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It didn’t make sense to him at first. It was only later and after an explanation that he understood why the women attending a speed dating cum cookery class declined to have their photos taken. Whatever bits and pieces he could glean from the photos of the class – which was uploaded on a Facebook page, the women all looked pleasant to him, albeit with their faces blurred.

But then, the faces of the male participants were as clear as day. And it didn’t take long for him to envision himself being part of the class or measuring himself against them.

“Short, stumpy and pudgy. These would easily be anyone’s first impressions,” were his thoughts while clicking his through the photos of the males.

“And without a doubt, clumsy too,” It would have been at least eight years since he last cooked a decent meal.

He wasn’t even sure if his preference for those NIKE drifit T-shirts and jeans would make the cut in any of the female participants’ minds.

In any case, with only six males and females chosen out of the 200 applications that were received, he stood little chance.

***

It didn’t take a long time for him to realise how sustained periods of him being in low spirits coincide nicely with the dreary weather (nice to sleep in but horrible to wake up to) and the chronic lack of sleep. With all and sundry given a respite from the sauna-like temperatures, it had been pleasant so far with overcast skies, the occasional drizzle and the heavy downpours. In fact, he enjoyed being lightly drenched by the drizzle. It felt good to feel rain on his face and the back of his neck. If he were to close his eyes, he could imagine himself – ten years younger – wearing slippers while walking through the wintry rains to uni. The biting cold comforted him.

Now, more than ten years later, the coolness of the drizzle would be a far cry from those wintry rains. However, somewhere in his heart, a spurt of warmth emanated. At least, it made the pain he was carrying a little easier to bear.

***