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Romance Drama

Boy.

I don’t know why I let them talk me into this.


I actually do but lets go with the first assertion. I don’t know why I let them talk me into this. I don’t even know how to navigate a first date anymore. The only person I have dated, till she ruthlessly broke me heart a week ago, was Jen. We were six years going on forever and then she claims that she didn’t see a future for us. Six years! A week is too early to be moving on, isn’t it?


I tried to make all those guys see reason but Apo said that a blind date would be fun. Just fun. To get me out there. Test the waters. Boost my esteem somehow. I’m a fool for having listened to them . A bigger fool for having let them set this up.


I didn’t see the profile of the girl they set me up with. All I know is that I’ll tell her by the white rose she’ll have. The same way I’ve been forced to carry one. There is something a little humiliating about this. I would never admit this to the guys because they get a kick out of their blind dates. But doesn’t it speak volumes about your poor character and an inability to charm the people around you.


I miss Jen. I miss the stability of a steady relationship. I think it’s love-sickness making me sound like an ass. I could meet an entirely awesome person today.


I find her seated at a corner table. I don’t know if she called ahead but it looks a little romantic with the white rose sticking out of the vase, the rose petals on the table and the dim lighting. She is not as pretty as Jen is the first thing that registers in my mind. But she is well dressed - fashionable and comfortable. Jen always complained she was uncomfortable when we went out. Either it was her shoes or a dress too short or too thin and she needed my coats to cover up.


And this is the last time I’ll mention Jen. Hopefully.


Her face looks a little too severe with her hair pulled back in a high bun, like she doesn’t smile or laugh often enough. And she follows me with her sharp eyes that feel like they are dissecting me at the surgeon’s table.


‘Hello, I’m Luka.’ I introduce myself and settle down. I don’t know if she can tell the discomfort I’m already in. So out of my depth I’m sweating already.


‘Maliza.’ She says so curtly and then looks at me like she expects me to add something to the conversation. Her unyielding eyes are invasive. As though she is trying to dig out my darkest secrets. I busy myself with the lay out of the place. After a lifetime of awkward silence, I say something.


‘Have you been here before? It looks nice.’


‘Yes. Just passing through though.’ She is not good at conversation I can tell. I can’t think of anything that would interest her. Jen and I had been together so long we knew safe topics, hard topics, and fall-back topics. This is the last time. For real.


She pulls out two pieces of paper and two pens and slides across one of each. I read the top of the page ‘Compatibility list.’ and I’m sure my face mirrors all my emotions.


‘I hope you don’t mind but I need you to fill out these for about thirty minutes before we order. I will fill out mine too and then we’ll trade copies to see the answers.’ She sets her phone timer, lays it on the table and gets to work.


I’ll kill Apo after this!


I wrestle between walking away and seeing this through. I settle for answering her absurd questions. At the very worst, it will make for an interesting embarrassing first date story.


1. Any exs to worry about?

Of course this would be her first question. She looks like an army commander I can imagine her waiting to fight off other people to stake her claim. Should I be honest or should I lie?

 Yes, Just the one. I think thought she was the one.


2. What is your idea of the perfect date?

Not this for sure. And I let her know.

Who cares about perfect setting when you are with the perfect person

I know I said I wouldn’t do this, but Jen would never ever have subjected me to this.


3. Are you financially sound?

She’s definitely angling for my money. What a little scammer!

Not starving yet.

I chance a glance at her and find her scribbling seriously and I get a little curious about the answers this awkward person could give. I add to the answer.

Stable job. No glaring debts yet.


4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Who thinks that far! I had. A long time ago when I believed that life rolls out according to plan. But here I am, posed with the question and I take the time to ponder it.

Still working. Healthy? Happy? Wealthy?

I can’t claim to know what she is looking for with this question.


5. What is your take on family?

For life. Honestly, though. What am I supposed to answer here?


6. What do you look for in a partner?

I sigh out loud when I get to this question. 'Love is not a science. Stop treating it like one.' I shout that at her in my mind. And truly all I look for in a partner is Jen. A week was too early for me to move on. I feel myself at the brink of a public breakdown in front of a crazed woman. I answer this one most honestly.

Jen.


7. What is your first impression of your date?

You are weird and you know it.


I finish well before the timer gets off and look up to find her watching me. Still, her face gives away nothing. She hands me her form and I quickly browse through her answers. Very interesting. I watch her bag mine without reading it through and pocket hers too. I can’t wait to get back and laugh this over with the boys.


‘I will let you know the results tomorrow. By email.’


After that we both don’t know how to save the date. I mean I don’t. Because she goes ahead to order like nothing has happened. While I sit there, dumbfounded over the things I’ve subjected myself to this evening and uncomfortable as hell. I order too to fill the time when all I truly want is to be miles from here, back in my bed, reading self-help books. I think the breakup and today’s experiences are contributing to the onset of a depression. I don’t even mean this lightly.


The food comes and I’m forced to make light conversation by asking awkward questions that are the signature mark of first dates. It’s clear that away from her structured questions, she’s lost on how to interact with me. She is weird, that much is true but I give her the benefit of the doubt. At least till we finish our meal and go our separate ways. After three botched attempts, I finally ask her about her stupid list.


‘Why do you use a compatibility list?’


‘I don’t have time to waste.’ She says it so dismissively. Are all conversations with her conducted on paper?


‘Okay. Do they work?’ I know they don’t which is why she is here with me but I want her to admit it.


‘Yes they do. This is selection by elimination.’


‘And you use a rational approach to these answers? Just because someone writes something you don’t like doesn’t mean you should dismiss them. Maybe all that is invitation to more conversation. I want to be present when you grade me.’ She doesn’t expect that, I can tell. I can see her wrestle with that sound explanation.


‘Ok,’ she says and reaches into her bag.


‘No. Let’s do that on our second date.’ The words are out of my mouth before I can wholly think them through. She looks at me questioningly and I have to stick to my word. A second date. Maybe it will improve. Maybe she will refuse.


‘Yeah. Let’s do that. So what do we do now?’ She is unsure when she asks that and starts to look like someone on a first date.


‘We eat and make awkward light conversation. I’ll be in contact tomorrow. About our second date. By email.’

She is really pretty when she smiles. She probably knows this which is why she doesn’t smile as much.


Maybe this could be fun. Just fun.



Girl

Third blind date in a week.


Finding the right guy should be a full time job because I’m getting nowhere. At least I have a logical method to weed them out. I’m getting on in years and I would like to settle down. Get firm footing on the next step on my life list which is family but comes in form of husband, house, child. In that order.


But Apo said I might really like this guy. I don’t think so because I absolutely do not trust him.


I’ve answered these questions so many times I don’t have to think so much about my answers. But some guys get weird when I don’t fill in a form so I have to do it. This will be the third time this week. I don’t mind it truly because writing things down constantly ingrains them on my brain and heart. No fear of falling off course.


I do this to get the pending questions out of the way. Just seven, the number of completion. I don’t have any interest in chasing a relationship only to find at the end of it all that we were going in opposite directions all along.


I make it to the date venue and find the table already set up in the corner with the singular flower in a vase and I sit. It’s not my date who sets it up and that’s the first thing I learn about him. He is not punctual. I see him walk in with the white rose in his hand. He looks unsure, like he doesn’t want to be here. I guess Apo set him up too.


He sees me and deflates a little. He must not like what he sees but who cares. He has to see this through and I get to cross someone else off my list. Someone may think that choice by elimination takes forever but it is very effective.


He is a little shorter than what I’m truly looking for. But he looks well-groomed and that is saying something, with his neat facial hair and easy going jeans and flannel shirt look. It doesn’t hurt that he smells nice too. I hope this is not simply a front and speaks volumes about his personal hygiene. He looks young too, really young and that worries me a bit.


‘Hello, I’m Luka.’ He says as he settles himself into a chair.


‘Maliza.’ I expect him to offer an apology for his tardiness but he says nothing. He looks everywhere else but at me.


‘Have you been here before? It’s nice.’ He doesn’t sit well in silence. Even though people say more when they are not saying anything at all. In my experience.


‘Yes. Just passing through though.’ I reach into my handbag for my forms. No use in dragging us through this when we can end it earlier with the date killer. I slide him his bit and I can see the shock and humour in his face. He must think this is a joke.


‘I hope you don’t mind but I need you to fill out these for about thirty minutes before we order. I will fill out mine too and then we’ll trade copies to see the answers’.


Before he can make fun of me, I pull out my phone and set a timer for thirty minutes.


1. Any exs to worry about?

No. Never been on a second date

I do wonder if he’ll be honest as he writes his answers. Maybe he thinks it’s a waste of time and wants to make a joke out of it. Maybe he is filling in the silliest answers he can think of.


2. What is your idea of the perfect date?

Movie-night at home, cuddled on the couch, with hot drinking chocolate

I’m mostly a simple person. Particular. Most comfortable in my own safe space where I’m not on display over how weird I tend to be. I would definitely love someone who values those same things.


3. Are you financially sound?

Saving accounts, a well-paying job, shares and investments in sound companies.

I am curious about this. On his end. He seems to be doing ok if I should guess based on first appearances. But I know better than most how deceptive appearances can be. He should have a plan at the very least.


4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Married, settling into our house, hopefully with child 1 on the way. Running my own agency. Reached the next money tier. Starting on having my own cafe dream. A published book. An appearance in one of the major financial magazines.

I have barely scratched the surface of this dream with my answer but he hasn’t warranted more information than that. I hope at the very least he thinks that these questions got him thinking a lot more about life.


5. What is your take on family?

Life-long marriage, family house, three children. I believe in inheritance and adoption too.

It is most important to me that of all things, this is the one we agree on. I know I don’t look but my heart is after a family.


6. What do you look for in a partner?

Mentally sound, physically able, emotionally present. All open to your own interpretation.


7. What was your first impression of your date?

I look at him. Really look and seeing him engrossed in my warms my otherwise disinterested heart. It’s not my first impression, of course. But I right down my honest impression.

Room for improvement.


I am done before he is and sit and watch him. He must hate it so much but it is a point in his favour that he has sat this through. Very few do. We exchange forms and I quickly bag his. Usually, this is the part in the date where the men, so outraged by my questions, make an exit. He doesn’t. He reads through my answers and pockets it.


‘I will let you know the results tomorrow. By email.’ This is as dismissive as I can politely get. He should be on his way now but he stays.


He probably wants to fill the silence or laugh at this but I make my order. If he thinks I’m staying longer, he’ll make an excuse and go away. He doesn’t. He also orders for food then goes on to bore me with painful small talk. Asking about my favourite everything - book, movie, song. I have never gotten this far in any of my dates so I don’t know what to say. There is no order here.


‘Why do you use a compatibility list?’ He finally asks.


‘I don’t have time to waste.’ This is very true. And they help me keep my focus.


‘Okay. Do they work?’ They should. Logic is infallible. But they haven’t. Yet. I should tell him but that would give him grounds to mock me.


‘Yes they do. This is selection by elimination.’


‘And you use a rational approach to these answers? Just because someone writes something you don’t like doesn’t mean you should dismiss them. Maybe all that is invitation to more conversation. I want to be present when you grade me.’ I don’t expect to hear him say any of those things. He is not put off by my system. Clearly. He is just concerned about the technicalities and I can definitely meet him halfway. But if he sees my method of elimination. He might think I’m unfair. For the first time in four years I doubt my test.


‘Ok,’ I find myself agreeing. I can’t wait to tear apart his terribly thought-out answers. I reach into my bag.


‘No. Let’s do that on our second date.’ His statement electrifies me. I’ve never been on a second date. He probably read that when he skimmed my form but I don’t want to pass off the prospect of it. And we have already established what will do on the date. I can do that. I think.


‘Yeah. Let’s do that. So what do we do now?’ I fear that I may actually start enjoying myself once I throw my order out the window and my voice betrays that.


‘We eat and make awkward light conversation. I’ll be in contact tomorrow. About our second date. By email.’ Touche.


He definitely improves. And he just might improve enough for me to really like him.

August 27, 2020 16:40

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18 comments

Daniela Vaudrey
05:44 Aug 28, 2020

This story is great! Do you mind looking at my new one?

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Peace Nakiyemba
10:00 Aug 28, 2020

Thank you, Daniela. And no, I don't mind :).

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05:06 Sep 25, 2020

Hey, Peace would you be kind to watch the first video it's on Harry potter. https://youtu.be/KxfnREWgN14 Sorry for asking your time, This my first time to edit video

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Keerththan 😀
08:25 Sep 11, 2020

Hey, this was very creative. I loved the way of asking questions with compatibility. This reminded me of Angry birds 2. Wonderful story. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my new story? Thanks.

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Peace Nakiyemba
11:22 Jan 07, 2021

I watched that movie too :), perhaps my mind subconsciously picked up on that. And I don't mind reading your stories. It's just unfortunate that I'm coming to all this very late. I hope you don't mind. Thank you for reading.

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Keerththan 😀
14:02 Jan 07, 2021

That was a great movie! I don't mind!

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Dash Mancuso
17:14 Sep 09, 2020

I enjoyed the story very much. We can all sympathize with finding compatibility. Please read my story. I hope you enjoy it.

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Peace Nakiyemba
11:19 Jan 07, 2021

It is wonderful to know that you enjoyed the story, Dash. Thank you for reading. Yes, finding compatibility, the nightmare in a way. I'll check out your stories for sure. I just hope you don't mind that this response and my follow up are months late.

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Doubra Akika
12:36 Sep 09, 2020

This was so amazing! The structure was so great and the story itself was wonderful. I loved the different perspectives. Great job! You're such a wonderful writer! Hope you're staying safe!

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Peace Nakiyemba
11:17 Jan 07, 2021

This is such high praise, Doubra. It is a high honour that you enjoyed reading what I wrote. Thank you. And I'm doing my best to stay safe. I hope you are too. I apologise for the late response.

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Doubra Akika
16:16 Jan 08, 2021

It was honestly my pleasure! I hope you have a happy new year!

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20:17 Sep 03, 2020

That was so good I couldn’t stop reading! I loved the different perspectives and how unsure they both were. Both how it worked out promisingly in the end. Great story!

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Peace Nakiyemba
11:15 Jan 07, 2021

I am so glad you enjoyed it, Victoria. Thank you for reading and commenting. Sorry, this response is coming months later though.

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Yolanda Wu
06:04 Aug 28, 2020

I really enjoyed this story, it was so fun with interesting and distinct characters. And the lists were a really nice element, which gave me a good laugh. Amazing work!

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Peace Nakiyemba
09:59 Aug 28, 2020

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Yolanda. Thank you for this feedback. I deeply appreciate it. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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Becky Holland
01:24 Aug 28, 2020

I love the name Peace. Story is good. Concept is good. Liked it. Nice read. I might go back and reread it though - there are some places where a comma might be needed, and a few "Choppy" sentences in a paragraph. But other than that - Good job! Keep writing, and hey, if you have time will you come read any of my stories? Like "The Cecil Greene Story?"

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Peace Nakiyemba
10:03 Aug 28, 2020

Hey Becky. Thank you for this feedback. I have read through and caught some of those things though I'm not sure I got all of them. I'll keep editing. And I had actually read 'The Cecil Greene Story'. Liked it too. I'll be sure to be by to read more of your stories.

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Becky Holland
14:00 Aug 28, 2020

Thanks, I would love some feedback as we all learn from each other!

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