To Write Love on Your Arms
To pre-empt this, I read a Facebook meme/post based off the popular Tumblr stories of “The Soulmate Countdown“. Which served as an inspiration for this story, which ironically was inspired by an indy rom-com called “Timer“. So, although I can’t take credit for the concept, it shook me enough to form my own version. Think of it as a singular story in a greater shared universe. And enjoy.
To Write Love on Your Arms
It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, not really. It didn’t change much, society, didn’t turn upside down like you’d think. I mean, unless you’re a teenage girl. Those teens nowadays, adding glitter, jewelry… “blinging” out their “Love Watches”. They view it as an Altar, social hierarchy in schools now comes down to who has the least amount of time on their hands… ironic.
Online Dating became a thing of the past. Like, if random stranger is halfway across the world… does the watch consider time change? The young ones rush around with their time bombs, clinging on to the one they see when the clock runs down. But even then, when’s the last time you took note of the exact second on your timepiece? There’s a lot of “half-hour” leeways going on. Seriously, say you’re sitting with your friend and the cutest chick sits down. Are you gonna sit and wait until the clock runs out? What if some dumpy chick walks in with two seconds to spare? Hey, don’t get mad at ME, there’s still a whole bunch of judgmental people out there. And true love is open to interpretation…apparently.
That’s why I’m glad mine was blank, has been since I was born. There’s a lot of us out there too, you’d be surprised. We usually gravitate to each other, the broken souls sticking together. Or we get jobs with lots of people around. Delivery driver, arena staff, door-to-door salesman… that kind of stuff. Hey, it’s Math, right? Just wait around until someone’s time runs out and
“HEY, would you look at that? Mine just ran out too!”
No-one checks the watch AFTER the time runs out…
So, we got married. Me and another broken soul. It happens. You know what you’re getting into. It’s a different love, I think. Not… a “true love”. Every girl wants to be a princess, no matter what they say. So, imagine the realization when the world tells you that your knight in shining armour is never coming. The divorce rate is high.
We had a decent time, two kids. Twenty years. I should’ve figured something out when she started wear long sleeves, when the “headaches” wouldn’t go away. Left me for her fucking Personal Trainer. What a goddamn cliché.
If you think dating is hard in your Twenties, by god, give dating in your Forties a try. These lonely, aging beauties. I call them Clock Watchers. It’s heart-breaking, it really is. You barely chat, barely eat. No movies, no making out. Walk in, they check their watch. Sit down to eat a fancy restaurant, check watch. The newest Rom-com with Hugh whoever? Popcorn and light up that watch. One girl even slammed a door on me, told me to come back in 23 days… yeah, I think I’ll pass on that, ever so inviting prospect.
So, I’ve settled into old age, I think. As far as I know. A nice affordable apartment, the kids are off the college so old the tap to the “unlimited flow of cash” is being cut off. My son found a nice girl in the campus library when his time ran out. And my daughter went off on a “soulmate-finder” vacation. Last I heard she’s dating some soccer player in Peru, with “plenty of time to spare” as she put it, the last time we Skyped. My timepiece looks like old and worn, like a leather belt that’s seen better days. I’ve started a great tan-line though. I think I’ll work for a couple more years, settle into retirement and play some golf.
My back. My goddamn back. Slipped a disc at work, and here I am laying in a hospital bed with some old nurse taking care of me. It wouldn’t have happened to a younger man… and I’m not a young man. God, this is stupid but would you believe sitting there all I thought about was this watch? This stupid shitty watch. This stupid shitty life and all these goddamn maybes.
Maybe I should’ve lied about love like my friends in our twenty’s.
Maybe I should’ve spent more time looking for love, than shunning it, ignoring it.
Maybe she wouldn’t have left me, if I knew how to love her back.
If this ticking watch would’ve…
Ticking. Holy SH–
“Gimme some freakin’ space will ya!” I shout, immediately regretting it. This damn nurse.
She gives me a look, a ‘listen asshole, I’ve been doing this too long to put up with your shit’ look.
“Sir,” she says, “I know this is a difficult time for you. You were in a pretty serious accident so your bodies going to need time to repair.”
No stethoscope, she checks my pulse at the wrist. Her hand is warm, it’s… it’s the first time in a while that some-ones been this close. Actually, up close she looks about my age. She stumbles. She gives me a look…I can’t figure it out.
She sighs. I can smell this fragrance. I can’t figure out the brand. I used to be so good at figuring people out, but now… I’m blanking. There’s this weird glow about her and the only thing I can do to keep focused is maintain eye-contact, must be the drugs they’re giving me… I’m trying to capture what’s she’s saying but it drips in and out.
“Alright,” she’s looking at me, she’s studying me… I think. God, I wish I could figure out what’s going on in her head. “It looks like you’re going to be spending a lot of time with me. The hernia is going to leave you bed-ridden and hospitalized quite a while.”
“How much time?” I splurt out, God what is going on with me. I’m sweating. “Am I going to be spending with you… I mean, in the bed”
She speaks in soft tones now, her eyes are this unexplainable shade of greenish blue. Like a whirlpool, and shit, I’m sinking.
“About a month for the hernia…” she says, holding up my hand. Her hand. Our hands, side by side. The show’s over, credits are rolling.
We take the jobs with lots of people around. A clumsy aging delivery driver…arena staff, door-to-door salesman… or a Nurse. No more blank, would you look at that? No more empty space waiting to be filled.
There’s a heart on mine.
A matching one on yours.
You said something after that, something cute I’m sure. Something beautiful and perfect and something so uniquely you. But I wasn’t listening. I was too busy staring into your eyes.
…And we’ll see how it goes from there.