Plod

He read the words on the screen. They didn’t belong to her. Someone wrote them for a song. But it might have resonated enough within her to warrant their reproduction in that space. They differed from her previous post – another set of words from another song, but it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out their themes were the same.

A site – few tabs away from her blog – was another set of words, written by another someone. The claim was eight years of marriage and the topic was about finding the right one, or rather, finding the person who gets more “right” over time. He internalised the words, which was meant as advice for singletons on the worrying side of 30 such as he.

For the life of him, he couldn’t remember when his last proper date was. All he knew was having one-on-one lunch with happily married ex-colleagues wouldn’t count as a date, in the grand scheme of things.

Then, there was a local forum – popular among the females – he visits regularly. There was a thread devoted to those who declared how they had “No luck with love”. Oftentimes, he was tempted to quip back with “no luck with dates”.

Nights are different for him now. A long time ago, as a bloke fresh out of school trying to feel his way in the working world, nights took on a significant meaning. They were pockets of time that represented opportunities to include someone in a collective future, charting the courses of their lives – “our” lives – together. Sadly, he never took them. Despairingly for him now, the then “he” held back way too much.

Nights now are spent in activities that do not allow space for another. Perhaps 50 years back, someone like him would be sitting on a couch by the embers, with a cat on his lap, a book in his hands and a cup of tea by his side, winding down to a day’s end. He does not have a cat and believes that ingesting caffeine five hours before bedtime was tantamount to subjecting himself to a needless struggle to get to sleep later. Substitute the book with a computer would be how his nights were spent, alone.

Loneliness and silence are still companions, but he has learnt to live with them –grudgingly, notwithstanding how good or bad his day went. This is despite how he was aware that they would grow big enough to hit him in his face in years to come. Right now, they seemed deceptively far away from him. He was fine as long as there were enough distractions.

When once he would scoff at the idea of engaging external help to shorten the dating process for prospects, he was more open to that idea now. Tempted much, but the idea of being assessed from head to toe by some sweet (young) prospect and then having to mask the embarrassment from noticing how the gaze of the prospect would linger a few seconds more when it lands on his paunch is a massive deterrent.

So, it’s back to square one, the drawing board, or the starting point. It’s a place where he has stagnated. It’s a place he has subconsciously designated as his comfort zone. It’s a place where he has found enough excuses to ward off remarks which express disapproval about his not-so-swinging single status. It’s a place where he would love to leave but it would mean that he would have to leave to love.

It’s a place where he’s stuck because he hasn’t the faintest idea how to take his first step. Perhaps everything about love defies logic, which is something he has been dependant on explain the madness of this world.