A mirror. An image. A black dress. A cold night. This level of cold turns her into sailor. She curses as she straightens her dress. It’s freaking cold. Damn it. A man somewhere among the 7 billion of us gave her his rib and then forgot what she looks like. That’s the fable making rounds. In exchange for his rib, she is to obey, love and make children with this man. But she is yet to meet him.

As the tale articulates, he charges dragons, follows her delightful voice to her fortress where he uses her long hair to climb up and rescue her from the confines of lonely nights. Okay, that’s a different tale. She has never seen a dragon (disregard khalessi’s dragons in Game of thrones). Her voice wouldn’t charm a snake out of a cave and if anyone tried to climb her hair, well, he would have to be a miniature dwarf. Come to think of it, when is the last time you saw a dwarf? Is there a dwarf shortage? Maybe there is an island..

I digress. It wouldn’t be Romeo either. That wimp. The love ‘story’ was three days long and ended up in misery and death. Hence it is more likely that she will encounter him in a noisy, crowded club where he might refer to her as ‘mtoto’. (Morbid sigh). He left her no forwarding address to send his lost rib to. So she has to meet all these people and compare ribs. We call it dating. This is a situation where we fake understanding of topics that are laborious to even think about.

There once lived a doctor that I really liked. He looked good and his voice was even better. He corked his head up to his left when he laughed, something that deeply allured me.  On a date with him, I asked how his day had been and he told me he had attended to a man with epididymitis. A bit confused, I couldn’t tell what that was. “Epididymitis can really cause pain in your shoulders,” I replied. What! Ladies might need to google this. That is how I went down in his books as a half wit who could try drowning fish.

It was last Friday evening. She stroked her face and moved her fingers in round soft delicate circles. She preferred using her fingers. It felt good but she wished a professional was doing it. It was her first time applying foundation; YSL, a Christmas gift. The result was a spotless, baby smooth face. The zit that had made its monthly appearance was gone. A tube of red lipstick curved the outline of her lower lip and then the upper lip. She rubbed her lips together, before smiling at her own reflection. Standing in front of her bathroom mirror, she felt like an alien in her own skin. Almost insentient.  It was a date, but she felt as if she was a detective going undercover, in search of a rib. A wig with black bangs over her forehead and glasses would have completed this restrained illusion. But she doesn’t own wigs. With make-up on, she was terra incognita. And five minutes early.

She sat on the sofa waiting as she watched TV. Exactly five minutes later, her phone which was on her thigh, started vibrating. She just watched it ring, unmoved. See, she greatly suspected that it was not his rib she carried. But he was kind, good looking and he laughed at her bad jokes. That was grounds to at least try. To put him through the wringer. She called him back. He was at the parking lot of her hotel (She had been staying in a hotel room for the last few months, long story). She asked him to come up for a glass of wine.

When she opened the door, he looked at her in the eye, then at her dress, down to her shoes. Assessing the prey I suppose. She maintained eye contact. This stud, immaculately polished, would be appraised later, without him realizing. He looked good, too good. But she couldn’t be bought for a song. Experience had taught her that  lesson.

He bent his face and lips met cheeks in two awkward pecks as is cultural. On his left hand, he held a bottle of ‘du hayot’ white wine, 2004. He placed it on the table and in that sexy French drawl, explained that they would be late for their reservation and so they left.

Dinner went well. She laughed. He did too. Albeit, restrained. She saw it. She felt it. The big If and When. She was having a good time. She didn’t have a care in the world. In these first days, she wore the big pants. She sat at the power table. He had to assent. That was the unspoken rule, until she let him remove her knickers, if ever. Why was he anxious? Leaving her to rummage her mind for topics to talk about. ‘When’ was definitely not today. Surely, he knew this. Why then was he uptight? Why were the thoughts in his mind threatening to spill to the table? Still, the date went well.

It was past midnight by the time they got back to her doorstep. Then without warning, just as she was bending to fumble for her hotel key from her clutch bag, he dived for a stolen kiss. Or something like it. Tongue met lips and nose wetting the entire region and barring her from breathing. Then hands grabbed the back of her head imprisoning her to his torture. Tongue moved over her mouth, swathing her lips, nose and cheeks with saliva. She tried pulling her head back gently. He held fast.

Was this how she was going to die? Drowning and choking at the same time? She pulled her head back more urgently. She needed to breathe, and stop this, whatever he thought it was. Just then, a big tongue was thrust deep into her mouth. Confusion, panic and determination to come out of it alive overtook her mind. She pulled back hard. He hang on. Then just as suddenly as he had grabbed her, he let go. Afraid of taking in a breath with all that saliva covering her nostrils, she quickly run her palm over her nose and mouth.

Dazed, from shock, she stared at him. He smiled back and softly uttered wow under his breath. Wow? What planet was this man from? How could he look so good and kiss so badly? His clandestine flaw was out. He was a simulation. A model of an oxymoron. She had to get inside her room, quick, or break the emergency glass behind him. The door was closer. She slid the key inside the lock and heard the latch click open. She whispered a quick goodnight and almost run inside, to safety. Then, she inadvertently banged the door at his face.

Safely inside, she waited and heard the elevator door close outside her hotel room. What the hell had just happened? Tired, she dropped her head to her palms. Shoulders began to tremble. Giggles turned to full blown laughter. Maybe, he was looking for his lost rib too, just like she was seeking to find her donor.

That lady was me. That man was friend-zoned. The last look though, the innocence of the smile, seemed all too sincere. It strung something. He had given his best, and his best I almost ridiculed. Maybe he didn’t realize. So when he called me later on, I picked on the first ring. He was still kind and still laughed at my bad jokes. His allure however, had ebbed away. I knew things by, you know, word of mouth(unintended). I will call to check up on him later on. But also to gather tales of his search for his rib. Further efforts won’t amount to a bucket of spit (again, not intended).