“And then we danced the macarena, naked, in front of the bay windows,” I grinned. “Dad almost killed us when he discovered us.”
My older brother, his girlfriend, and my younger brothers all laughed at the story, my brother’s girlfriend most of all. It is a sibling’s love to expose the faults of their kin before their significant others. How else is one supposed to verify whether a suitor’s love is true?
The couple snuggled closer, in unaware and unabashed affection. “You know, Kyric,” my brother said, “You should really get a girlfriend. This is true happiness.”
With the sudden realization thrust upon me that I had spent my last twenty odd years unhappy, all I could do was mask my reeling thoughts with pathetic laughter.
“Are there any girls you’re interested in?” my brother’s girlfriend leaned in, drawn by the prospect of further romance.
My droll eyeroll said all I needed. As the undisputed most eligible bachelor in my family, it is my curse to have my relationship status inquired of at least once in any conversation held with a family member. They ask whether I’ve met any cute girls by which they mean have I asked out any cute girls by which they instead mean can I please have cute babies with cute girls. After marriage, of course.
But at the time Thanksgiving had come, and the thought of food was more important. Still, the thought was there, digesting with the food.
Theirs was, admittedly, a valid point. My days were numbered. College had ended, taking my best prospects of finding someone. I had eyes. I saw couples all over, enjoying their time together. I couldn’t say I didn’t want it at some point. When the stars aligned, or a girl was available, or it was a Tuesday. When everything was perfect.
I had to think about it. A lot. The decision was not to be made lightly. My psyche needed boosting, preparation. It took a few days, but I finally came to a realization. I could have a girlfriend whenever I wanted. I was a writer, by Zeus!
Weeks passed. Fortunately, I was too busy working at a frozen yogurt shop to cry. Tears could have been a health violation.
One slow, early December night, as I lounged against the counter, she opened the door. Brown hair spilled to her shoulders beneath her green cap. Brighter green eyes met mine as she stepped to the counter. “Is Jamie here?”
My coworker burst from the back. “Allie!”
Allie’s brow crinkled as she squeezed joy from effervescent laughter. I drank it in as the two girls hugged and launched into a flurry of conversation. Since they made no comment on my presence, I listened too.
The conversation was far too short, but I had heard enough. Allie was a Calvin student, and only a few years younger than me. As casually as an introvert could and with an absurd amount of courage, I asked if they might want to watch a movie with me. Sometime. When they agreed, I could hardly believe my good fortune.
The movie was fine, better yet was Allie’s laughter at my snarky commentary. Afterwards, we got ice cream and talked for another hour or so. When we parted ways, I had Allie’s phone number and a promise to do this again.
Happiness found us the next few weeks. We chatted, hung out, got to know each other. Her actual name was Alice DeGroot. She was from Detroit, studying Biology in the hopes of becoming a nurse. She liked reading and knitting. Her favorite color was orange. Over Christmas, she, her parents and two younger brothers were planning on going to Germany, where they had “those goofy accents.” Discovering each new piece of her was a treasure only surpassed by the next discovery. It did not take too long before she agreed to make our relationship official.
My joy could not be contained. I had to tell my family. But I couldn’t just tell them. That was too boring. I toyed with telling them at Christmas, making it one final surprise gift to them all. But I couldn’t wait. I needed to view their reactions.
As it so happened, I had another plan. A beautiful, three-step masterpiece.
First, I needed Allie’s awareness of and agreement to the plan. Those were easily enough secured. If anything, she was more excited than I.
Five days before Christmas I launched the final part of my operation. I sat at my computer, opened Facebook at a prime viewing hour, typed, “That indescribable rush when your crush agrees to go out with you,” tagged myself at Calvin, and waited.
I did not have to wait long. Family and friends flocked to my post, sharing congratulations and excitement. My brother and his girlfriend literally screamed with euphoria, they gushed to me. Everyone had dialed in to my glorious announcement.
Just as keikaku. (Translator’s note: ‘keikaku’ means ‘planned’).
I let them simmer for a bit, then posted, “Do you want to see a picture of us?”
This comment was met with even more enthusiasm. “Show us!” they demanded. “We want to see her!”
And so, using the photo I had obtained beforehand for the second phase of my operation, I uploaded the picture you will find at the bottom of the article.
The flood of comments ceased momentarily. Then, the responses poured in, better than I could ever imagine.
“That’s not fair.”
“What even is that?”
“I can’t believe this.”
“Goodness gracious, Kyric.”
“You tricked me!”
“We were so happy. Why?”
“I suppose you think you’re terribly clever.”
On and on it went, fueling my boisterous glee. All my careful planning, my meticulous tactics, my realization of the improbable to pull off such an ingenious stratagem had rewarded me. Many dreams had been shattered in that moment, but I was quickly forgiven. Many even laughed with me when they opened themselves to the humor of the situation.
“Now we’ll just have to try harder to find you a girlfriend,” they all promised. I still laugh it away. Within my soul sits a deeper realization, a belief willed into a way of life.
You don’t necessarily need a significant other to be happy. Imagination, a well-told story, and some people to share it with will do just fine.