‘Snap’ is the only sound that fills the air as she bites down hard on her pen. The bitter taste of ink fills her mouth and coats her taste buds. She fails to react, to the words of her sister. They bounce around like Tigger on LSD creating a muddled and disorganized chaos as she attempts to piece the words together correctly.
“I’ve set you up a profile and you’ve got messages and hearts already.” The words slowly fit together forming a sentence she never imagined anyone would attempt to use in reference to her. “W-what?” She questions. Her sister thrusts a tablet computer into her lap, the bright backlight forces her gaze downwards. Her name typed clearly for all to see. There it was Nikki Cole, age: twenty-two, looking for: love and romance, occupation: teaching resource creator and tester, also a struggling writer that fills time by volunteering with a charity working with young children with disabilities. Next to her name is the dreaded profile picture. Her light green emerald eyes are framed by her trusted geek-chic glasses, perched perfectly in the centre of her nose, a slight smile pulls at the corner of her lips ever so gently forming her predictable lopsided almost smile, this smile though isn’t evident in her eyes, her poker straight mousey brown hair falls elegantly around her face. Like a wanted poster from the eighteen hundreds, there was, her face and imperfections posted online for all to see.
Nikki blinks thinking, hoping maybe even praying that when she opened her eyes it would disappear. It didn’t of course, it was there for anyone to view, judge, and form opinion and dare she dream find interest in? She erased the last thought from her imagination finding it incomprehensible. She takes a deep breath, so deep in fact that her lungs began burning. She exhales as fast as she can to relieve the suffocating sensation that has surrounded her.
Nikki knew what was going to happen, she would delete the profile without even a second thought for the possibility of something life changing coming from, an unknown almost alien environment known as online dating.
“So?” Sophie her younger sister questions, excitedly waving her hands around frantically gesturing to the tablet. Nikki takes the computer in trembling hands. Then stares blankly at the screen before placing it gently onto the coffee table. She stands and calmly and walks into the kitchen, “I can’t” she whispers knowing Sophie has followed. “I know this is scary Nik’ but it’s been more than a year and I’m tired of seeing you so... down and not yourself.” Sophie says reassuringly then adds, “You never know the guy you find he could be cute, he could make you smile and no one is saying that you have to marry him. Just have a little fun and live not just exist.” Within moments of Sophie’s’ last words she disappears.
“This isn’t possible” Nikki sighs gripping to the kitchen counter so tight her knuckles begin to turn white. “Tea that’ll fix this, tea fixes everything,” she mumbles as she absent-mindedly fumbles around the kitchen. Once her tea is made she finds her way back to the living room, Nikki’s eyes are drawn to the tablet on the table.
With clammy and shaking hands she reaches out, holds it and places it back in her lap, it feels alien, unnatural and unbelievably heavy. “Maybe Sophie is on to something there isn’t anything I can lose, can I?” Nikki asks herself the rhetorical question.
Her finger presses the button powering the tablet on, “here goes nothing,” Nikki croaks.
Three hours later, yep that’s right a whole three hours passes by and Nikki has yet to reply to the messages that are quietly calling her name. The voice in her head begins to get louder as she paces contemplating the consequences of a simple “Hi” reply.