An Unofficial Surprise
My eyes struggle through sticky mascara to open and settle on my red dress, now crumpled on the floor next to the bed. A bed I don’t know in a place I’ve never been. Slowly a little smile sneaks its way from one side of my kiss-plumped lips to the other. This was not how my first date with New Guy was supposed to end but my reckless abandon of appearing aloof and mysterious has resulted in a very sweet and surreal Sunday morning. He sleeps… and I slip quietly out of the duvet.
It’s still not there, and I already feel stupid for thinking it would magically appear in my bag. My green floral vintage wallet and all of its valuable contents misplaced somewhere between caipirinhas, taxi rides and blissful distraction. Drivers license, prescriptions, credit cards, birthday money, Video Spot card, medical aid card, Gautrain card… all gone. It’s about 22 seconds before typical Carly neurosis begins its niggling and twisty ways but then I look back at the bed and decide that I don’t really need to deal with anything right this very second.
There’s some place I’d rather be.
On my way to the dreaded traffic department I begin thinking about all the paperwork and signatures and fingerprints I’m going to have to do in the next few days to get my life back. First here, with another stupid drivers license photo, then at the bank with a ka-jillion signatures, then on Thursday when I have to sign the final documents for my bond. It all becomes so real, in black ink, on paper. But how does it work in real life, where nothing is on a system, where you don’t need a witness signature or an official stamp to say you are who you are. And when it comes to relationships, who takes the random and puts it into a memorandum that both parties can agree to.
Lee: “It’s only official when it’s on Facebook.”
My sisters chime in as I tell them about my slumber party with New Guy.
Carly: “It’s early days, woah. No one’s dropping any L-bombs just yet. Because that’s insane…. Obviously.”
Lee: “He’s my favourite.”
Carly: “Shut up, you’re making this worse. I think I’ve ruined it.”
Alex: “You always say that.”
How did this work 6 years ago when I was dating? Had I been out of the loop for that long?
“Initial every page, then sign the last one.”
Another wad of paper is pounded in front of me. The ginormous weight of responsibility smugly looking back at me from the cheap pine table in the attorney’s office. I’m probably supposed to read it all but my wrist is already cramping and I convince myself I’m much better at busking as I go than dancing in the detail. Probably the wrong attitude for signing life insurance but the right one for policies of the heart.
If only relationships came with insurance or guarantees. We could calculate the risks and and put an official measure of just how much potential damage we are getting ourselves into. You’d know exactly how much Vodka to stock in your bar and you could have an emergency stash of Rom Coms, Coldplay, cookie dough ice cream and unlimited self-loathing time with the girls.
My phone, now the apex of my entire universe goes off signaling the high point of my day. New Guy. A dorkish giggle and everyone, including myself, knows I’m in trouble. Another dress on the floor, another slumber party and another night of complete disregard for the rules and regulations. Being in a grey area never felt so good.
So what if, when the right person came along, you chose to wright it all down in pencil. To see where each grainy cursive stroke took you. Sketching scribbles and smudging along dotted lines seems more fun than black capitals in the lines marked X. Maybe new adventures don’t have a definite yes or no column. Maybe the risk of it all is worth the unofficial surprise of falling in love and allowing little chunks of your heart to become someone else’s property in a non-verbal agreement.
I can live with that. But I’m stocking up on Vodka. Just incase.