Flowers were nice but loving words stayed longer. Chocolate was delicious but the effects were hard to work off. She longed for kindness and affection that nobody could put a price tag on. Her dreams weren’t about his gifts. Sometimes she wondered if they defined love too differently. Looking like George Clooney was a quality she couldn’t ignore though.
Her friends told her to play hard to get. “Men don’t like women who pursue them,” they explained. She was confused. “So I’m supposed to hide my feelings?” Her friends laughed. They told her that nobody liked desperate women. So she sighed. Then she decided to change the topic to shoes and bags – that wouldn’t require hiding emotions she hoped.
He touched her face as if he’d never see it again. She felt his love through the warm palm and fingers. They called out his flight number, prompting him to end the moment. They held each other close for a long minute, promising to stay committed forever. As she was leaving the airport in a cab, she got a phone call that dried her eyes; his flight had been cancelled.
It had been years. A part of her heart stood untouched. She’d known heartbreak. Each time they came close to her, she found herself comparing them to him. Just when she had written off romance forever, the perfect guy showed up. He even shared her love for cheesecake.
She usually took 15 minutes to get ready. That night, she spent 35. It was her first date in years. She wondered what he’d think of her outfit. Was it too simple? She hoped that he would prefer the minimal make up look. Would he? When she stepped into the restaurant, he was staring nervously at the door and running his fingers through his hair. She felt better knowing that she wasn’t the only one who was nervous. In fact, it all felt like high school again.
It wasn’t as if she had expected any loving words. It wasn’t that she hadn’t known that he’d treat her like garbage. She knew it all. Still, she let him into her life, time and time again. When he said he loved her, she pretended to believe him. If he didn’t treat her like a priority, she played the fool and made excuses on his behalf. Thankfully, one fine day it struck her. No wise person spends half her life on a person who cannot define ‘respect’. And she was intelligent in every other way.
She ran her fingers through her hair. The long, artistic fingers played a tune against the strands. He was twenty minutes late and she was nervous. She hadn’t been on a date in years. “Just be yourself,” her friends had advised. “You’re beautiful,” her mother had said. But she felt like something was wrong with her. “Who dates at 40?” The question taunted her. Her thoughts were interrupted by a fifty-year-old gorgeous man who had specks of grey in his hair. His smile told her that her mother had been right.