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Boy: So what should I get her? Some red roses? A necklace with a moon pendant? That’d be clever, wouldn’t it, and romantic too.

Me: Must your lover be doomed to either receive a wilting bouquet symbolising love or have your love for her compared to a dull satellite that waxes and wanes?

Boy: Are you always like this? It must be exhausting.

Me: Exhausting? I find it most exhilarating; don’t you? 

Me, to a younger woman after a scene with a disgruntled male customer: You’ll find that when not given whatever it is that they wanted immediately and gladly, men tend to revert to a toddler-like state.

Person: What about your father? You never talk about him.

Me: My parents divorced before I was born, so it’s always been me and my mum, just the two of us.

Person: Oh I’m sorry.

Me: I’m not, so please don’t feel sorry on my behalf. I don’t feel sorry for myself, never have, never will.

Person: It must’ve been hard?

Me: Not all all. My mother loves me more than I could ever deserve, so I had everything I needed, everything I wanted. It was more than enough. Besides, this single-parent household thing is what’s normal to me, not living with a father under the roof. That’d be weird. And totally unimaginable. I don’t even want to think about it.

Person: Is that why you are so pessimistic about love and marriage? It does make sense now that I know.

Me: Well, depends on how you see it. I don’t think my parents’ divorce—and all the other miserable business in my family—made me the way I am. I made me. I’ve always seen the world, and my personal life in particular, through lenses tinted with hopelessness and despair—I’m probably the saddest bitch you know. I was emo/gothic back in the day. Even now, I’m drawn to darkness and melancholy. Once emo, always emo, I guess.

Person: You know, things might be different for you, they might work out and before you know it, you are happily married, a family in the works!

Me: I highly doubt it. I can’t see myself as a bride or a wife or a mother. Or, I can, but the most prominent image is that of me dashing out of the house in the dead of night, child in my arms, running away for good. Or, if it’s not the husband, it’s me, either stuffing shit up as per usual and/or passing depressive genes to our unborn child, which in turn will stuff them up…but that’s my anxiety talking—I don’t even have a boyfriend, let along a husband. I’ll most likely die alone, in an unkept home or on the street, god knows life can be unpredictable. But you know what? That’s the thing. I know that divorce and breakups are a common occurrence, that pain and suffering are inevitable. I never held any grand illusions about walking down the aisle in a white-ass dress on my ‘big day’ and into some eternal domestic bliss with the occasional, surmountable hiccup. As a child I never dreamt of marriage, and I’ve come to see it as more of a prelude to divorce for most of us anyway, the 99% who will not end up happily married for 60 years, who will die hours or days apart from their beloved childhood sweetheart-turned-soulmate. Some of us will never find the one, have the love of a lifetime. And that’s okay. It’s a fact I’ve known and accepted all along. Life is an affliction that manifests in broken hearts and broken minds, and finally in death. We are all dying, we’ve been dying since the moment of our conception, if you think about it. And that’s okay too, because, on the good days at least, I have something to live for. Many things: the satisfaction of transforming thoughts into words or works of art; the trance-like state one enters upon hearing a song that surely must be meant for them, so in tune is it with the moody old soul of the listener; the grand artistry of a film well done, an exhibition well executed, a concert that exceeded all expectations; the electric jolt experienced when a fictional character’s mentality or behaviour bares an uncanny resemblance to yours, when a poem or passage expressed what you could not, and so much more. So there; appreciation of beauty and excellence, that’s my raison d’être, not the search for love everlasting.

Person: Whoa, that’s-tha-what’s the word, you are so…

Me: Fucking crazy? Batshit cray?

Person: Well, for lack of a better word, yeah.

Me: I know.

Me: Hi, how can I help you?

Man: *looks me up and down with his sleazy peepers, like a salivating dog eyeing a choice slice of meat* Oh, you can help me alright, darling!

Me: This is a cake shop, not a brothel. The last time I checked, we sell cakes, not girls. And just because I happen to be a girl between the ages of 18 and 24 it doesn’t mean I provide the service you are looking for. In short, get the fuck out before I call the cops!

Man: A quickie can’t hurt, can it?

Me: Sir, with all due respect, that is not part of my job description. Let’s see…*pretends to read checklist of daily chores* clearing tables, ensuring that the shop’s fully stocked, answering phone calls, etc., I do. You, I do not. That is, I most definitely do not fancy a fuck. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must serve the lady standing next to you. I trust you’ll show yourself out? Strut!