13 comments

Drama Romance

Shit, another conference call, I think as I see the notification in my inbox. My boss is such an asshole. Why can't he just send an email?


I close the laptop and move into the kitchen for a snack. My third snack since breakfast. This working from home sucks. Well, not really. But it's what I'm supposed to think. If I am being honest with myself, I actually love it. I can sleep in until 8, get a quick shower, put on my sweats and a sensible blouse, and I'm all set. I check my Instagram feed and drink my coffee in peace instead of traffic, and then I hit the ground running at 9. Today has been nonstop with pointless emails and tedious video conferences.


My cat, Jimbo, yowls from the other room. Damn! I forgot his food again this morning. I'm so off my routine. I walk into the dining room, Jimbo at my heels. I pick up his bowl and return it to the kitchen. Jimbo weaves between my legs while I fill his bowl with Fancy Feast. 


Back at my computer, I try to focus. My client needs a revised budget by the end of the day, and none of the vendors seem to be responding to my emails. I will have to call them, and I am really trying to avoid that. I stall by pulling another bottle of Pellegrino from the fridge and filling my glass with fresh ice.  


I spend a solid twenty minutes doing real work and then take another break, checking my Instagram again and playing two rounds of Solitaire on my phone. I hear the trash truck come down my street and go to the window to watch its mechanical claws pick up the large cans one after the other. Big government disposing of the sins of the masses. I stand at the window long after the truck has disappeared around the corner. 


When I return to my desk in my makeshift office in the guest bedroom, Jimbo is parked on my chair. I shoo him off and sit. There are 14 emails waiting. Damn. 


Later, after I've handled two more crises and tweaked the budget, I decide to take a break. This quarantine has been especially difficult since Drew left. Who knew that when he packed up his gym equipment and moved out that it would be the last human contact I'd have for a while? 


"I just don't think we want the same things," he had said. If I'm being honest with myself, it had been over with Drew for months before he left. He was more interested in himself than anyone else. And I wasn't really interested in anybody at all. Work was occupying a lot of my time, my dad needed looking after, and most of the time, I just wanted to sleep. I didn't have any energy left.


But ever since Drew departed, I'd been overly-conscious of being alone. And now, when everyone is being told to stay home, the "aloneness" is weighing heavily on my mind. I got brave last week and signed up for Bimble, but that's as far as I got. I mean, really, at this point I can't do much more than chat online with someone. But that didn't stop me from unlocking my iPad and opening the app. 


Gavin, 29, single, an attorney who likes the beach and wine-tasting.


Brad, 34, divorced, loves his 2 boys and can hold his own in the kitchen.


Tevar, 31, single, an aspiring novelist and physical therapist who's into tai chi.


I keep looking. The options are endless. I don't know who's more desperate. These men listing their qualifications as a potential mate like a catalog description? Or me...flipping pages and making immediate decisions based on a photo and personal quote. 


Jimbo leaps up on the desk, rubbing up against my laptop, purring in his passive-aggressive way that means he wants some attention. I ignore him and keep clicking on profiles. 


Marcus, 36, separated, a radiologist with a passion for art and music.


Ryan, 28, single, a firefighter looking for a fellow adventurer.


The photos intrigue me. Half of them are in profile. Some are out-of-focus. Several men are wearing sunglasses as if this gives them some kind of edge. I like to see a man's eyes. They say a lot about the person behind them.


My cat, who has tolerated my neglect long enough, jumps on my lap and climbs across my iPad. He steps on the glass, sending a "wink" to Ryan, the firefighter. Shit. How do I undo this?


Jimbo is now in my face, purring loudly. I scratch him under his chin while looking for the "undo" button. I can’t find one.

 

Just as I am about to go to the Frequently Asked Questions to figure out how to remove a "wink," I hear a chime and see that I have a personal message in my Bimble mailbox. 


It's from Ryan.


Shit.


It reads: Hey, how r u? Saw your wink.


I stare at the screen. My cat is now walking all over my laptop keyboard. There are random numbers filling up my spreadsheet columns. Then he plops down right on it, blocking the screen. I wonder what kind of trouble this will cause me.


Another PM wrenches my attention back to the iPad: I have to admit. This is all new to me. Joined yesterday.


Do I really want to get involved? I had no intention of contacting anyone right now. Work is keeping me busy, and dating is impossible with the lockdown in place.


Zing!


R u there? I can see ur reading the messages. 


Then: Cold feet?


Not wanting to be rude, I type back: Sorry. My cat actually winked at you. 


Your cat?


Paws across the iPad. I smile at my own joke.


Ah. Sounds like a bad movie title.


I laughed. Then typed: Yeah, I guess it does.


I miss movies.


His candor surprises me. Me too. I miss a lot of things.


Like what?


This makes me think for a minute. Dinners out. Hanging with friends. Baseball.


A few seconds pass. Then: You like baseball?


Yeah.


Cool. I used to play in college. 


My spreadsheet forgotten, I shoo the cat off my laptop and log into my Bimble account so I check out more of Ryan's photos and keep chatting on my iPad. His pics are flattering without bragging. No shirtless ones. No drunk ones, either. A few that look like vacation pics, and one with a large group of friends. 


Ryan and I message back and forth for about an hour, then I beg off to get back to work. His next shift at the firehouse isn't until Thursday, so we make a "date" to Facetime tonight after dinner. Good thing I actually showered today.


I carry the iPad into my bedroom and plug it in to charge. And I smile for the first time in what feels like weeks.


Maybe being quarantined has its benefits.


Well done, Jimbo.

April 25, 2020 02:42

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

13 comments

Zilla Babbitt
18:35 Apr 26, 2020

You asked for feedback, so here I am: This is so cute! I love how you use the irritating cat to give the character a much needed lift. I almost laughed out loud a number of times. And I think a movie should be made called "Paws Across the IPad" and I would totally watch it. I like how you show the distractions, like the Solitaire and how the character watches the garbage men, a subtle little sentence but it tells me a lot. This person is really bored, is near a window, and probably doesn't notice these kinds of things in normal days. Really ...

Reply

Karen Kinley
19:17 Apr 26, 2020

Zilla, Thanks so much for the feedback! I truly do love/need it. We are all always trying to improve our craft. Thanks for the tips and kudos. I curse a lot in real life, so I am not as sensitive to it in writing as some. But it is something I need to be aware of. I appreciate your honesty!

Reply

Zilla Babbitt
20:14 Apr 26, 2020

Of course!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Thom Brodkin
22:14 Mar 04, 2021

This story was artfully subdued. You mastered the art of showing not telling. I could feel the mundaneness of it all. I loved that the first word was “shit”. How could I not want to read a story that hits me off the bat like that. I agree swear words can become distracting but I disagree with Zilla on this one. I don’t think it was overdone. I also like the message of hope and possibilities. It was a great way to end a story that began with life’s tediousness. Great job again. You know I’m a big fan. If you actually like baseball try read...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Zea Bowman
14:06 Apr 27, 2020

Hey guys I guess this will act as a chain. This is a great story; very well written. Any chance you could look at one of my stories and give me some advice/feedback?

Reply

Karen Kinley
17:01 Apr 27, 2020

Thanks, Claire! Appreciate the "like" and the feedback. And sure! I'll check out one of yours as well!

Reply

Zea Bowman
17:55 Apr 27, 2020

Thanks! Means a lot!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
. .
05:30 Sep 04, 2020

𝔹𝕖𝕒𝕦𝕥𝕚𝕗𝕦𝕝𝕝𝕪 𝕨𝕣𝕚𝕥𝕥𝕖𝕟!

Reply

Karen Kinley
00:29 Sep 08, 2020

Thanks so much!!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mrs. Moroz
01:58 May 02, 2020

Karen, I really enjoyed this story, it was like a page out of my life! I find myself swiping left and right on my dating site of choice, way more than I care to admit. I like how you called your dating site "Bimble." In my story, the dating site was "OKVenus" and I thought that was funny. :) Likes: - From cat messing up the keyboard, to the distractions while WFH, to the recent breakup with a self absorbed guy, your character was real, and very relatable. - I really liked how the dating site matches were presented, as well as how the...

Reply

Karen Kinley
13:55 May 02, 2020

Nini, Thanks so much for the feedback! Glad you enjoyed my story, and YES, great minds think alike with regard to our dating site apps! Thank you so much for telling me what you like about my story. That helps me a lot when crafting new stories. And thank you especially for the suggestions...I so appreciate other writers helping me to improve my craft. And someone else mentioned what you did about the swearing, so I will definitely be revising that. Again, thanks so much. Karen

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Andrew Eller
22:46 Apr 25, 2020

Loved the dating profile descriptions and smiled when Jimbo gave the little nudge (wink) that was needed!

Reply

Karen Kinley
17:19 Apr 26, 2020

Thanks so much! It was fun to write.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply