What a great headline, she thought.
To the handsome EMT in Starbucks on Sunday: Save Me.
She loved looking through other people’s postings in the Craigs List personal ads and especially the Missed Connection listings, peering into stangers’ lives. She clicked the message to read further.
You saw me struggling to balance my purse and pay for my double shot latte, smiled and covered the tab. You touched my hand and talked about paying it forward. Your eyes sparkled and you quoted Thoreau: “The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” How could you possibly have known that he is my favorite writer? For the first time in my life, words failed me. In my head, we sat, we talked, we laughed, and I gave you my phone number. In reality, I only nodded and watched you walk out the door. Could we try a repeat with a different outcome? Ellen could picture the entire event in her head. She could imagine the EMT’s wavy brown hair, smell the mix of coffees in the air and even taste the foam off her upper lip. But most of all, she could feel the excitement of her heart racing faster, the butterflies in her stomach and the euphoria of something special being reawakened inside. More than anything, she wished THAT had been HER experience.
Then, her mind raced forward to what would happen if the man actually saw the posting. How would he? Maybe he would be on Craigs List to create his own posting, seeking the author out because of the connection he had also felt. Maybe he had been in a rush that day, receiving the call for an emergency that would eventually save someone's life. Maybe he just wanted to say more, to make a deeper connection, but just didn't have the time that day. He might be looking for her, too. And when they did finally connect, it would certainly be sparks. Sexual tension would fill the air. How could it not? The attraction would be palpable to everyone in the room. They would see how the two fit together, like pieces to a puzzle long thought lost and finally found.
Of course, there might be problems. In her fluster, perhaps the author didn't notice the ring he was wearing, marking him as taken. But the fact that he was even looking in the Missed Connections was clear evidence that his current commitment was less than stable. That he was open to something more, something better. Something right. Their chance meeting might result in...but no, it wouldn't be chance. It would be fate, for both of them. Changing their lives forever. They would fall hopelessly in love and live out the rest of their days together.
She read the entire ad again and then a third time. This was the most romantic thing she had ever read. She could only hope that the author and the handsome EMT would eventually meet again and that their love would blossom. She sighed with a smile and clicked “Okay,” which brought up a disclosure, one that only those posting a message ever see. It described the liability of the person posting such messages, disavowing any responsibility for damages and the like. She clicked okay to that as well without reading it, authorizing the system to publish her ad. Then she closed the lid of the laptop, switched off the small desktop lamp and threw the towel over her shoulder. Smiling, she walked through the dark hall back to her bedroom. She heard the loud and uneven snores of her husband before she even walked through the doorway. The room was dim with a vertical line of light shining through the opening of the bathroom door. She reached into her gown and retrieved an object which reflected a bright spot on the wall. She lowered the shiny chrome iPod so that the reflection wouldn’t wake him, traced the cord back to the ear buds and placed them carefully into her ears and chose her “killer love songs“ playlist.
Then quietly, she bent over her husband, tenderly kissed him on the cheek, and covered him with the sheet he had kicked off during his sleep. She reached into the other gown pocket and in a single motion, raised her hand above her head and brought the kitchen carving knife down through the sheet and into his chest. He suddenly woke and struggled as she twisted the knife left to right, then right to left with all the weight her small body could push behind it. Even in the darkness, she could see the sheet darken as his life’s blood flowed from his body.
Only after and his struggling ceased and the next song started, she pulled the knife out and wrapped it in the towel. Humming to the music, she made her way back to the guest room, also dark, and fluffed her pillows. She turned to her side, cuddled against the body pillow.
Suddenly, she sat straight up in the bed, the enormity of what she had done sinking in. How would she explain the body?
She thought of slicing the body into small pieces and throwing them out with the garbage. Too messy and honestly, too much work. The ground was far too frozen to dig a hole and bury it. She thought some more.
Then she smiled and reached for the phone. Her fingers pressed the numbers 9-1-1 and she waited patiently for the voice to appear at the other end. “Help, help!” she half whispered, inflecting a non-existent fear into her voice. “There’s someone…here. My husband has been stabbed! He’s bleeding. Send an EMT and police” She rattled off her name and address and clicked the phone off.
She walked to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. She applied fresh makeup and brushed her hair. If she was lucky, maybe they would send her new boyfriend. If so, she wanted to look her best.