*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here
*contains adult content
I had an amazing time writing Swipe Right; I hope you can relate and smile and laugh with Maddie and her friends in this online story about a newly single girl who takes on today’s idea of a single world.
Warm Wishes and Happy Reading.
I was empty. Everything about me was empty. Even the orgasm I’d just faked had been empty. I looked to my left at a nightstand that didn’t belong to me and there it sat, empty. How did I get here? When had I become this person?
Stepping off the subway, I pulled my jacket tighter around myself to stave off the unnatural brisk chill of the early autumn air. Rolling my eyes at the man who shoved me out of his way I shouted after him, “Excuse you!” He didn’t bother with a reply. “Asshole,” I muttered as I fought my way out into the street to catch the next cab. Standing on the curb with my hand out waving aimlessly at the yellow cars driving past, I felt the first drop of rain splash against my forehead. As the taxi pulled up I heard the familiar text alert, the catchy cliché love song that signalled the dreamy sigh as I stared at the name of the sender of said text message while getting into the back of the car. Quickly telling the driver my address, I opened the message and felt all of the breath get sucked out of my lungs. Blinking, I re-read the short and succinct sentence.
‘Maddie, I can’t do this anymore. It’s just not working – it’s over.’
Really? Because the blow job I gave you last night didn’t feel like anything was over, apart from my lack of interest. Fucking asshole – five years ended over a text message? No sir. Not with this girl. Dialling his number with added force, which on a touch screen didn’t have the same effect as one would hope, I put the phone to my ear and listened to it ring. “Hello?” Was this bastard drunk? His slurred words and lack of apprehension proved all signs pointed to yes.
“What the hell is this text message you just sent me?”
Deep breaths. “Yes, Aaron.”
“Oh, Maddie. Listen, it’s just not working anymore babe. You know that.”
“No, I don’t! What the hell are you talking about? You haven’t said anything to me, this is coming out of nowhere!” I felt my eyes fill with tears as my heart broke with every word.
“Aaron, we’ve been together for five years. I moved to San Francisco for you. Because we had all of these plans.”
“Yeah well, sometimes plans change.” I let out a breath of disbelief as the tears started hot and angry down my cheeks. Then I heard it, female laughter. “Gotta go, babe.” Listening to the call end, I threw my phone onto the seat beside me as I stared up at the cloth ceiling of the car and bit my lip against the sobs trying to escape.
“Are you okay?” The taxi driver’s voice was quiet and sympathetic which was appreciated on some level. I nodded my head hoping he would speed up and take me home. I wanted to crawl into bed until I felt nothing. The last five years flashed before me, the day we met in high school; Aaron was the bad boy, the one that drove the cool car, threw the best parties, and got any girl he wanted. Including me. After high school we went to the same college then when he got an internship turned career, I followed him to the Golden Gate Bridge and never looked back. Travelling a lot for work, Aaron would stay with me when he was in town and my other bedroom in my two bedroom apartment was occupied by my roommate turned one of my best friends, Jamie. I watched it all crumble; in a twenty minute car ride, I watched the last five years of my life shatter until it was a pile of rubble.
“Miss, we’re here.” Hastily wiping my cheeks, I reached over to grab my purse, pulling out my wallet.
“This one is on me.”
I looked at him as if he had two heads, hoping some of my deep rooted gratitude showed. “Thank you.” The rain had started to pour; looking up to the sky I couldn’t tell the difference anymore between my own tears and that of the cliché that was teeming down on me. Soaking wet, because of course, why wouldn’t it be raining, thanks Mother Nature, it’s not like I needed a pick–me-up right now, I walked inside and climbed the old staircase that led to my apartment.
Oh Jesus fuck. No. My next door neighbor heard my angry, sluggish footsteps and came barreling out of his apartment. I didn’t want to have time for this. The rollercoaster of my emotions right now meant he was prey in shark infested waters. I stood on the top step and lifted my head to look at him. “Whoa, have you been crying?”
“No Darryl, it’s raining.” I stared at his black t shirt of some rock and roll band that faded into existence twenty years ago, the seams of the faded black material split, showing skin so white I would put money on it never having seen the sun. Darryl was a lonely divorced man, still living through his prime of winning one of those local child rock star competitions from when he was fourteen. He was now forty-five. He was the definition of lonely and while most days I would humor his exaggerated stories, today wasn’t one of them. As he opened his mouth I opened my door before we both simultaneously closed both the door and the mouth. I stood there for a minute and leaned my head against the hard wood pane.
“Hey girl! You’re…” I opened my red, swollen eyes at her and watched as her smile immediately faded. “Shit, you’re crying. Sit down, I’ll get the wine.” God love alcoholic friends. Dropping my jacket on the floor, I slumped down into the sofa, my hand immediately filled with a chilled glass of New Zealand Sauvignon. I put it to my lips and drained that bitch. It was instantly refilled. “Okay,” Jamie started, moving to sit beside me. “Start from the beginning.” And thus started the three stages of a break up.
Stage one – sadness.
Recounting my dramatic sordid tale, with a few pauses for a new wave of tears and two refills, I sat there trying to catch my breath from the aftershocks of crying too much. “Oh my god, what an asshole. Who does that? He’s a fucking prick; I always thought you were too good for him anyways, you deserve so much better than that gutter rat.” The trash talking made me feel slightly better, the vehemence in her voice was quite believable which made me wonder, if she thought all these things, why didn’t she tell me sooner? Before I could ask my glass was refilled and I found myself losing count of my wine intake after another bottle was opened. “You know what we should do?”
“Eat some chocolate?”
“No – we should go into your room and pack up all his shit. It would be like a cleansing.” Cleansings were in, everyone was cleansing. Drinking green juices and cutting out bread. When was the last time I had bread? Who the fuck cuts out bread? Bread was the root of all happiness. But we cut out bread because that’s what everyone else did and it made you fat. You know what else made you fat, emotional eating after a breakup. And fuck that, I didn’t cut out bread to be fat.
“Yes, fill up my glass – let’s detox.”
Stage two – anger.
Stage one was short lived, but it would come back around, it always did.
I opened my closet, glass of wine in hand, and pulled the empty storage box from the top shelf. Placing it in the middle of the floor, I ripped the sweaters off the hangers and threw them in. Because, fuck folding. Next went the jeans and shoes, his favourite pair of shoes may have found themselves in the trash. Jamie was in charge of the stuffed animals and whatever mementos that signified the douchebag. Somewhere in the middle of our cleanse we ordered Chinese food and while we waited, the creativity bug chose that opportunity to bite. Feeling artistic, we built a collage placing every photo I had displayed into the box. Right on top. Each one was of course altered with sharpies – mustaches, devil horns, a giant X over his face – we just went with it and let our inner artist free. I thought we should entitle our work, Practically Picasso.
Chinese came, none too soon. Running only on emotions and two bottles of wine, we each needed something to soak them up. Taping the box shut and effectively labelling it THE END I sat with a bowl of noodles in front of me as I opened my laptop while Jamie found the volume nob on the speaker. Facebook opened automatically and as was my reaction almost every time I opened the site, I rolled my eyes and huffed a breath at just the first few posts on my newsfeed. “What is it about social media?”
“What do you mean?” Jamie asked, laughing. Because with wine, everything was funny.
“Look, why? Why does everyone post pictures of their dinner? I don’t want to do that. I don’t care. Should I be caring? I don’t. I can’t. I don’t care.”
“Sounds like you just answered your own question. Oh my god – lightbulb! Do you know what you should do?”
“Post a picture of my noodles?”
“No. I mean, you’d probably get twenty likes for it, but no. We should create an online dating account for you!”
I stared at her like she had two heads. Twenty likes? For noodles? She’d obviously drank too much. “Dude, he just broke up with me like five hours ago.” I blew out a rough breath and fell onto the bed beside her. I felt it hit me again the minute my chin started to quiver. I felt the hot streak of silent tears down my cheek. Pulling the pillow under me I instinctively crawled into the fetal position and let myself fall back into stage one. I could almost feel Jamie’s concern as she big spooned me, pulling the blanket over both of us. Nothing else needed to be said and she let me cry until my eyes burned and I had nothing left but to surrender to sleep.
*tomorrow – Chapter Two