Match Made

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THREE

In my twenty-five years of my life, I really haven’t managed to amass very many things. I pull the new, flattened boxes into my apartment and fold them into a box shape, securing what will be the bottom with two lines of tape.

When I am finished, I realize I have blocked myself in the living room with a wall of empty boxes. Fortunately, boxes are not heavy, so I grab an empty box in each hand and bulldoze my way through the rest of the pile.

I make myself dance along to the music as I pack my clothes, books and jewellery into the boxes. It’s probably a good thing I keep my apartment so clean, or this might be a monumental task.

I’m midway through packing the bookshelf when I reach my classic literature. Part of me still loves the well-worn copies of my stories about marriage and love and social constraints. But another, maybe larger, part of me can’t stand those concepts right now.

I stuff the books into the bottom of a box where I don’t have to look at them anymore. Maybe one day I’ll love you again.

When I finally finish packing my books into four very heavy boxes, I decide I should probably fill Melody in on what is happening, even though she is on her honeymoon. I don’t want her coming home and finding some old scary man living in my apartment.

I turn down the music and pull myself up to my bed before I dial Melody’s number. It rings so many times that my anxious self cannot sit still, so I get up to pack more.

I’m in the middle of wrapping up my wall of family photos when she answers my call, her voice thick with sleepiness, “Hey, Aubrey? What’s up?”

I do the math in my head, “Oh, my gosh! I’m sorry! I forgot what time it was there. Is it all right if we talk?”

“Yeah,” she whispers as I hear her moving and closing a door, “I’m in the living room now so we won’t disturb Paul. He sleeps like a rock. Did you know that?”

I laugh a little. Despite my predicament, Melody is still as funny as always. “No, I’ve never slept with your husband, Mel.”

She gasps before realizing what she just asked me, “Oh. Yeah.”

We both laugh lightly before a silence fills the line.

“You still there?” I ask, hoping she is not asleep.

“Yeah. Sorry, I’m just tired.”

“Yeah,” I fiddle with the frames as I pack them into the box as well as I can. “Sorry I woke you,”

I guess I should probably just tell her what’s going on.

“What’s up, Aubrey? You’ve said you’re sorry to wake me like three times but you still aren’t hanging up, which leads me to believe whatever this is, it’s important to you. Spit it out.”

She is more forceful than I was expecting, but I don’t have time to figure out if she is irritated or not. I have to speak now, or I might lose my resolve.

My first attempt to answer her comes out barely above a whisper, “I got a match this morning.”

“What?”

“I got a match this morning,” this time I say it loud enough for her to hear.

“What?” this time her response is likely loud enough to wake the entire city. “Didn’t your parents feel like giving you a day or two of freedom first? Did they wake up early to get the match in on time? What gives?”

I tape the box full of photographs and knick knacks closed before responding, “I don’t know. Probably.”

Melody is probably about to launch into an hour long rant about how unfair this is. But that is the last thing I want right now, so I cut her off before she can speak.

“I know this is nuts and I’m still processing it. I just wanted you to know, so you don’t come back to find me missing.”

“Why would I find you missing?” her voice is now fully attentive on the other end of the line.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you the best part,” I decide to make myself some tea before I tackle packing the kitchen, “I’m getting married.”

Before I can tell her the rest, she interrupts me, “I know that, silly. That’s what a match is for.” She puts a lot of emphasis on the ‘for’ like I can’t hear her or something.

“Will you let me finish, please?” I put the kettle on and wait for it to boil. “What I mean is, I’m getting married. Tomorrow. I think.”

My big revelation is greeted with silence. Did our call get dropped?

“Mel? You there?”

“Mmhmm,” she is acting like I did when I first found out. That makes me feel a little better. At least I’m not the only one who thinks this is absolutely crazy.

“Well, I don’t really know much. Only that I’m moving tomorrow at 9 am. Apparently we are moving into a house. I can only assume our parents arranged that, too.”

I am thankful to have the tea to focus on because Melody is only providing silence on the other side of the line.

“Mel?” I ask after almost five minutes have elapsed, “Say something?”

“Well, what are you going to do?” My best friend knows me well.

“Try to find a way out of it, obviously.” I laugh and she joins me, but both our laughs are hollow. “I’m packing everything right now because it seems I only have twenty or so hours to pack my whole apartment. Apparently, I’m going to meet my new husband looking like a haggard wench, because I have to spend all my time packing. I guess, if I’m lucky, he’ll just run for the hills at the very sight of me.”

Melody laughed for real this time, “Or the smell of you!”

The phone call returns to silence as I drink my tea and try to hold myself together.

Finally, Melody speaks again, “Aubrey, I don’t even know what to say. I’ll come see you as soon as I get home, okay? I’m so sorry this happened to you. I can’t believe it happened so fast. I wanted to be there to help you pack and throw you a wedding and a shower and . . .” she trails off. I can’t see her, but I’m almost certain she is shrugging in exasperation.

“Yeah, I know,” I shrug too. “I’m just going to keep believing there will be a way out of this. There has to be. So for now, I’m just going to pack my things and go through the motions and keep up appearances. What else can I do?”

“I’d tell you if I knew.”

“I know.”

We fill our call with another minute of silence.

“Well, I’m going to let you go to sleep now,” I finally say, “Thanks for letting me talk. I’ll call you tomorrow okay?”

“You’re welcome. Call whenever you need me.”

Just before she hangs up the phone she adds, “Be safe.”

Great! Another thing to worry about.

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