“Dating now is a lot like going shopping when you don’t have any money. Even if you find the right thing, you can’t do anything about it.” - Joshua Harris
I feel a hot breath on my neck. I don’t lean in, I don’t want to make it easy or seem too keen. He brushes my hair back from my shoulder and moves in so close that I can feel his lean, toned body pressed up against mine. I feel his warmth and already my mind has placed our lips together, but instead, he leans in to caress my neck, slow and gentle. He’s making me wait and I can hardly keep it together. I want his lips now, I want his kisses. He cups my face in his hands and gives me what he knows I want, my lips are burning with desire as ours make contact. His hand runs through my hair, as the kisses become harder and more urgent. Another hand slides around my waist and pulls me into his pine-scented body. His kisses are now on my shoulders and in my hair. My heart beats fast but there is a buzzing sound in my ears. Why? How? That’s when it hits me, it’s the damn alarm clock. Waking up can be really harsh, especially if your dreams are better than reality. Slowly and reluctantly, I uncover my face. I blink, close my eyes, open them and blink again. Streaks of sunlight, enough to blind a person, penetrate through the window. I sit up, drag my feet off the bed, and rub my knuckles into my eyes. I stretch my arms above my head and yawn. I watch my legs dangle above the off-white polyester carpet. What a dream! One worthy of a cold shower.
At the sweet age of twenty-five, one would think I’d be settled by now. That is at least according to my mother. I get invited to a lot, and by a lot, I mean at least two, book club meetings a month where I am introduced to another one of her friends who just happens to have a single son or a nephew or someone who knows someone who has a son. It never pans out. They are either not my type or they are not my type. Guys, who are in the same position as me, still sitting on the shelf, waiting for their mothers to play matchmaker and to be auctioned off to the first bidder. I know my mom means well, but I wish she would stop. I even tried online dating for a while, but like everything else in my life, that was also a huge failure. Maybe if I had tried harder and put some effort into it, it might actually have worked, but it just seems like so much work. I’ve heard of so many great success stories, on the other hand, I’ve also heard of some very weird incidents as well. Either way, I need to get my ass to work and stop daydreaming about all the ‘what ifs’.
I see the man of my dreams, literally, as he enters through the doors of the office building. I secretly hope he looks this way, but then again, what would I do? I have no idea how to flirt, I never have. I’m as awkward as a cow on ice. I could always stare at him long enough, he might decide to marry me. No, scrap that idea. Stalking is not my thing. Well, it is, but it isn’t. I’m the harmless type. I will look at pictures on social media, stuff like that. I’m not the “I-have-a-secret-hidden-wall-with-pictures-of-you-on-there” type. I blow out my breath, the one I didn’t realise I was holding before I almost pass out from oxygen deprivation, and I turn to face the front again. I’m in the queue waiting for my coffee when Amy starts gushing over him next to me. Amy. She was first in line when looks were handed out. She has the whole package, boobs, legs for days, lips, hair, you name it, she has it.
“Jade, that man is something out of this world-”, she doesn’t even look at me as she speaks, no she is devouring him with her eyes, “I mean have you looked at him? He is a walking god and one I intend to marry. I have to have him.” Before I can respond I just hear, “Watch this.” She takes off in his direction. He recently started working at our firm and let’s just say he has been very popular among the ladies. They all drool and gossip over him. He has become the hot topic of the week, whether it is in the bathroom stalls, at their desks or waiting in line for coffee. You hear the gasps and giggles everywhere he goes. One would swear he is a celebrity. Okay fine, I have to admit he is hot, I mean why else would I be having steamy dreams about him? I too have had the crazy idea in my head of ‘what if’, but guess that is out the door now. I would not stand a chance against Amy. Men usually have the same reaction to her as the ladies have to Aiden. They would be a power couple and make the most beautiful babies, though I can’t picture Amy as the motherly type.
Amy bumps into Aiden on purpose, although he is totally unaware of this. He prevents her from falling as if she would have ever gone that far. He steadies her before giving her that dashing smile, the main reason why all the ladies fall over their feet. I laugh at the situation playing out before me. I would never make a fool of myself like that for a man, not even for Aiden. I believe in the man being the hunter. You should not be running after them, creating scenarios that would force them to interact with you, but that is just me. I like old school. Wining and dining, the whole caboodle. I have to give it to Amy, she knows how to play them to get what she wants.
Amy tucks her hair behind her ear and gives him the shyest of smiles, putting on her best performance. Gosh, it is like watching a movie. She is good. She holds out her hand as she introduces herself and he takes it swiftly. He returns his hands back in his pockets, nodding while she chats away. I wonder what she is talking about. He looks down at his watch and quickly excuses himself. Amy stares after him, disappointment written all over her face. She quickly composes herself and hastily makes her way back to me, who is still waiting in line for coffee. “Did you see that? Oh my gosh, Jade, he is even sexier up close. The things I will do to that man! His eyes and lips, I can only imagine. Kissing him must be totally out of this world.” I listen to her rambling on about him. “His name is Aiden and he works in the Accounts Department. Such a pity that he had to leave, I needed more time to set up a date.” I don’t mention that I already know who Aiden is, he was introduced to our department a week ago. She had taken a sick day that day, although it was more like a recovery day after a night out. I could already see then, that he was going to be popular around here. I didn’t meet him in person, it was a general introduction to the department. So he is totally unaware of my existence, not that it matters anymore.
“You don’t play around, do you? What if he has a girlfriend? Maybe you should find out about that first. You don’t want to be disappointed or embarrassed. Guys like that usually have a significant other.”
Amy shrugs, “Well then he can just break up with her because nothing is stopping me from having him. He is my soulmate.”
I laugh at her nonchalant attitude, “You literally met him five minutes ago. Wow! That escalated quickly. Soulmate huh? Guys don’t just leave their girlfriends Amy. Relationships actually mean something to some people.”
She is busy with her phone again, and probably didn’t even hear a word of what I just said. I sometimes look at her and wonder how we ever became friends. I am nothing like her. I am quiet and withdrawn, she is the life of the party and as extrovert as they come. Don’t get me wrong, I love her like a sister and she has a good heart, she just doesn’t always think before doing things. Impulsive is the word that comes to mind. But, our friendship works and we have come a long way. She has been there for me through extremely dark and lonely times.
I move forward to place my order, thankful that I can finally get my brain to function and at the same time get those sultry cobwebs from my mind. That dream affected me more than I care to admit. Good thing I didn’t mention anything to Amy about it as that would have been awkward. She clearly likes this guy and I would never let any man come between us. I walk towards the elevators with my cup of coffee in hand and wait for the next ride up. Amy is still rambling on about Aiden when the doors open and we step inside. This day is going to be long if she is this excited so early in the morning. Luckily for me we reach our desks and I sit down in relief, knowing that this is going to buy me at least three hours of peace and quiet before tea time. How can one person have such bad luck? You finally see a guy, who sparks your interest, and I am sure a ton of other women as well, then your best friend ends up liking him too. I mean, I probably should have expected something like this to happen anyway, especially looking the way he does, but then again, it is not like every guy walking past me grabs my attention. This doesn’t happen very often. Amy can pick and choose them, but no, it had to be Aiden. I would laugh if he is dating someone already, then we would both end up on the shelf, wishing for something we could never have.
My cellphone buzzes on my desk. The day loses its colour when I see the words, “Mom” flashing when I flip it around to see who’s calling.
This can only mean one of two things, my mother needs something or she’s done something. She never calls me during work hours,
“Hey, mom. Everything okay?” I wait for her response, which always feels cautioned like she is thinking about how to drop the bomb on me.
“Hey, honey. Everything is fine. How are you doing?”
I tap my pen nervously against my leg, this doesn’t feel good.
“I’m good thanks. What’s wrong?” I try and hold back the edginess in my voice,
“Nothing’s wrong honey. Can’t I call my only daughter to hear how she’s doing?”
Urgh, I hate it when she does this. I keep quiet and count to ten.
“Anyway, do you remember Glenda? She is one of the ladies in my book club. Her son is down for the week and it got me thinking how great it would be for you to show him around. You know, you youngsters always know the best spots.”
I am fuming inside, “Mom, please tell me you didn’t?”
“Oh, honey. He is only here for a week. Please do me this favor. I already said yes. It’s not like you have anything better to do.”
I grind my teeth, to bite back the anger that is pushing up inside me, “Well, for once I would like a say in the matter.” I take a deep breath, “This is the last time, you have got to stop doing this.” I lower my voice as I get stares from my colleagues in the office. Great, just great.
“Of course honey. I won’t do it again. I’m sorry. I didn’t realise you feel this strongly about it. I was only trying to help.”
And there she goes again, playing the victim. “Okay, mom. Text me the details, but swear to me, never again. Next time you can explain your way out of it.”
“Thank you sweetie. I will send it right away. Bye now. Love you.”
I end the call, without saying goodbye, I’m too upset to be polite. Man, she frustrates me. I throw the phone with a bit too much force away from me which causes Amy to peek over the divider, “Your mom set you up with a guy again?”
I sigh, “You guessed it!”
“Are you going?”
I hang my head in my hands, “Do I have a choice? She practically decided for me.” I look at my phone again when it pings, “Oh apparently we are eating at O’Malley’s and then I have to show him around town.”
Amy shakes her head in pity, “We need to find you a guy, so your mother can back off.”
“Yeah, we do.” I utter the last part almost defeatedly as I know that the one I do want is out of my reach.
“Do you need help with an outfit? I have a few that I haven’t worn, you are welcome to try them on.”
I give a cynical laugh, “Why bother? It is not like I want to impress him or anything like that, but thanks for the offer.”
“All good. Let me know if you change your mind, I’ll gladly help you out.”
“Thanks, but I doubt that will happen.”
Opening my drawer to find something to chew on. I have a stash of chewy sweets, it helps to keep my mouth busy and not say too much when I’m upset, and upset is an understatement - I am furious at my mother. To think, just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse, she surprised me and showed me how wrong I can be.
Holding the packet of sweets over the divider to Amy to take a few, without saying anything, “Ooh, these are my favorites. I love the liquid centre. Thanks.” After a moment of silence she added, “I’m sorry you have to do this hun. Do you want me to call you halfway through the date and drag you away with an ‘emergency’?”
“Nah, I will push through. How bad can it be? I might be pleasantly surprised and actually enjoy it. Positive thoughts.” That’s what keeps me from losing my shit at the moment.
At exactly five, I pack up my stuff and head for the door. I would have loved to just spend some time in my own company after a long day, but I guess it is what it is. As long as I’m single, my mother would keep trying to pair me.