by Thom Garrett and Danna Colman
She stood in front of her bedroom mirror going over every inch of herself. She looked years younger than her age, but for what she was about to experience, she wished she could shed another ten years and ten pounds. When she didn’t care, she had spent her nights drinking wine and eating all the bread, cheese and pasta she had avoided most of her life. So since their online meeting and decision to meet for two weeks in the spring, she had put herself on a restricted diet — no wine, bread, cheese or pasta since January. Still, if she had the time, she would lose another ten.
She continued to look in the mirror as she dressed for her first meeting with the stranger she had talked to on the telephone for six months. This afternoon will be the first time they will see each other in person, and she could feel her anxiety in every part of her body as she readied herself, adding each article of clothing, watching herself come together.
She had promised him she wouldn’t hold back as she had in the past. And so far, if the almost one thousand hours on the telephone falling head over heels in love were a good indication of their future, she was ready. She would give him all of her, and in return, she would accept everything he had to offer.
She checked the time on her phone as she called for a cab and wondered how different she’d seem to him and how different he’d be to her. She studied herself in the mirror again. Four o’clock couldn’t come soon enough. One last glance. She smiled. She felt ready.
He stood in front of the mirror in the airport Men’s room taking inventory one last time of all the details he had never cared about until he cared about her. With his bald head and gray beard, he looked every bit his age and more, but he had worked out religiously over the past few months, and he knew he was in pretty good shape. For a man his age. There was nothing he could do about his skinny arms, but at least he had shed that stomach he had acquired when he stopped caring.
He studied his clothes, stressing beyond reason as he painstakingly tried to look casual. Shirt out, sleeves rolled. This will be their first face-to-face, putting all imagined details to rest. He was so nervous he had an unrelenting buzz between his ears and felt as if he might be sick.
He had spoken with such bravado about the freedom of risking everything for love, about jumping off the cliff with no wings and no net. He’d meant every word, but could he really do it? He tried to clear his head and focus on her, this amazing woman he was about to meet. After almost a thousand hours on the phone, they knew each other better than most couples, and they had fallen more deeply in love every day. She was perfect for him. Yes, he could risk everything for her. He would hold nothing back. He would offer her everything he had and hope it would be enough.
He nervously pulled his phone from his pocket, checked the time, and used the app to call Uber. Then, for the hundredth time, he wondered if he could be as relaxed with her in person, and if she would like him just as much as she had on the phone. He studied himself in the mirror again. Four o’clock couldn’t come soon enough. One last glance. He smiled. He felt ready.