Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 5
Lierna Farthingale hated speed dating. She hated it with a passion surpassed only by her desire to finally find a man. Unfortunately, though she got a chance to exercise her hatred of speed dating virtually every Tuesday night, she didn’t get a chance to exercise any other kind of passion…well…ever.
It didn’t make sense. Jacob thought she was a real catch. Fernando thought she was a real catch. And since Jacob and Fernando had both found love, she felt as though she could count on their opinions. Of course, she also felt as though if Jacob and Fernando hadn’t found love with each other, she would have that many more romantic options. But thinking through that further, she’d also have that many fewer friends, and after however many weeks of rejection from the speed dating crowd, she definitely appreciated having a shoulder to lean on.
Lierna had tried everything to make herself stand out. She’d done her best to present her perfect arms, her long legs, in the best possible light. On her more desperate days, she’d even gone so far as to try and show off her—ahem—seat. But nothing seemed to work.
“Have you tried singles websites?” offered Jacob, at their now weekly Wednesday meet-up for ice cream. Lierna had by now worked her way through more than half the flavours. Jacob had gone for raspberry ripple every single time.
Lierna mumbled something about not “doing digital.” She’d never really got the hang of the whole internet thing.
“What about taking up a dance class?” Fernando asked over his low-fat froghurt. “It’s fun, it’s good for you, you get to meet lots of people…”
“I can’t,” said Lierna. “I literally can’t. I literally have two left feet.”
There was an awkward pause. Lierna stared at her butterscotch choc chip supreme, beginning to pool unappetisingly at the bottom of the bowl.
“Did you two meet at some kind of class, then?” she asked at last.
Fernando laughed. Jacob went a bit red.
“Not exactly,” said Fernando.
“I…uh…may have knocked him off his bike at a busy roundabout.” Jacob grinned sheepishly. “The one near Sainsbury’s,” he added, as though that made any difference.
“You might say I fell for him the moment we met!”
They shared a laugh, though Lierna got the feeling they must have got a lot of mileage out of that joke already. She just felt sort of glum. She’d always sort of hoped that cracking this dating thing would be a matter of pinning down the right technique and then sticking with it. But the way Jacob and Fernando had met…it seemed like the kind of thing that would be virtually impossible to engineer, and definitely unwise to try. Also she didn’t have a car.
“What’s up?” asked Jacob, clearly sensing something amiss.
“I don’t know…” Lierna sighed. “It’s just…in the whole time I’ve been trying speed dating I don’t think I’ve really made an impression on anyone. And it’s worse than that: I actually think I’ve been there so many times now that I’m starting to look like part of the furniture!”
“I’m sure that’s not…”
“Yesterday, this other woman came along and sat down on me.”
“Well,” said Fernando, “you are a chair.”
Jacob glowered at him.
“What?” asked Fernando. “Somebody had to say it?”