Every night is the same as the one before it. The repetition is predictable enough to drive even the most routine person half mad. If it weren’t for the man who orchestrates them being one of the most awe-inspiring individuals I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, I’d have put a stop to the monotony long ago.
As the day winds down and my workday comes to an end, I shut my computer down and put all of my office supplies away. My favorite pen—the one that never writes on the first try—returns to its rightful spot inside of the mug I made in pottery class. It’s an ugly little thing with its misshapen handle and curiously thick rim, but it holds pens just fine. I slip my notebook into its drawer, right on top of the bills I am all too happy to forget about. The countless sticky notes with details scrawled across them are crumbled up and discarded into the recycling bin beneath the desk. One of them always goes rogue, missing the bin and bouncing into a dark corner with all of the others I’ve managed to drop throughout the week.
On weekday afternoons, he always calls at the same time—a quarter after four on the dot. The man is like a well programmed machine, but my heart still flutters with anticipation when I see his name flash across the phone’s screen. I already know how the conversation will go, but each time feels like the first time. We inquire about each other’s day and like clockwork, we agree that things will be better once we are together again. He proceeds to ask me if I have any prior dinner plans—as though I would ever break our tradition. We have dinner together every evening. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. If he can’t be convinced to allow me to cook, we end up dining at one of our favorite restaurants in the city. However, when no one feels like going out, he orders something in and we dine at his house, as we did tonight.
As usual, he insisted upon picking me up instead of letting me take the tube or catch a cab over to his end of town. He’s such a perfect gentleman; chivalry and good breeding is never wasted upon him. It makes me sick sometimes. I’d never change this particular quality of his, but I may never understand why he fusses over me so. I’ve been living in this city for a year and haven’t managed to get myself lost in its streets yet. All the same, I never argue with him. “Romantic discord” simply isn’t in our vocabulary. He is far too practical and self-regulated to be bothered with human emotions like anger or fear. Besides, it would be a miserable waste of time to think you could outwit someone with a mind and tongue such as his. Instead, I whisper, “See you soon.” Hanging up, I usually shake my head in amused disbelief before going off to take a quick shower.
Despite him telling me a million times over that he doesn’t care what I wear as long as I like it, I always spend my early evenings searching for just the right outfit. Perhaps I should have long since rid myself of the burning desire to impress him, but nine months in, I’m still at it. Deep down, I know his opinion of me wouldn’t change a bit whether I wore a ballgown or a potato sack, but I can’t help myself. Tonight, a hunter green A-line dress lost to a pair of skinny jeans and suede d’Orsay heels. Tugging self-consciously at my nude sweater and wishing I hadn’t eaten so many chocolate digestives at my desk, I muttered to myself about never having anything to wear. As usual, I’d changed outfits so many times that my floor was covered with the rejects. Completely against my raising, I hastily kicked everything into the closet, silently swearing to pick it all up in the morning.
I’d already spent so much time digging through my wardrobe that I barely had the chance to finish getting ready. I typically end up spending an hour looking for an outfit, leaving very little time left for hair and makeup. After a furious flurry of makeup brushes, I managed to conceal the evidence of having spent the day staring at my computer in my pajamas. Finishing off my face, I painted my lips a deep, sultry crimson. He loves the color red. He says it reminds him of his favorite sonata, Beethoven’s Appassionata.
Frowning at myself in the mirror, I critiqued the state of my hair. I was running out of time, but the whole half-up-half-down thing wasn’t exactly appropriate for dinner. I opted for my typical “Sorry I’m late” hairstyle: the messy, but whimsical high bun. With one heel on and one heel off, I hopped and hobbled through the hall towards the living room. I still needed to straighten up the front room and feed the cat, but I was interrupted by the buzz of the intercom before I could even get my shoe on properly. Per usual, he was right on time and the sofa’s pillows weren’t even straight.
(To Be Continued)…