I woke up the sound of beeping. Immediately I felt cold and drew the stiff, white blanket a little tighter around my body. It was dark in the room and I blinked several times to allow my vision to adjust. As the soft shapes in front of me clarified into objects the woman I had spent the last 50 years of my life with began to materialize. Once a young girl with a wide smile and radiant eyes she now lay tangled in a mess of wires and tubes moving dark liquids in and out of her. A bucket next to her suddenly gurgled and green goo filled a container. My eyes moved to her face and took in her expression. There was none. But her eyes were open, fixed and unwavering onto the ceiling that lay above her. I stared for a few more minutes and then closed my eyes, willing the darkness outside of me to somehow find its way in.
“How was work?” The sound of overpriced cutlery clanging against ceramic plates cut through the air. “Good.” I replied, through chewed steak. I grabbed the cold glass in front of me and took a long gulp. I carefully put it down and stared at my food.
Fatima’s best friend had raved about the new Korean barbeque place every time we had seen her the past month. She and her husband had already gone three times. After we both came home late today we decided to finally try it out. The truth was anything would have been good if it meant not having to cook with Fatima. That usually meant I would busy myself with the more difficult tasks of seasoning the meat and adding spices. She would make easy side dishes, spending incessantly long times measuring ingredients that didn’t really need to be measured or asking me to explain instructions that couldn’t be broken down any further.
“How about you, how was work?” She had been poking at her broccoli for fifteen minutes now and her sullen expression was souring an already tired mood. After looking at me for a moment she squeezed a smile that looked like it took more energy than it should have.
“It was good too” she replied, her voice trailing off at the end. I nodded once and began searching for a good piece of meat to stab with my fork. Finally finding one hiding beneath a piece of lettuce I promptly stuck it in my mouth and began to chew.
I took in some air through my nose and exhaled slowly. Somewhere between dreaming and the world I had left behind I lay sleeping. The air was warm and smelt like flowers. It was like floating in my summer lake-house, the water warm from the sun shining all day. In the distance the songs of birds singing their last tune of the evening touched my ears. I woke up gently and my vision filled with shining black hair. I felt my hands in hers and I where her warmth ended and mine began I could not tell. In our small apartment in the city, underneath the stars we were completely one. I breathed deeply with her as she lay beautifully. The ends of my lips curled upwards into a smile. I gripped her closer towards me and let her fill my senses. Finally, I had found peace in this world.
I took a sip out of the cold beer in my hand and slammed it back down on the wooden table. The girl across from me that I had met on an online dating app a few hours ago began to laugh. After looking at her sheepishly I started too. I couldn’t believe this was going so well. For the longest time I was under the impression that finding people to date on the internet or through my Iphone was for those who were too lazy or too busy to do it own their own. My friends had already hooked up with several cute girls and I had been watching from the sidelines too long, going to bed alone on nights when I wished I had someone to talk with too. “So tell me about what you do.” I smiled wide. “Do you really want me to bore you with the details?” I challenged back with a cheesy grin.
“Yes, I could listen all night” she winked back. Something about the way she said it made me believe her.
I launched the football towards the tall, athletic guy with the long hair standing across the field. It was a November day and we were warming up for the last game of our flag football league. The wind picked up and pushed what I initially would have called a perfect spiral further left than I intended. Fred, my best friend of 5 years, picked up speed and pulled in the catch with one hand. He slammed the ball down in victory and motioned me over to the bench. “And that’s why I get all the ladies my man” he bellowed out as I jogged over. “Ya, it’s also why they don’t stick around” I quipped back. Fred had a habit of sleeping with and dumping girls all in quick succession. “That’s the whole point dummy, you should write that down in that little book you’re always carrying around, maybe learn a thing or two from the master”. I watched him spill gatorade over his chin, clearly satisfied with his own answer. Truthfully I was a little jealous of the attention he received from girls, but had always imagined myself waiting for the perfect one.
“You can keep all of them man, I’m looking for my soulmate. When I find her you better lay off”. He smiled back and looked off in the distance. I couldn’t tell if he was staring at the other team practicing their plays or if he was in his own head somewhere. “Sure man, good luck finding that one. If you do, I’ll make sure to do your vows on the spot”. He turned to me after breaking his own spell and clapped me on the back, then jogged over to the referees. She was out there I thought. I sat down on the cold bench. It was the key to a happy life. Warren Buffet had once said you only needed to make a few good decisions in your life have build a great life. Good job, good wife and- honestly I couldn’t think of the third, but I had graduated medical school a year ago and the only thing that was left (and what I could remember) was finding that girl.
Yup, as soon as I had that one down, everything would be perfect. A light snow had started falling over the stadium and whitening the field. I looked over to the street with the passing yellow taxis and exotic food vendors. I caught a glimpse of a girl holding her books tightly across her chest. A stranger had bumped into her and dropped his books and she was helping him pick them up. Seemed like a nice thing to do I thought. A whistle broke my concentration; it was time to line up at center field. I started walking over and getting my thoughts together. I’d have my whole life to figure the rest of the stuff out anyway.