According to my mother, I’m getting to that age. The age where you’re old enough to give your parents a second chance at raising a child because they screwed up the first time around. Apparently, being a single, 25 year old brown dude means that there's something wrong with me. Uncles would always ask how my girlfriend was and I would always reply, “Which one?” They laughed and I smiled as I secretly wished for heart disease and diabetes to catch their old bodies.
It’s not like I’ve never dated before. I had my fair share of dates in school and even after. But to bring someone home to meet the barn yard animals that I call my family... it wasn’t going to happen.
My mom, bless her heart, was beginning to worry that her poor son would be alone forever. Like all South Asian mothers, her maternal instincts to be overbearing and control every aspect of my entire life kicked in.
So the questions started. Simple at first, but they got progressively more aggressive.
“Are you going to meet your friends?” she’d ask.
“You look good. Date?” she’d probe.
“When are you giving me grandchildren?!” she’d scream. She means well.
My door flung open. There was my mother, standing there with a wooden spoon covered in curry in one hand, a phone in the other and a shower cap on her head. She had a look in her eyes. A look that to this day shrivels my testes.
She was bride hunting and there wasn’t a soul that could stop her. She looked up at me with Bambi-like eyes. She was doing it again - that thing all moms can do with their eyes that get all their kids to do whatever they want them to do. I was in a trance.
“My baby, it’s time you found a girlfriend, uh? I know some lovely girls at the church. You meet them and then tell me who you like, okay?” she asked, but it was less of a question and more a demand.
“No”, I muttered. “I’m okay.”
“You’re not getting any younger you know?” she said. “Vat happens if you get into an accident. Who will marry you then? You have all the burns and scars on your face, you look like a ugly.”
“I-What?” I said. “Seriously?”
“I don’t know vat happens”, she said. “Please, my baby, let me find someone for you.”
“Fine”, I said. Her eyes lit up. I was out of the trance, but I realized that I may have made a terrible life choice.
Times were getting tough. Days turned into weeks and I still hadn’t heard anything from her for so long. To be perfectly honest, I was a little disappointed - maybe even a little desperate. Was I so undateable that my own mother couldn't find someone for me? Maybe she had gotten so many proposals that she was overwhelmed? Or her standards were too high?
It had taken my mom more than three months to find someone who was brave enough to date the likes of me, the 25 year old arts degree wielding barista poet. My life read like a hipster’s Instagram bio. And right as was I was thinking about all my shortcomings as a man, she barged in wielding a letter with a picture.
“I was worried because I didn’t hear anything. I thought something was wrong with you, but I finally got a letter,” she yelled. I was too scared to even ask why she didn’t just send an email, but I didn’t want to get roped into “fixing Google” for my technologically retarded mom.
“She’s a very nice girl--”
“So she’s ugly.”
“No, she’s nice. Look!” she said as she jabbed the 8 X 10 in my face. She was actually gorgeous, a 10/10. She could be the one. I agreed. I mean, who was I to turn down a potential suitor? Not this middling poet.
We started writing letters back and forth for a few weeks, mostly because she doesn’t get cell reception where she’s from. I don’t mind. No one writes letters anymore. It’s a lost art form.
It was a lovely day. The sun was chirping and the birds were shining. I opened the door to the finest restaurant in all of Malvern and there she was, sitting at a table by herself in her yellow sundress.
Maybe it was the sun hitting her or the fact that I forgot my glasses at home, but she was glowing. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I walked over and sat across from her. Her long brown hair flowed from her face, body and legs. Her eyebrows were extra bushy and her beard was thicker than mine and covered in the juices of her half finished sangria.
She smiled when she saw me, flashing her crooked yellow teeth. And her breath, it smelt like the opossum that she must have had for breakfast. She looked different from the blurry pictures that she sent me. She was like a tree; really tall, brown and covered with leaves. But I didn’t care, I was love in with her. Jane, the granddaughter of Sasquatch, was the most beautiful girl in the world.
“Did you find the place alright?” I asked. I’ll admit I was a little nervous, but who could blame a guy. She was absolutely stunning.
“Errghhh!” she grumbled.
“Oh, sorry about that. So, what do you do for a living?” I asked. She smelled divine like three day old stink and a full can of Axe body spray. Everyone around us had their noses plugged, but they couldn’t really smell her like I did.
“Errggh-a-ergh!”, she replied, spraying spit on all over me and the waiter who happened to be passing by. He screamed. I smiled. She was elegant.
“Oh, stealing from campsites sounds like a noble career." I didn’t know what else to say. Not many women have such interesting careers.
Then there was silence, then there was sweat, then there were a lot of “uhms” and “ahhs”. I needed to say something, anything. It was so quiet that I could hear the fleas under her furry arms yelp as they bit into her leather like skin.
“Erggh”, she spoke. “Erghh erghhh, erghhh….”
The rest of the week was sort of a blur. I don’t really remember what she said to me that day, but I knew what she meant. “It’s not you, it’s me”, “we’re just two different people”, the same old spiel. I’ve heard it all before.
My mom set me up with other dates, but none of them were quite like Jane. Sure they were pretty, smart and successful. But to me it was just an endless parade of polished turds. I don’t know if I’ll ever meet someone like Jane again. I tried to go back to the place where we had our first date just to see if I could recreate that fateful day, but they were closed because of an outbreak of fleas.
I find that after getting dumped every little thing reminds you of the person that left. I was walking down the street one Thursday afternoon and I could swear that I could smell her. But it was just garbage day.
According to her Instagram, she’s dating a new guy. He’s a doctor. Maybe if I became a doctor I could win her back, I don’t know. My mother says I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to become a doctor but what does she know. But I never forget how I blew it with Jane, the most beautiful girl in the world.
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