Mr. R sits across from the Matchmaker. He’s a widower with a good job but his daughter is a Nonbeliever, and he has a mortgage. It’s been years since he’s eaten a home-cooked meal.
Mrs. L also sits across from the Matchmaker, divided from Mr. R by a simple beige curtain. She’s divorced, with a manchild son who would rather play video games than get a job, who can’t be counted on to support her like a dutiful son should. But she has a pension, and she knows how to cook.
The Matchmaker studies the Algorithms displayed on his screen. Mrs. L and Mr. R have nothing in common, but do not the Teachings say that it is a Sin for a woman to live alone, uncared for? And is it not also a Sin for a man to live alone, when there is a woman he could care for?
The Matchmaker is hesitant. Their Score is one of the lowest he’s seen, yet the Algorithms assure him their status as level 1 Believers will overcome any problems they may have.
Mrs. L slides a stack of papers across the desk, then demurely folds her hands in her lap. “I come highly recommended.”
Mr. R’s stomach growls and he looks down, his face flushed.
The Matchmaker thumbs through the papers he’s been given, then, despite his misgivings, clicks the green button that reads, simply, “WED.”
Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” plays from tinny speakers as Mr. R and Mrs. L sign the required forms, then shyly pull back the curtain and face each other for the first time.
E.D. Martin is a writer with a knack for finding new jobs in new places. Born and raised in Illinois, her past incarnations have included bookstore barista in Indiana, college student in southern France, statistician in North Carolina, economic development analyst in North Dakota, and high school teacher in Iowa. She draws on her experiences to tell the stories of those around her, with a generous heaping of “what if” thrown in.
She currently lives in Illinois where she job hops while attending grad school and working on her novels. Read more of her stories at her website.