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Dating This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Although his back was to me, it was as though his hand was reaching for mine, but when I tried to satisfy his need, he simply picked up the 37 cents that had slipped from his pocket.

That one instant defines my life.

I've tried everything, and I mean everything, to have a decent relationship. All I ask is that he know how to cook more than macaroni and cheese and can use his hands for more than scratching himself. Well, I suppose that is pushing my luck.

I've even tried a dating service called ABBA (Always Be Beautiful Agency). The name should have given me a hint, but I didn't understand how ridiculous the service was until they sent me a drag queen named Roberta under the description "a big Christmas package waiting to be opened." The image of his silver sequin miniskirt still haunts my dreams.

I also tried going to support groups, secretly hoping to meet someone equally as lonely and desperate. "Hi," I would say. "My name is Josey." Then the leader told me we don't use names. "Okay, my name's not Josey. I'm 32 and I've never had a real boyfriend. I suppose it's my eleventh toe that scares them off." No one thought my joke was funny. I suppose it's my sense of humor that scares them off.

Then I got really desperate. I went to my mother. She set me up with Accountant Bob, as I called him, even though he was really the snake feeder at the zoo. He came complete with spray-on hair and a brain he must have stolen from an otter. (At dinner, he arranged his chicken bones in the shape of a dam and then poured a glass of wine over them. I thought it was hilarious when the wine spilled onto his Target khaki pants. He didn't. At all. But come on, you do a stupid act, you get stupid results.)

I've checked my list, and now I'm checking it twice. I've dated a man with hairballs and a man with lice. I've dated a man with a suspiciously large collection of Richard Gere movies, and a man with a pet squid he called Fletcher. I've dated a guy with no neck and a guy with no knees. I dated a man who could wiggle his ears and a man who made my ears wiggle. I have dated every type of man out there.

I wonder how they remember me - as that odd girl with peacock glasses? Probably. I don't have glasses.

I'm at an all-time low. I'm at an underground cafe where the coffee tastes like tea and the oxygen particles give you a rash. I'm sitting here, alone, watching some guy pick up 37 cents.

Where'd he go?

Oh, there he is. He's walking toward me ... he's walking toward me! Okay, act cool. I just need to lick my lips and look sexy.

I just fell out of my chair. I can handle this. Damn. Where's my shoe? I have to go find it. Wow, the cold concrete floor feels good against my life-size rash.

"Is this your shoe?" he asks, handing me a blue high-heel.

I look at my other shoe. It's black. Damn me for dressing in the dark again today.

"No, sorry," I smile sweetly. Must. Not. Panic. He'll be gone soon. Shoo, go away, Strange Man. Come back when I steal someone else's black shoe.

"Are you sure this isn't your shoe?"

"I'm positive. See," I say, pointing to my remaining shoe, all the while staying hidden beneath the table. "I'm wearing black today, not blue. Try the next table."

"Um, miss?" he asks after an awkward pause.

Why is he still here? Wow, he has really nice ankles.

"Why are you under the table?"

Oh, God. Am I still under here?

"I misplaced something, that's all. I'm fine."

"Are you sure? I could help you find it."

Why is he being so nice? Go away. Come back once I've found my sanity. "I bet you could, but I'm doing fine."

"Oh, have you found it?" he asks. I can hear a smile forming. I bet his face is as beautiful as his ankles. Damn tablecloth. Always in the way. "Because if you haven't, I really would like to help."

Great, now he's making fun of me. He should've left ages ago. As soon as I get out from under this table, I'm going to kick his Oh. My. God.

I am staring at God. Here he is before me, beautiful and extremely well dressed. God wears little black-framed glasses. God wears loafers. God has a hole in his pocket.

"Did you find it?" he repeats.

Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.

"Oh, no, I suppose I'll never find it." Good. That sounded casual.

He looks at my feet. "Did you know you have only one shoe?"

I close my eyes. Why is God torturing me like this? Can't we just go to the back of my Honda and have a one-night stand like normal people? I look at my feet. I am wearing one black shoe. "Yes, I did know that."

"Were you looking for your other shoe? Under the table, I mean."

"Maybe."

God looks at me hard, then smiles a million-dollar smile. "How about, for now, you wear this blue shoe I have here?"

"For now?"

"Long enough for me to buy you a cup of coffee," he replies. I think I'm melting.

"Oh, I don't like tea."

What? Did I really just say that? Dork! Take it back! I can't take it back! Then club him over the head and make him forget you said no! Ack! I can't do that either. Well, good going, Josey. I've finally met him. I've finally met God. And I rejected him like a fool. I should really give myself a pat on the back for this one. This took skill. Not every woman could turn down God.

"What?" he asks, confused.

What's this? Another chance? Okay, I won't blow it this time.

"I'd love to have some tea. I mean, coffee." Wow, nice save. I'm going to hell. You can't get into heaven unless you're married and have at least four children. (That's what they forget to tell you in Sunday school.)

Getting down on one knee, God slips the blue high heel onto my foot, then stands and takes my hand, guiding me to the counter to order.

"My name's Joe, by the way."

"Me, too!" It's a sign! We're meant to be! I will have those four children and I'll kiss those pearly gates with my own lips and I'll ...

"Your name's Joe?"

Stupid, stupid. Don't panic. "Well, I mean, it's Josey. You know, Josephine."

"If you go by Joe, how we will know if someone's talking to you or me?"

He's already talking about the future! Point for Josey! Roo-yah! It's about time. "I'll go by Josey, then."

"Josey," he said. My name sounds so good on his lips. Like Frank Valli was saying my name. "I like that."

Yeah. I Like that, too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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. said...
Jan. 16, 2010 at 10:29 pm
Your peice had me laughing out loud! Your writing style is hilariousm, raw, and truly human! You made this real! thumbs up!!
 
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