Fully Ripened Love

Submitted into Contest #53 in response to: Write a story about summer love — the quarantine edition.... view prompt

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Romance

Who would have thought that a few clicks of the mouse would be the key to finding true love? I was doubtful at first. After all, I just celebrated my 50th birthday and was not used to any kind of computer love, as I called it. I actually did it on a dare from my best friend, Nora. She had found her husband to be online after many years of dating men that weren’t exactly a match for her, in her words, “loosers.” She told me about this new dating site which matches up people 50 or over with dates and when I waved my hand in the air in dismissal she dared me. I am not the kind of person who will not take a dare and she knew it. The dare worked.

I sat there alone in my little apartment staring at the screen on my new laptop. I decided that if I was going to find new love I needed a new computer. Out with old and in with the new was my new motto. I clicked on the “profile” link and dreaded typing some words that described me and what I was looking for on a date. I read the samples and tried to think what I wanted to say in 100 words or less. I looked at my dog, Barney, and asked him what I should say. He looked at me and rolled over and went to sleep. I laughed. I guess I should start there, as corny as it was I needed someone who loved animals and especially dogs just as I do. They wanted a headline. The headline of my life I guess. It said that I could change it later so I just typed in what I thought of at the time.

My headline was: “Wanted Dog Lover” that’s what I originally typed but thought about it and wondered if that was right for me. I clicked the backspace button to erase it. I needed something new, something that was me, something catchy. I typed in a new one, “Sometimes Nerdy, Sometimes Sexy, Sometimes Chatty and Always Loving Woman.” That was me in a small nutshell. I thought that was good enough for a “headline,” as they called it.  Next was the hard part describing myself and what I wanted. I typed some words I had scribbled earlier on a yellow legal notepad on my dining room table. I was happy with what I had written and after a few clicks I was now “available” on the site. So, I just waited. I closed my computer and waited. After all, I had other things to do besides wait on a message from some stranger who will probably not be the man for me anyway. 

Before I closed the laptop I got a message at my email address which said I had a message on the dating site. I looked and sure enough I did. It was from Mountain Man, Dave. I was thinking that this is probably some man who lives in the mountains surrounded by bears or something. I chuckled as I opened the message. I was half right. He did live near the mountains but liked  what he wrote and decided to write back after all, what the heck? 

After a few months and a lot of messages, phone calls and Facetime, I decided to meet Dave in person. The so-called experts said to meet relatively early in a potential relationship but we decided to take it slow. I guess I did everything slower now.  We picked a coffee shop half way between our houses and picked a date to meet. 

Our timing couldn’t have been worse. The exact date we picked a pandemic was declared and a shelter in place order was issued state wide. Our date would have to wait in person.  We decided to still have the date but a different kind of date. We video chatted, each with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake and cookies the snacks we thought we would have at the coffee shop if we were there in person. We both used our fancy mugs. Mine said, “I am a Mom. What's Your Superpower?” Dave laughed when he saw it and showed me his which had a picture of Superman on it. We both laughed, happily ate cookies, and talked for over two hours. We both agreed that this would be considered our first date. After all, we thought that a date was a date either in person or over the computer or the phone. We even wore our clothes that we would have worn if we met in person. 

Over the next few months of the quarantine we would meet online at the same time and on the same day. We both had the luxury of working from home and we usually would meet during our lunch times. We talked about everything and even our quarantine outfits we wore. I was usually in some type of sweatpants or jeans if I went out to buy groceries but I was always fixed up a bit on the top for our dates. He confessed that he usually wore some type of shorts and slippers during our dates and a nice tee shirt on the top. Once or twice he even modeled his shorts and I had to laugh at the rattyness of some of the shorts he wore. He also laughed at my sweatpants with the holes in the knees and my bunny slippers I had gotten myself for my birthday. I called them my gift to me from me. On my birthday I get myself something quirky and funny, something that I knew nobody else would give to me. This year it was bunny slippers. Who would have thought that when I brought them that I would be wearing them on a date. I thought I was going to wear my new black heels I had brought for the occasion. They were going to pair nicely with my new black jeans and dark blue blouse. But, here I sat in bunny slippers and sweats with holes in the knees next to my beloved dog dating in quarantine. 

I had to admit to my friend, Nora, that I was having a blast. She laughed that big belly laugh that she makes me laugh and said that she told me so and that she should have made me a bet. She was missing my chocolate cookies that I make when we get together for some girl time. It had been two months since we had girl time and it didn’t look like we would have it any time soon. 

Another two months flew by and me and Dave were getting along famously. We now called each other just before we went to bed to wish each other a good night. We joked that after the quarantine was over and we met in person we might not have as much fun. 

Two months and ten days into the quarantine dating I got a call from Dave but it wasn’t at our usual time. My heart was beating fast in my chest. I didn’t know why because I had talked to Dave a few million times so I didn’t know why I was so nervous about answering the phone this time.  I picked up the phone and couldn’t believe what I heard on the other end. 

“I have the virus.” 

My first thought was what I was hearing was wrong. He couldn’t be sick. Not him, not now. I could only say one word back.

“What?”

He repeated the same sentence twice.  I  still thought that I had heard wrong. 

“How? What?”

“I don’t know how I got it. I was very careful. I only went to the store and wore a mask. I am thinking that I probably got it from someone at work, before the quarantine.”

“So, what now?” 

“Now, I have to quarantine myself for two weeks. That’s not hard because I haven’t seen anyone but Cypress, my cat for over two months besides the grocery store people.” 

I didn’t know what to say. I felt like my tongue was tied. I opened my mouth to say something but nothing came out. I managed to say a couple of words and we hung up. 

They say that  we don’t die from death but from fully ripped love. I will always remember that when I think of Dave.

July 31, 2020 20:36

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