They say that a lady walking in stiletto heels means business, for the clicking sound exudes her power and confidence; however, when you drag your feet as I do, the clicking is more like a screeching, ominous sound. It’s not power nor confidence--it’s just misery and exhaustion.
Thankfully, I am alone in the hallway.
My phone keeps vibrating in my purse, and I let it ring. I stop walking as I reach the front door of our condominium unit. I drop my gaze to the floor; my long, brown hair falls from my right shoulder, covering half of my face. I silently scrutinize my reflection on the glass tile, fingers on the doorknob. I take a few deep breaths and pretend to smile at my reflection, only to notice that I am close to tears.
I remember how I was around three hours ago. It is way different from the girl I am looking at right now. I look sad. My eyelids feel extremely heavy and lifting my limbs is challenging. All I want to do is to sleep. To forget.
Well, I guess I am sad.
The outcome of today’s events isn’t new to me. Nevertheless, this thing happening over and over again will never give me immunity. Truthfully, the feeling of worthlessness I go through gets worse every time. Why did I expect this date to be different anyway? What was inside this stupid head of mine?
Fine. To explain the context: I just got rejected. Again. What aggravates me is that this time, I did everything I could to be attractive. I bought a new pair of red pumps and an expensive, black dress. I painted my nails burgundy and even used a hair straightener to style my wavy hair. Heck, I even stalked the guy on social media so that I’d know exactly which topics to bring up before I see him.
No, he didn’t explicitly tell me he didn’t like me, but he also didn’t have to. The mere fact that he ended the date abruptly was enough. There will be no second date.
I grunt as the events of the night unfurl in my memories.
“Sam, I’m really sorry. This is embarrassing, but I forgot that I have to finish some research,” Mark told me without looking me in the eye. He fiddled with his sleeves and added, “I have to go.”
“Oh, um, I see. It’s okay. I also have to work on some projects anyway,” I lied, glancing at my watch. My insides had tangled into knots.
Two hours. It only took two hours.
He asked for the bill. I offered to pay for my share, which he politely refused, then we walked out of the restaurant.
“Do you need a ride?” I offered, a last attempt to prolong the date. Pathetic, I know.
He looked down, toyed with his sleeves again, shoulders rigid. “No, I’ll take the cab.”
“Are you sure? Where are you going? I can probably drop you off.”
He shook his head quietly. “I’m good.”
He waved his hand, and a taxi parked in front of us. My shoulders fell.
“Yeah, sure. Bye. Thanks.”
And then Mark left. That was it. The end.
He was my type. He worked as a journalist. He was funny and smart and he wore eyeglasses that made him look older despite his youthful features. But who cares what I thought? He blew me off after dinner. My preparation took longer than the date itself.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
I growl as I open the door and then cross the threshold of our condominium unit number 1604. ‘Our’ because I share the two-bedroom unit with my older brother, Patrick. I turn the lights on, revealing the interior of our place designed by yours truly.
The kitchen walls are painted marble gray, with wood countertops and three bar stools separating the kitchen from the dining area. Black and white curtains hang on top of the windows, and a wine rack filled with bottles of red wine and champagne was placed at the corner. The sink sits on top of the wooden cupboards for utensils and dry goods, while a condiments rack hangs next to the mounted pot rack.
The dining room, on the other hand, is painted ivory white. In the middle is a wooden dining set for four people. A white ceramic vase with sunflowers is at the center of the table. I replace the flowers every week because I insist on keeping fresh flowers. Next, the utility room where we do laundry is just behind the kitchen.
From the dining area, it will take at least seven steps to reach the living room. We have a silvery, sectional sofa, beige throw pillows, and a 48" flat-screen TV. The living room walls are ivory white as well, and a gray carpet covers the entire floor. We have another wooden, square center table with a vase on top. Again, I put fresh sunflowers. Patrick’s DVD collection is near the TV, while another wooden bookshelf is next to the enormous glass windows. Brown curtains hanging from the ceiling down to the floor block the sunlight during the day.
Our bedrooms are across each other, while the only bathroom is between our bedroom. A family picture from 16 years ago (Mom, Dad, Patrick, and I) hangs next to the bathroom door.
Heaving another sigh out of frustration, I sit on the couch and stare at the space in defeat. Patrick’s not here, and thank God he isn’t. Who knows what he’ll say to get on my nerves again.
He is two years older than me, and yes, we are close, but his constant desire to mock me for my failed dates surpasses the sisterly love he has for me.
I kick my shoes off my feet, and they hit the center table, making another click sound. My phone finally stops ringing. I turn the television on and then switch channels relentlessly. The sound it emits is vibrant to my ears; my mind, however, is flying elsewhere.
“Where did I go wrong?” I whisper to myself in angst.
I feel so small and stupid and hopeless. I have no idea why my blind dates always end up leaving after dinner. The moment they request the bill without asking for my phone number, I realize that it’s over. No second date.
My phone rings. Again. I fumble through my purse and sees that it is Cathy—my matchmaker and one of my very few friends. She won’t stop calling. I wince. She’ll definitely chew me out again then I’ll go on explaining that I don’t know what I did wrong because honestly, I really don’t. As I’ve said, I have no idea!
The moment the phone lands on my ear, Cathy is already yelling, “What the hell happened again, Sam?”