Swipe Right

Prelude

I looked in the mirror and put on my bright blue crocheted hat.

My black hair pitch dark as the night.

It was 6:18p.m. and he asked me to text him before I walked over.

At 6:31, I stepped out the door and into the alley.

For a moment, life was in slow motion but about to take full speed.

—–

She stopped by Room #104 for about an hour. It was 9:53p.m.

She was called in earlier to work to make that fast cash.

I told her about the surprise in the paper bag.

She reached carefully inside for the confection.

She put the sweet surprise to her lips and bit down ravenously because she just got off work.

She was hungry.

Stories of college memories bounced back and forth between us, like a plastic ball in an old fashioned, coin-operated arcade game.

He sat there smiling, supportive of me as always, with no room for him to get a word in edgewise.

She sat there glancing at me, still munching down on the cookie.

All in a moment, she told us she needed to leave shortly for another one of her Tinder dates.

I pretended to be excited for her because I was sort of hoping for more time.

At 10:43, I walked out with my buddy and came to a stand still on the side walk.

And we both saw her.

I watched my sister, dome light lit, with the pressure to put on makeup and a fresh coat of lipstick.

For one hour, she was going to give a little of her heart away over drinks all because she swiped right.

For one night, that night, she would become someone a little different.

The touches of makeup on her face transformed her into a Tinder dream. When she arrived at the bar in East Nashville, her date wouldn’t even know she recently ate a cookie with the words “Swipe Right” delicately engraved on it.

I saw her believe she could be someone else.

As the stars popped out of the sky, I walked to Suby and hopped into the passenger seat.

Ice cream on the horizon for my buddy and I, and for her — a world full of future romantic acquisitions.

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My work-day finished around 4:45p.m. on a Friday afternoon.

When I got home, I opened the door and the pups charged at me like I was an opened jar of peanut butter; and then there was you.

You told me you had news to share.

A million ideas ran through my mind like shoppers in a chaotic-frenzy on Black-Friday. This was a different kind of Black-Friday.

I welcomed your news as I sat down at the kitchen table, like a patient waits anxiously for a glamorous report from the doctor.

But this time, the diagnosis was fearful.

You told me you were leaving Nashville.

You told me you joined a new band.

You told me second-to-last because Olive wasn’t home yet.

You told me you’d return someday. You promised me.

Tears streamed down my face.

My head and heart were abandoned.

I felt angry, scared, and my bones shuttered.

I didn’t want to think about the future somedays in case they might never come.  You may never come home.

I texted Stephanie earlier in the day and told her that you were one of my buds I could count on.

The solid kind. The kind who are intentional.

The kind who are consistent. The kind who aren’t flaky.

The kind who stay.

You told me life would still go on.

You told me I would be okay.

But the truth is, I’m not okay.

You told me Olive would be here.

And then I remember…dreams look differently sometimes and so does God’s plan.

As I lay my head down next to my sexy wife tonight, I’m reminded of the past four years we’ve enjoyed together and already look forward to your return.

I just wish you’d stay.