At 2 a.m. Jaye turned the deadbolt and slumped to the floor of her apartment. She had just survived her 13th bad date. “Killer good looks” turned out to be a killer bore. Worse, his name was actually Kill and he talked nonstop about himself in the third person until Jaye thought she might pass out.
“Kill doesn’t believe that Perfect Match Dating Service is using the right algorithm on Kill’s profile,” Kill had narrowed his eyes while inspecting Jaye as if she were a bug pinned to foam core board for his personal scrutiny. “Nevertheless, Kill will take Jaye to Mother’s for dinner.”
Mother’s was a new restaurant in the city that served comfort food. Jaye had been dying to try it, so maybe this date wouldn’t be all bad. They headed east out of her neighborhood in Kill’s underpowered Subaru Justy. When Kill drove past the downtown exit, Jaye got a sick feeling in her stomach. Two hours later, they pulled up in front of the Lazy Daze Independent Living Apartments where Kill’s mother lived. Mother had forgotten to expect company. When Jaye suggested they go out for dinner, two pairs of eyes frowned at her.
“Waste of money.” Mother plunked her sizeable bottom down into the depression in the sofa.
“Kill will find something in the freezer.” Kill rummaged through boxes stuck together by layers of ice. “Mother, has your power been out again?”
“Jaye will set the table.” Jaye prayed to God for grace to get through the evening. She prayed that the macaroni and cheese Kill unearthed from the bowels of the freezer was not more than a decade passed its expiration date. Back in her apartment seven hours later she thanked Jesus and vowed to give up her search for love.
A week later Solomon was wiping down the front counter at the Beanpunk Café when he saw Jaye come through the doors. He stashed the dishrag and started on her favorite brew, a Cupola Joe. His temperature shot up like steam rising from the espresso machine. His heart strummed the chords to Bryan Adams Did You Ever Really Love a Woman. Uh oh, Jaye was standing in front of him looking into his face, soft blue eyes wide with wonder, glossy pink lips parting to form a word of thanks for the mug he placed in her hand as if it were a warm kitten, as if it were love itself.
“Thank you Sol, you always remember.”
“There’s something else I remembered.” Solomon reached inside the pocket of his Westport striped trousers and pulled out a small gift box wrapped in flowered paper. “Happy Birthday, Jaye.” Solomon gave her a heartbreaking smile and then pulled his attention away to focus on the long line that had formed behind her.
“What is it?” Elle asked when her friend joined her on their favorite leather couch in the middle of the busy café. It was a woven leather bracelet that fastened with a braided heart.
On their 13th date Jaye discovered that Sol was also signed up with the Perfect Match Dating Service. “Why were we never matched?” Jaye wound her fingers around her beloved’s hand resting on her knee. They were sharing a plum pudding on a Victorian plate during intermission at a cabaret performance of the Bronte sisters’ works.
“A computer searches what you say you want and tries to match that with what another person thinks they need.” Then Sol leaned over, brushed aside a curl of Jaye’s flaxen hair and whispered in her ear, “but the heart is the engine that drives people into each other’s arms.”
I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares: I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him but found him not. The watchmen found me as they went about in the city. “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves.
Solomon 3:2-4 (ESV)
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