TYPING: What… is… the… look… of… love?
I smile as I look up from my laptop. I am at the Parade Grounds, surrounded by couples idly being intimate with each other: walking hand in hand, seated on the metallic ring chairs in very close proximity–one’s head resting on the shoulder of their other significant other, a weird couple picking each other’s ears and sticking the nasty pulled out of their ears in one gooey kiss of cotton buds. But amongst all this excessive show of PDA, it’s one couple that have my attention.
The couple in matching red outfits looking longingly at each other as they share a cone of dripping ice-cream. One would have never guessed sitting right at my spot––fifteen metres away––an hour ago, this couple were at loggerheads with each other. Now just look at them, smiling as though they were born for each other (––no, of course, they weren’t), giving each other the look. That significant look.
TYPING: Bliss is the look of love––
Back up a day ago when Freda, my best friend phoned me early in the hours.
“Kobby, Kobby.” She droned on when I answered.
“What exactly do you want, Freda?”
“Are you always this no-nonsense, can’t-stand-idle-chat, ass?”
“I’m not a morning person.”
“Same thing. What do you want?” I hopped off my bed to an isolated place in the room so Raymond didn’t listen in on my conversation like he always did–––
Me: Ray, were you listening in on my conversation?
Raymond: Were you yelling so loud it was hard not to listen in on your conversation?
(I need to fix this problem with the mouthpiece of my phone).–––
“I have a friend, on your campus. Isn’t that super?”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh, yeah, that is so super! Cut to the chase, would you?”
“Buzzkill.” She huffed out a breath in irritation. “Well, she has this hate-love relationship with this boy. They recently broke up and she ended up interrupting my night’s sleep which in turn made me interrupt yours.”
Wow. What are friends for?
“What are friends for, Kobby? I’m sick of her. I’m sick of her calling to harangue on the phone disturbing my nights. She’d go on about how she hates him, then how she loves him, then how she can’t stand him, then how she wants him back in her life. I have consecutive quizzes this week. I need my sleep. You need your sleep too.”
“OK. So when can I disconnect and go have this sleep?” The idea was slowly passing as wishful thinking.
“After you mend their relationship.”
My silence lasted a full minute.
“Hey, free-night calls are no more in existence, remember?”
“I don’t have the time for this, Freda.”–––
I really, really didn’t. But why did I find myself up after her phone call finding a way to reunite the two?
Case File: Cinderella (also known as Cindy) and Jeremiah (also known as Jerry). Habitual fighters. She loves to box. He loves to box back. He has a temper. She has mood swings. They love each other, they really, really do. But why do they keep hurting each other… literally.
My eyes glazed over the text-message Freda sent me. If I didn’t help, she wouldn’t get off my back because Cindy wouldn’t get off her back. So I threw caution into the wind of them being the worst couple ever in dating history, and took on the assignment. Man needed rest–––
“I really do need seven hours of sleep, you know that?” Raymond grunted as he yanked back his sheets from my grip. Good thing, he was quick, because, I’d rather not want to know intimate info about my roommate like his habit of sleeping, um, without clothes except for a pair of unmatched socks.
“I have an assignment for you.”
“It involves sex.”
He shot out of his bed that instant. “When do I get to come?”
OMG, my roommate did sleep naked except for an unmatched pair of socks!
Casting a girl wasn’t a problem because Raymond had loads of girls on speed dial. It pays having a roommate who’d bedded all the girls on campus.––
“You have got to be kidding me.” Raymond said in horror as we sat at the Parade Ground staring at our target afar.
“Yeah, she’s the subject.”
My face went blank. “Don’t tell me you already slept with her.”
He nodded. “But I’d kill to do it twice.”
Maya arrived. A habitual late-comer who’d only arrive early any time she heard the words ‘Raymond’ and ‘sex’ strung up in a sentence, sometimes just a phrase. “What do I have to do in order to be in this bastard’s bed again?”
I outlined the plan to the two. And before I could blow on the whistle to get the plan in action they were gone.–––
“Maya, where are you?” I yelled into my phone as I stood at the Parade Grounds waiting.
“Oh,” There was lots of panting in the background. “Raymond… said… you… made… changes… to the plan! Oh, yes, bang meeeee!!!!”
Disconnecting the call, I inhaled deeply, I exhaled loudly. I dialled Raymond’s number quick.
“Oh, yeah, hi.” Raymond answered, his breath rugged. “Gimme a sec, babes.”
“I’m not your babe!” I barked seething with anger.
“Wow. Um, I’m kinda referring to a babe right here with me… Would be back in a sec, babes.”
“I thought you two would be bringing in the subjects, BUT YOU ARE… DOING THE NASTY WITH EACH OTHER!” Could I ever rely on my friends to just consider my feelings just once? This is just great, another reminder that I am the only one left out in this sex-ing pool.
“Why do you always have to get it wrong, Kobs?” I could visualize him shaking his head in disappointment. “I just thought bringing in the targets with an after-sex look would sell the jealousy move you intend on portraying.”
Oh, right so they were having sex with the targets. I just needed to pretend this was very normal so I wouldn’t freak out right on public perusal.–––
And an after-sex look they did haul the targets in with, I watched with my eyebrows cocked as Raymond came into the scene from the eastern direction with Cindy’s kinky hair in an-all-over-the-place mess; the buttons to her bright red cotton top were opened from where I sat, though upon closer thought, I’d consider ‘ripped off’; Maya also entered from the western direction of the Parade Grounds, bringing in Jerry who couldn’t keep his hands off her back, off her butt and off her bust in very sloppy movements. I prayed he wasn’t smitten with her, because from afar, from where I sat, it looked very so.
I took my laptop from my lap, and dropped it on the mortar seat of the ring bench, looking on in anticipation. My knees quivered and my forehead bore perspiration as the couples made their way closer to each other. Oh, come to think of it, my idea seemed a bit far-fetched. Why would two exes spot each other with two different partners who were textbook hot and be so riled up with jealousy they’d remind themselves of their undying love and detach themselves from the newcomers in their lives?
Jealousy was the goal that motivated most abusive relationships, and I was planning to take advantage of the green-eyed devil. Perhaps, before this was over with, Maya and Raymond would have exited the scenes with (a little) injuries. This itsy-bitsy info I kept a secret from the two, because there was no love without pain, right?
Raymond and Maya made it so the targets intercepted each other. The couples halted, eyeing each other somewhat challengingly. Even from afar I could sense the tension rising. I chewed my nails wondering who amongst the exes would initiate a conversation, possibly make introductions to the new arrivals in their lives.
Then it happened.
In a move I hadn’t anticipated, Maya slapped Raymond hard. Call all on-lookers, this was becoming a juicy drama scene you needn’t buy tickets for. From my distance, I could see Raymond yell at her. Maya yelled back. On-lookers stared at one another in confusion. Maya slapped Raymond again. Cindy and Jerry kept darting furtive glances at each other. And before I knew it, there was Maya and Raymond, walking into the sunlight as though they were they were walking into their happy-ending. It was Jerry who first gave Cindy a lopsided smile when the crowd had parted away with the star actors. She smiled back, twitching from one foot to the other. An Ice-cream seller rode his cart by, and it was love at vanilla sight.–––
As I sat on the bench watching the two make-up and stare at each other as though they never wanted to ever breakup again, I pulled my laptop into my lap, smiling. Just when I was about to hit the keys, there came Maya and Raymond, plopping beside me.
“We did give you a happy-ending to write about, didn’t we?” Raymond asked. I nodded. “So great, I wouldn’t have to agree to do the same chick twice a day.”
Maya frowned at him, then casted a pleading look my way. “Could you write a happy-ending for us too?”
“Don’t be silly, Maya.” Raymond jibed.
Before I could become privy to an argument ensuing between the two, my phone rang to distract them.
“OMG,” It was Freda on the line. “I heard the news.”
I looked on to the love birds afar to see Cindy with a phone pressed to her ear.
“Thanks so much, Kobby! But you must admit, you had fun doing it didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I guess I did.” I nodded, a smile reaching my face as Maya and Ray gave me the We Won’t Be Back In A Sec look. “I did enjoy it.”
“You have the Look of Love, Kobs.”
“The Look of Love. You can tell if a couple’s meant to be or not.”
“Technically speaking,” I spoke after a giggle, touched by her remark,
“Jerry and Cindy are not really in my definition, meant-to-be.”
“Exactly. That’s why I am thanking you for the few nights of sleep you’ve given us both.”
“Few nights? Us?”
With that she disconnected.–––
Damn, I mutter in silence, and look on at the lovebirds still sharing an ice-cream, an ominous feeling descending on me.
Sending my attention to my laptop, I quickly hit the keys.
TYPING: Bliss doesn’t last for long…
That’s how Jerry and Cindy became a permanent feature in my life. Sad, I know. But it’s not always man gets that seven hours of sleep health professionals staunchly advise us on. So I just have to handle it like a man… and make sure Jerry and Cindy always, um, have a happy-ending… which lasts (a bit) longer.
Looking up from my laptop keys, I notice Jerry, in one swoop, sweep Cindy off her feet into his arms. The laughter radiating from the couple was infectious to passers-by who cooed. I tip my head to one side as my lips curve with delight.
TYPING: … But you have got to enjoy it while it does.