“U up?” is considered the laziest text of all time. Not that many people mind it that much. Unfortunately.
It was just few minutes past midnight when Samantha checked her phone for the last time before sleep and noticed the message notification. She knew it wasn’t worth the time if the notification revealed everything there was to know.
There was no need to even click on the box to open it. One way to go was to ignore the booty call that had been haunting her for few months now.
It was this guy she swiped right on Tinder, a big mistake that had once crossed her mind in the darkest period of time. His name was Josh, and he had been charming enough to score her cellphone number. So when Sam uninstalled Tinder and bid adieu to that devil, Josh still got a way to contact her.
Damn it, courtesy.
Few hours later Sam rose up from her sleep and got ready for a long day. It was a day off that she had been begging her supervisor for, and she was ready for some fun. Her agenda was filled up with few friends and a lot of exploration that she would do on her own.
But first, she had to go for a breakfast date with an old friend, Carly.
So she dashed off to a vintage looking coffee shop half an hour away from her apartment, and found a table by the windows so that she could feel the sun’s warmth on her face.
When Carly walked in, Sam got up and gave her old friend a long hug. Then they sat down and ordered coffee and pastries, while casually exchanging news on whatever that was going on in their lives.
Carly had been married for a year, and was carrying her first child. She was brimming with joy, and kept asking Sam the many why’s to her nonexistent romantic relationship.
“You’re a pretty girl with great personality. Go out more and you’ll find the one.”
Little did Carly know, Sam was never interested in finding the one. To a lot of people, Sam was, and had always been, a little too opinionated. Perhaps a lot more than just a little.
But Sam had a reputation to keep, and that was to banish any chance or hope of her ever finding romantic love anywhere, because she had been labeled by many as an intimidating force nobody wanted to reckon.
Sam smiled, and said so little. She knew that giving out her reasons would do nothing, or change anything. The assumption that someone like her would desire, or even worse: desperately need, a love relationship was normal. It hit her more often that she’d like, but at some point, died down slowly as a routine.
“You know I have no time for that” had become her main go to reason, even if she knew that it was just a lie. Saying the truth, which was that she really wanted no romance in her life, would make others ask her if something was wrong with her. Or look at her with concern, as for someone with an incurable disease or a death sentence.
After Carly had shown every single photo she and her husband had taken during their first married year, she left for a yoga class and left Sam alone with their half eaten, cold pastries and empty cups.
So Sam paid the bill and walked to a bookstore.
As she entered a fancy bookstore, Sam noticed the displayed books that claimed the BEST SELLER title.
She ran her hands by every single book, chanting the genre as if she needed to hear it read out loud. Romance, romance, romance, and some books she could actually tolerate.
What was it with the society and idolizing romance so much, as well as imposing on others that romance was necessary? Sam wondered, why, if romance was just an option, that she had to listen to everyone every single day, that she had to find a man. As if it was the only option?
It was unfair.
Then her phone rang. Sam answered right away, when she should’ve checked the caller ID, which would have pointed to her cousin Leighton.
“You’re on a day off? What for? Girl, are you seeing someone?”
Despite the strong urge to hang up and just move on with the day, Sam decided to give a flat out no and listened to Leighton rant on and on about the life of a single woman. To Sam, a single woman’s life wasn’t bad, as long as the woman got a lot of things that she loved around. Something like passion, and life in general.
About five minutes later, a notification popped up from Facebook.
‘Carly tagged you in a post.’
Sam clicked on the post and saw a photo of her and Carly having breakfast a couple of hours ago, with some sweet caption: ‘Finally reunited with my awesome girl Sam! She’s gorgeous, single and ready to mingle, guys!’
Perhaps captions were really necessary. But that would be an excuse for Carly’s post.
Having spotted Plato somewhere during her book screening, Sam grabbed a Plato book and headed straight to the cashier. Clearly, a distraction would be needed now.
So she paid for the book and found a coffee shop where she could sit and read her book. It was right next to the bookstore, and the line wasn’t bad, so Sam decided to go in.
While lining up for her order, an older lady called out to Sam and shamed her for not remembering her mother’s “old friend who used to visit” her house before she’d left for college.
“Oh, Mrs. Martin. Yeah, sorry, I am pretty bad at remembering faces.”
“Are you married now?” Mrs. nosy Martin asked right away.
“What? Oh, no, I’m not.”
“Seeing anyone?” Mrs. really nosy Martin asked again.
The interrogation went on in a one way direction, and Sam felt attacked. At this point she’d rather have Mrs. Martin punching her face or something.
“You’re so pretty, don’t worry, you will find someone.”
After Mrs. Martin left, Sam let out a heavy sigh and mouthed ‘Thank God’ to the ceiling. She grabbed her coffee and started looking for a table.
It was also a concern of hers, that just because someone was ‘pretty’ she was ultimately a ‘girl in relationship’ type, or ‘searching’ for the one.
What if a pretty girl just wanted a career and a pug? Would that be too unbelievable?
So Sam sat down at a table by the windows with her Plato, and started reading while ignoring all the notifications coming from Facebook. All the “She’s single?” comments on Carly’s post and friend requests from random strangers she wouldn’t even bother to look up.
At around lunch time, she decided to just go to a movie theater and see a movie. So she took her book and marched to see a Marvel film.
Luckily the theater wasn’t crowded, but it wasn’t stopping some people to eye her the moment they realized that she was just there alone.
If it had been a man, Sam thought, people wouldn’t bat an eye.
Then came the evening, when Sam went to an Italian restaurant she had always wanted to go to. The restaurant never allowed reservation for one, so she invited a few friends to enjoy the dinner with her, and some of them could make it that evening.
When dinner happened, however, Sam wasn’t too pleased.
A group of five sat down, including Sam, and the topics revolved around everyone’s life and whereabout. They went through a list of people they knew from school and talked about everyone’s relationship status and career. The career part Sam didn’t mind.
Her hands were under the table, holding her phone and scrolling through random posts on Instagram. Her friends were busy buzzing about who was single and who was married, while glancing at her every now and then, hoping that she’d take a hint.
That she probably should start looking for love.
Sam walked home that night feeling somewhat exhausted. It felt like a long day at work with extended hours and approaching deadlines. She had wanted a day off to relax and to breathe for once, but she felt an ice cold sting around her heart.
The moment she got home, she took a long shower and reflected upon the details of her day. Nothing bothered me, she said to herself, nothing could ever get to me unless I let it.
The expectations, the imposed idea on love, and everything else she hated were just parts of the society. There was no way to get rid of them, or to avoid them.
It was something she had to live with. And ignore.
She knew she had no time to worry about small matters, and saw that she still got few hours before the day ended for a TV show or a movie.
But as she sat down on her couch, with a cup of tea and a blanket, Sam felt angry.
A part of her wished she could have said more, cursed loudly, and disagreed with others without feeling guilty.
She knew nothing was wrong with her life, and that she had been happy with where she was. But why was everyone making her feel that her life was lacking?
It was a few minutes to midnight when her phone beeped with the same lazy text that checked in routinely for no reason. A notification with a “Josh: U up?” fired up, like some broken light in a dark alley.
Sam sighed and for the first time in months replied, “Maybe next time.”