Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ASKEW (06/07/18)
TITLE: The Dating Site
By Leola Ogle
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Thirty-year-old Lindsey was ready for romance. Fear of the unknown filled her with anxiety. She’d never had a boyfriend. Never been on a date. Her parents were missionaries in Africa when she was born. When Tommy was born, the mission board sent them home.
Lindsey chewed a fingernail, inhaled, and clicked on the winky-eye. A picture and bio opened. Louis Connor. She glanced at the picture – handsome guy – and went immediately to his bio. Thirty-two, widowed with an eight-year-old daughter, and youth pastor at a small church.
Hm. Young to be widowed. Lindsey was curious. She went back to his picture. Wait! What? There was something off about his face. Lindsey scrunched her eyebrows in perplexity and leaned closer to the computer screen. She tapped the little magnifying glass and the face filled the screen.
His eyes were askew. One was slightly higher on his face. His nose was crooked and his mouth only curled in a smile on one side. Weird.
Lindsey turned off the computer and decided to wait for someone else to contact her. As she got ready for bed, she studied her reflection in the mirror. Who was she to be picky? She wasn’t gorgeous. Freckled, her mouth was too large, one green eye, one brown, and dull auburn hair. If only she had a clue about make-up and hairstyles.
She dreamed that night about lopsided eyes watching her. When she awoke the next morning, her first thoughts were of Louis. She felt guilty for judging him on his lopsided face. She decided to send him a kissy-face.
Noon rolled around without a response. It was Saturday, so maybe Louis had plans with his daughter. An hour later, the message icon was flashing on her profile page. Butterflies raced in her stomach. She opened it.
“Hello, Lindsey. Nice to connect. I see your parents were missionaries and you were born in Africa. That would make for interesting conversation. What do you do now? Louis.”
Lindsey’s heart fluttered. She wasn’t sure what to say. Laura had been coaching her, but still.
“Hi, Louis. My sister, Laura, was two when my parents went to Africa. I was born a year later. I was five when my brother, Tommy, was born with Down’s syndrome and heart problems. The mission board felt he would not get adequate medical care and made us return home. My father passed when I was sixteen and my mother had a breakdown. Laura was engaged so it was my responsibility to care for Mom and Tommy. Now I am a school teacher. I see you’re widowed. How sad.”
Lindsey hovered over the keyboard. Was it too much information? She grimaced and hit reply.
Thirty minutes and no answer. Lindsey wanted to cry. Laura was so confident this dating site was the answer for marriage for her. All Lindsey felt was awkward, inept, and foolish.
Lindsey started. The message icon was flashing.
“Sorry, Lindsey. Hannah, my daughter, had a play date and her friend just left. Yes, I’m widowed. Five years ago we were hit by a drunk driver. My wife, Marcy was killed. I had a severe head injury and almost died. Hanna was unhurt, praise God. My friends told me I need to move on and date. I’m really nervous about dating. Silly, huh? How’s your mom and brother now.”
Head injury. That would explain the facial features. Compassion surged through Lindsey.
“I am so very sorry for your loss. I understand being nervous. I’m totally inexperienced about dating. By the time I was old enough to date, I had the care of my mom and brother for years. Mom got professional help, and lots of prayer. She and my brother are doing great now. They live close. You’re my first connection.”
“Your first? Awesome. I’ve had three winky-eyes but you’re the first I’ve been interested in. Confession time. My profile picture – my friends called me Askew Lou. It was taken before my reconstructive surgery. I used that picture on purpose. I prayed for someone who would see beyond looks. I hope it’s not too soon to ask you to dinner with me and Hannah.”
Lindsey smiled. “I would love it.”
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