"Hmm," I sigh thinking of how this is the nth version of the same discussion I've had with men for almost a decade, then calmly, "I'm going to go with 24. Maybe turning 25." Mr. X is tickled,"Is it THAT obvious?" he laughs.
"Well," I admit, "there ARE telltale signs. Either that or I'm just very good with numbers. You know being half Chinese and all. Though don't ask me to do the casino for you." He finds all this funny and tells me he thinks he has an idea of my age.
"You do?," I mock surprise. "Pray tell, DO share with us this divine number you've pulled out from THAT place I'm too much of a lady to mention." Mr. X hoots at this,"Eeeerm, well. Judging from your photo, you've got to be 28. Or 27."
"Oh, dear." I murmur with concern. "You'd better sit down for this then. Either that, or prepare to tank this whole endeavor." Giggling, he ushers me to go on so I do. "I'm actually 41, X." I hear the laughter immediately die down to a shocked silence.
"Testing, testing..one, two, three," I prod tapping the phone with a finger. "Are you still there? Are you ok? Have you fainted?" I hear Mr. X croak on the other line then try to catch his breath, "But you CAN'T be 41, I mean, seriously you sound, look, act nothing like it. Are you sure?" he asks me as if I'd just caught a disease and the lab results were faulty.
Mr. X recovers, still laughing at my flip remarks but it's obvious the repartee has deflated as his brain tries desperately to catch up with the fresh revelation. I closed my eyes and bit my lip, already hating that I'd miss the fact that somehow when I did speak with Mr. X, time would fly by swallowed by some kind of Wonderland magically appearing between the inane and the deep of whatever we were chattering about.
It happened a few times before, where half an hour would disappear and I'd be shooing him off the phone, frantic that I'd lost time at work. I shook my hair like a neighing mare to break myself from it. And to remind myself, it's all just too temporary. Of course, he was piqued. At first.
But now I'd served that curiosity a healthy helping of the truth. This is the first thing you need to know about me, I think, before you go on spending your time tunneling your way to me. I taste something a little bitter on my tongue, did I just imagine it? Maybe. This was a non-negotiable policy I practiced without fail. If it scared him now, then it would save us a world of pain later. Mr. X, I notice, is not very good at covering up his consternation and I'm not sure to what extent he's processed this. I decide to give him a break and conveniently excuse myself.
I reckoned now that Mr. X had pegged me as his dragon, even if the slaying would come to not much else but wordplay. Perhaps he could provide the words that were so spare with B, and that would be fine? Now, I looked at the text he sent that read, "What is your pole position at the beach, I need your address for tomorrow. Look for the hat."
I reply back, "I thought your appearance was just a rumor. Like the second coming of Christ. R u serious?" Mr. X reassures me he is, and that while he made no promises about time, tells me to be sure I'm free the rest of the day. "I'm cycling down there." he texts.
This makes me incredulous. "All the way from Hollywood??" I ask, but I catch the joke in time, "Oh, I get it. You're going to do a Holy Ghost and be here in spirit. So really, it'll be a floating hat and not much else." Mr. X laughs at this and tells me he'll be in touch again tomorrow. I snort disbelievingly to myself, if he thinks he's going to jack up my Saturday with some obscure plan, he'd have another thing coming. I was going to work in the morning, run errands and meet with Sinbad, my carpet guy to go over swatches.
The rest of the day was resolutely mine and I was determined NOT to fester over B or the likes of the itinerant Mr. X.