You meet her on one of those days. Boredom morphs into irritation, topped off with despondency. Your 8-4 (5-9) is especially dull on the day. Madam Bosco, your loud mouthed, over-bearing boss rips into you as usual over the ever yawning chasm between your targets and your deliveries. The heat seems to have major intentions of causing grievous bodily harm in any case. That is when the ‘gods’ of the internet and itchy fingers contrive to send Her your way.
It ostensibly is an error of the digits – two numbers on the key pad transposed – that makes her call you. You are in no mood for niceties and you utter a few choice words and end the phone call. Perhaps she is hurt, but she opts to send you an SMS apologizing for the mix-up.
You have had the time to think on your commute home – and you give her a call to apologize right back. She giggles, and says she instigated the entire brouhaha, you insist you reacted over the top. Bottom line you become friends.
By now you know she is an intern in the oil firm you always wanted to work for, she loves poetry, pretended to write some of her own a few years ago and loves Pavarotti. You though are stuck in the lurch as an investment banker in some lousy bank. You quickly slip in though that you have a trip to SA lined up, plus your last vacation was in Paris – so she knows you can hold down it down pay wise if you need to.
You have settled into a steady rhythm: three phone calls a day, multiple emails and then the lunch break IMs. You become her nice guy; the bloke who listens to her rants from work, her angst at her over bearing father, her irritation with her football crazy brothers and oh yes…… shoes…in all their gory coloured incarnations. You tell her stuff you’ve never told anyone, your deepest secrets, inner most fears, plans and some of the ideas you want to turn to gold in a few years time. She cheers you on, analysing the pros and the cons. Not since your big sister did any one get you on the same level.
She’s headed off an a holiday, and she is passing through the city you call home. She decides to squeeze a whole day out of her schedule just to see you. You think it’s a fabulous idea and you agree to meet up. She is truly fabulous much better than you imagined. Everything is spot on; she is Cerruti perfumed and Diesel jeans plus spaghetti top clad. Add to that her glistering lip gloss, her CK glasses and her clutch specially chosen to match the colour of her spaghetti top and you know you have a keeper on your hands.
You read her a few brilliant lines you penned – just for her – you say; a parody of the finest Amiri Baraka there is out there. She is wowed, you order dinner and the chemistry is palpable. You talk for a couple of hours, swap some more poetry and then she has to head out to catch her flight. She shyly attempts to kiss you on the cheek. You both laugh at the clumsy attempt, you hold hands and look into her eyes and you believe your Mama’s travails are over.
More of the same stuff, phone calls, emails, IMs, plus the occasional emailed picture as a keep sake. Life’s good you think. You the pragmatist tells you the romantic that it is too good to be true. You the cynic refuses to participate in an exercise in futility. ‘All’s cool and kosher’, you reason, ‘why try to define things beyond what they are anyway’.
She’s heading back to school. You have got a huge target to meet at work, so naturally you drift apart. The phone calls reduce, the emails dwindle and the IMs now become short bursts of offline messages. You the cynic blithely mentions that it was all doomed to fail anyway. You the pragmatist thinks its busyness squeezing the life out of your US zone. You the romantic thinks it’s a fading fancy and couldn’t care less; choosing to bounce to Brandy’s song instead.
You the romantic and you the cynic prevail on you the pragmatist to agree to a phone call. That should be the ultimate test of where you are.
You ring her up, there’s no pick up the first time. You wait for the usual SMS, nothing comes. You give it two more days and then you try again. The third time of asking she picks up your phone call. The talk is stilted, almost foreign. You the cynic pouts and reminds you the romantic that it was an exercise in futility doomed to fail from the get go. You the pragmatist takes it philosophically, it was not meant to be.
In the instant the phone call ends, it suddenly hits you – clarity knocks you in the small of your stomach. This was no divine serendipity; it was just hideous self delusion. You were only her harmattan fling.