"Uh, yeah, hi. I'm Layla DeCosta." while I waited for an answer my free hand was nervously kneading the sleeve of my sweatshirt, but the silence dragged on.
"Your MB match." I added after a while, confused if he was still there.
"Oh." was the only comment I received, and it did not sound excited, more like disappointed.
"Yeah." the silence was awkward, and I was desperately searching for things to say, but before I found something - anything -, the man on the other side of the phone began to speak again.
"So, if this was all you wanted to say, we're done. I do not need a match, nor do I want one in fact. Goodbye."
The line clicked and he was gone.
In complete confusion and disbelief I stared down at my phone, suddenly getting the strong urge to laugh hysterically. Of course I'd get someone like this! Ugh.
Our dinner table was oddly silent, only the clinking of our dishes was to hear, and I had notice everyone staring at me for quite a while now.
When I say everyone, I mean my mother, my father and my two younger siblings, Ella and Justin.
With a sight I layed down my cutlery, looking at them, one by one.
"What and how much did you hear?" I asked resignated of how thin the walls and doors in our house seemed to be.
"Oh honey, we're so sorry. We're just…wondering, you know? The time you were speaking with each other was oddly short." she also layed down her cutlery, but under the thin layer of pity in her eyes I saw raging curiosity.
"It's fine mom." I heard myself say, wanting her not to worry and at the same time not to be this curious of my affairs.
"Did you set up a meeting with him?" she asked, making me roll my eyes.
"No, in fact, he does not want to be my match. Or anyone's match, at that. And that's fine, you know, I don't want him as my match either." I did not need to look up to guess my mom's impression: shocked, then slightly angered. She was a big believer in MatchBoxx since she had been matched with my father.
They were indeed a perfect match, completing each other in all sorts of things. They had been living the perfect example of a family, married at twentytwo after only two months of dating, and then, only three years later, having me as their first baby, of course only after establishing secure jobs and their own house.
The twins, Ella and Justin, had been born almost twelve years after me, and here we were, six years later, and my parents had celebrated their 20th year of marriage just a year ago.
"Layla, dear, is this true? But what are you going to do?" she was really concerned, I could tell, but that enraged me.
"Oh I don't know, I'll study something good, buy my own house and live with my twenty cats until the end of my days, probably. Seems like a perfect life." I spat out these last words, grabbing my plate and stomping to the kitchen, trying not to feel guilty for snapping at my mom.
After I had done my homework and everything else I needed to do, I chose to just relax in bed until I needed to turn off the lights and go to sleep, but a light knock on my door disturbed my lonely pouting.
"Come in." I said with a sight and sat up in bed, to look my mother in the eyes properly.
She sat down at the side of my bed, silently tracing the pattern of my blanket with her fingers.
"I'm sorry for snapping earlier." I broke the silence. "I guess I'm just more affected by his rejection than I wanted to be, and I took it out on you. Sorry."
My mother looked up, her eyes a bit glossy with tears.
"I'm also sorry honey, I shouldn't have pried. I was just so…excited to think that you could also get the love story that made me happier than anything in my life. I overstepped." she took a breath and smiled at me, and I smiled back, but she was nout finished yet.
"May I give you a motherly piece of advise?" she asked, and after a few seconds of thinking I nodded.
"Don't give up on him just yet, even tho right now neither of you want that match. MB's system works, that is even scientifically proven, and it didn't just throw you two together by chance." she smile again, this time it was a bigger smile and I nodded again, unsure of how to reply.
"I'll think about your words, mom. Thank you." I finally said, and we hugged each other.
I was indeed thinking about her words. In class, at home, I was spacing out wherever I went, thinking about my mother's words. Don't give up on him, she said, and everytime I thought about that, there was a little voice in my head, contradicting and telling me that it was him who had given me up, and that we had no chance of fighting for him, even if we wanted to.
Then one day in math class, it dawned on me.
I should fight. If not for him, then for me. Especially for me. I was not going to let his rejection get to my self esteem, because I had spent years building it to the way it was now, or better said before his rejection.
I was not going to let this man belittle me, but instead I'd prove a point, making my own decision about him, without letting him tell me just what to do and what not to do.
And here I was, one week later, again with my phone in my hand, intensely staring at his number on my screen.
I had thought about this all weekend, not only about if I should really call him, but also about what to say, and today I had finally decided.
I took a deep breath and pressed the green button, getting the phone close to my ears and waiting for him to pick up.