LOCATION: Home Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM
AGENT: CUPID LOVE-JOY
REPORT DATE: 15.02.2018
TIME: 00:10 AM
MATCH RATE: 45%
Finally, after having submitted my annual report for Valentine 2018, I rest on the plush carpet, a soft pink against my midnight curls. This love business, now fully a paper churning machine evil. Every year, a new nightmare rising. The steady influx of unwelcome yet beautifully ambitious young Cupids, slowly ebbing the rest of us old dogs out. I sigh. My emotions, a whirling mess of uncertain waves, crashing against my heart. The dance erratic. Dread charges proudly through my blood. Something was strangely off. What was it? I couldn’t place the feeling but something clung to my soul like a rag wet. Dragging myself from the comforting floor, my blurry eyes burn as I stifle a mammoth yawn. In my serene bedroom of silvery ink, I yank off my stubborn t-shirt. Thoughts scream in my ears. I had never felt this way after any other Valentine. So why this one? In mock jest my plump belly grins up at me with wicked mischievousness. Shrugging, I promise myself that by next year, I will have lost this new-found weight, greedily cuddling my midriff. Yep! no more belly grinning. But right now, I had to turn down this rave, depriving my mind of any peaceful harmony. My insides willing to explode all over the wall. I really doubt that the next tenants would appreciate the art of merry guts hanging over their sleeping heads. With a loud yawn, I crawl under my silk silver sheets, a warm light welcomes.
LOCATION: CupidCo Headquarters, London UNITED KINGDOM
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: SINGLE
RELATIONSHIP OVERVIEW: SUCCESSFULLY MATCHED 14.02.2017
RELATIONSHIP TERMINATION: 6 MONTHS AND 14 DAYS
ASSIGNED CUPID: LOVE-JOY
CUPID INVESTIGATOR: SENIOR CUPID HARTLESS
She twitches ever so slightly, her nerves contagious. I clear my throat intentionally loud. Every single detail, a precise act of deliberate sabotage. I knew my purpose, I would not fail, no matter what presented itself.
“Ms. LM17, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I truly empathise and offer you my sincerest apologies. Please in your own words tell me what exactly has happened during your CupidCo journey. I assure you, I will do my best to rectify the situation.”
Her fidgeting stirring a small annoyance in my usually calm demeanour. I remain silently still. Her sigh, a loud echo in the sterile room. I couldn’t stand the whole Valentine fever. This was my clinical haven and she was pulling on a vortex of emotional energy, I really cared not for. I was ready to shut this down.
“I don’t know what to say. I am still rather flustered. This year, Valentine creeps up on me, filling my heart with a strange ache. I realised I was single, again. Another year, another date. I had already decided, I was not dating anymore this was final in my mind. But, I saw all the usual Valentine fuss and snapped. I had no intention to send any feedback yet there it was in my inbox, teasing me. So I just unleashed my upset on it. It’s not as if anyone particular was bothering me or the company itself. It’s all this love business, I can not make sense of it and I don’t understand why Love-Joy would set me up with such people.”
She stammers, then nervously chews on her lower lip. I smile softly trying to ease her panic. I nod reassuringly for her to continue but inside my head begins to explode in tiny painful sparks.
“I don’t want to complain or get Cupid Love-Joy into any trouble. Will this cause problems?”
I cut her off, I wanted clean endings not pitiful woes.
“Please Madam, answer the questions. At the end there will be opportunity for you to ask your own. This way it will be much easier for you.”
“Of course, of course. I am sorry. Where to begin?”
Her face pensive.
“I hated that another Valentine was here and I was this pathetic, sad loser. Waiting for my one true love. There was no way, I was going on this date. Mind you, I didn’t. I have so many painful memories. I finally decided that I wouldn’t force myself to do it anymore. My heart hurts too much, I can’t fix it. The last relationship broke me. Honestly, it was great, until he was just gone. Then nothing. I never heard from him again. I am so desperately tired of sharing my mind, body, soul and heart with someone for it to inevitably end. I don’t think I have had a single relationship, which has lasted more than 6 months. I mean in the last 7 years, I have had no successful long-term! How pathetic is that? 38 years old, yet still single. What the hell is going on? It’s not as if I am not trying to make my relationships work. I swear, no one would try harder than I do. They simply don’t. I guess, this year when Cupid Love-Joy appeared with my supposed Perfect Match, I smiled and thanked him but on the inside I wanted to vomit. In my heart, I knew it was over. I filled the feedback whilst in reflection about my terrible love experiences. I wanted to vent. This is all I have. Just questions with no one to answer them because clearly I wasn’t even worth that much. I gave it all to my last love. Now, I am empty and tired.”
I stare out of the window, her voice a dull hum in the background. My mind many memories away.
LOCATION: LONDON UNDERGROUND
AGENT: CUPID LOVE-JOY
TIME: 9.07 am
The last 24 hours had been a whirlwind of madness. I should have guessed from the surprise phone call that good news was not going to follow. But in my insanely hopeful optimism, I cancelled my vacation to Bali to come to London as requested. We were not one to disobey orders. Here, I was. Of course, a promotion wasn’t on the cards. Who was I trying to fool? I blink back my tears salty. My entire life commitment shattered in three small words -“you are fired.” Obviously, it was much more of an eloquent fanfare, filled with nonsensical lies. But it was all over. In a flash, my dreams crushed. No farewells. No party. No speeches. I was out on my cold ass, with no shoulder to cry on. The icy wind freezing my tears. I sniffle loudly. And as I reach for my briefcase to find a handkerchief, a strange hissing stirs inside it. Hastily I snap it wide open, to my shock, a rose gold embossed envelope hiccups sprinkling gold glitter everywhere. Where did that come from? I had definitely not put it here. All CupidCo files were highly confidential, I certainly hadn’t seen this mystery before. With trembling fingers, I flick it open. A file flops lazily on to my bemused legs. To my great surprise it was my exit evidence file. I read it quickly. Then read it again. The shameful lies! Fury clings to my skin. How dare they? Just like that, the file randomly floats in the air and sets alight. An ash waterfall crumbles on my clean grey pants.
“LM17.” I mutter under my breath. “Who is LM17?”
Sifting through memory after memory, it eventually dawns on me. LM17 was someone I would never forget. In an instant, I am on restless feet, ready to take charge of this utter mess.
LOCATION: LEEDS YORKSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM
TIME: 1.30 pm
Whilst, I wait patiently, I watch as anxious patients watch the stubborn clock tick by. They were yet to be called. I know it seems drastic, perhaps even rash. I am not trying to excuse my actions, I just knew this was the right thing to do. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t even sure what exactly I was going to say. But, I had to be here. Before, I could get a chance to think of something, the door buzzes open.
“LJ?!” She gasps in utter shock.
I smile showing her my sparkly clean teeth and say in loud cheer.
“Hey! Surprise! I was …”
She gently takes my arm and ushers me behind swinging green doors. I follow her into her office, I presume.
“What are you doing here? This isn’t allowed! I am at work! I have clients! You can’t turn up here without any notice.”
Her voice a pitch high, scratches my poor ears.
“I am sorry, I didn’t mean to barge in here. I needed to talk to you”.
I stop. My breathing laboured suddenly.
“Talk about what? We don’t talk. It is not part of the contract. Please leave. I have appointments, I do not want to do this.”
I hear her irritation, even though she appears superficially composed.
“Sure as hell you don’t want to do this. You saw me two days ago. You could have chosen to tell me the truth about how you felt. But hey ho, you decided not too. Instead you filed a complaint.”
Blood rushes to my face, warming it. She shrinks as if I had struck her. Her body shaking slowly.
“I am sorry. I didn’t intend for that to happen. I can’t explain it.”
Calming myself, I reach out and place a hand on her shoulder.
“Please look at me. I didn’t come here to upset you. I came so I could help you. If you had the courage to speak your truth, I would have helped you. I do not want you to suffer needlessly”
Moist brown eyes meet mossy green ones.
“We are ordered to not advise or counsel our charges. Our job is to offer you a match and then proceed to set your magical encounter up. Nothing more, nothing less. But you, you have always stayed with me. It is not because something is wrong with your matches or that you are unlucky in love.”
Her voice soft, she whispers,
“Great! Absolutely great. So I am cursed. A love failure that you can’t seem to forget, even when you’re fired because of me.”
“This isn’t about anyone else but yourself. You are not a failure. You have been chasing beyond yourself for 7 years. I came today to tell you that, you will not find long-lasting true love until you look within.”
“Oh! It’s all my fault? Nothing to do with jerks who fuck off and never bother to mention they’re just not coming back?”
She snaps, her glare burning holes in my flesh.
“Actually, yes. Yes, yes it is your own fault. You refuse to look at what’s in front of you. Instead you cling to possibilities beyond your control. When they don’t work, you spend unnecessary energy trying to understand why it didn’t work. When the reality is that it didn’t work because you are your own problem. The matches can see that. I am not justifying their actions, not at all. All I am saying, you must heal yourself before you can find a meaningful relationship with depth and substance. Everyone eventually sees the cracks, unfortunately, you can’t. Broken dolls don’t mend on their own. You have to care for them, love them, nourish them. Treat them with the highest respect and kindness. YOU need to do that. No one else will do it. You can say you’re cursed all you want but we both know it’s a lie. You’re scared to face the truth. No one beyond ourselves has the power to heal us.”
She opens her mouth to speak but quickly closes it. Turning on her heel, she steely orders;
“Get out! Do not come back. Ever!”
I let out a heavy sigh.
“You are your own love story. Be your own lover first and foremost. Only then you can command pure love from another. Valentines will come and go. You will be never alone with the most authentic version of yourself. Love will find you, when the moment is right.”
I quietly close the door behind myself.
MESSAGE FROM LM17:
Firstly, I want to apologies for my behaviour and secondly for pestering your CupidCo associate for your details. Thank you for your honesty, you didn’t have to find me but you made the effort to do so. I know initially, I wasn’t having any of it. However, in time I came to understand that you were right. Only, I can write my own love story. I am the centre of it. Yes, Valentines will come and it will go. So will the wrong lover but I will remain the constant. I haven’t got it yet, I am sure in time I will be fine. I hope you are enjoying your new-found freedom although granted you may not have wanted it. I wish you all the very best in your new adventure.
Praying that everyone will learn to love themselves instead of seeking a love outside.
Thank you for the reminder.
Now my life is a wonderful adventure that I had forgotten it once was. The magic pooling in. When it became a slug at CupidCo, I have no idea. All, I know is that I was sleep waking into mundane monotony without even noticing. Slavery. I was a slave. I refuse to be a slave to systems. Love is more than this. Deep down I always knew, yet I was afraid to let go. And if it wasn’t for my chance encounter with LM17, I would be sinking in a rotting hell of capitalistic greed.
However, here I am, beginning my own love story.
Please join me in embracing yourself and finding your own magic.
Love you before me, only then you will love me.