account, I’ll take the loss.”
She opens her laptop and pulls up the page, to her utter surprise and disbelief the message she had thought surely would not come was there. She opens it, she reads it again and again. He talks of himself, his likes and dislikes. No red flags, no mention of the things she had heard others talk about. This guy seems normal, he seems ok. She writes him back, thanking him for his reply. Asking how he was and telling him a little about herself and how she loves the rain.
His reply comes quickly with an apology for the delay in writing the first time. He explains that he is a sports journalist and had to cover a game. He talks about his freelance writing and how he got started. Sparking her interest for her love of writing and her desire to publish, they began a dialog. Over many days they wrote back and forth, the interest sparked and the desire to meet began.
He asked her, “Would you care to meet?”
“Yes,” was her only reply with trembling hands. A date was on the horizon, her dry spell broken; a new day dawning. With forty miles in between them, where should they meet? Somewhere casual and public to be safe is the rule of thumb. She suggests a halfway point, he agrees. He suggests a sandwich shop off the interstate at a busy interchange; 5 PM. She agreed. They set the date.
In the days leading up to their date, she ponders how to look casual and sexy at the same time. She takes the time to drive the twenty miles to the deli at the precise time; checking out the layout. Scoping out the lighting; which way the sun is setting, she looks over the menu and ponders what would be a good item to order to fulfill her hunger yet not ordering or eating too much. First impressions were to be made; her efforts would surely pay off.
Going over her wardrobe, mixing and matching, posing and smiling she anticipates the next night; her long awaited date. She practices with her makeup and her hairdo. She times it all just right as to not be late, but to arrive within minutes to make an entrance that would catch his eye.
She chooses a pair of snug jeans that flatters the curves of her hips, the roundness of her bottom and tapers to her ankles. A sleeveless cashmere blouse with a neckline that exposes her cleavage, but leaves room for the imagination. A soft mauve in color to match her two-inch heels. She adorns herself with gold about her wrist, neck and ears. Her perfume; a scent of desire. With one last glance in the mirror she fluffs her hair and smiles. She is ready to make a great first impression.
She makes her way up the interstate with each mile passing her palms become sweaty. She concentrates on the evening sky, the lovely colors of sunset begin to form, the air crisp and refreshing. She listens to soft music on the radio and allows the feelings of hope to penetrate her heart; she arrives.
She finds her parking spot just to the side of the building, she parks, takes a deep breath and says a little prayer; “oh God, if you are there….” She exits the car, wipes her palms, straightens her clothes and begins to walk toward the entrance. “What will I say, will I look stupid, how handsome will he really be?” all these questions, the anticipation, her heart beats loudly against her chest walls. She can feel the pounding beneath her breast as she steps closer and closer to the door.
She enters the deli and looks for the man in the profile picture that she had been fantasying about as she lay in her bed at night. Assuming she had arrived before him, she asked the attendant for a water as she found a seat. Sipping on her water, she waited for him to arrive. From a voice behind her she heard “Hello,” whipping her upper body around to see him, to see if he was all she had dreamed him to be, horror came across her mind; did he see?
A short fellow with a pitted face and coke bottle glasses stood there. His hair a mess; his wrinkled clothes, his eyes bulging from behind the glass; he smiles and greets her with a kiss upon her cheek. She holds back the tears of fright, she tells herself this can’t be, this is a joke, this is not the picture of the man she saw. 'Pull it together,' she thinks to herself. Oblivious to her dismay, he sits. She thinks quickly to herself 'It's ok, it’s only a meeting you don’t have to kiss him, you don’t have to stay long. Be kind, eat your dinner and politely excuse yourself.' She pulls her thoughts together.
He begins talking and they have conversation, never mentioning that he certainly does not look like his profile picture. He is a nice guy, he’s articulate in his speech, but the package she could not overcome, she could not get passed.
Being a deli, no menu was brought to the table. She waited for his lead, but nothing was coming. She had indulged his conversations about sports; all about sports until she could take no more. She politely asked, “Should we get something to eat?”
“Oh, sure, would you like a cookie?” he asked. A cookie? She thought, it’s dinner time; I’m starved, no, I don’t want a damn cookie!
“Yes, that would be lovely,” she replied. He went to get her a cookie and refilled her water. He came back and began speaking about his latest writing on the local high school basketball team he had just covered. Trying to change the subject, she mentioned he did not have a cookie.
“I thought we would share,” was his reply.
She looked at him with a forced smile and remembered the words of her mother, “Only creepy men are found on the internet.” She ate her half of the cookie in silence as he spoke of his love for sports. When she was done, she politely arose from her chair and excused herself to the restroom. While there, she thought of what excuse she would use to keep walking and leave him there. She thought of none; she was not a good liar.
She exited the restroom with her bravery on, walked up to the table and said, “I’m so sorry, but I need to go home I’m feeling sick to my stomach.” Without letting him reply she left, got in her car and drove the twenty miles back home. She got on her computer and deleted her account; agreeing with her mother, “Only creepy guys are found on the internet.” Then, with a deep sigh, she made herself a sandwich and opened the door to let her cat come in.
Thus being this writer's worst date ever.