Catfish

Reads: 495  | Likes: 236  | Shelves: 2  | Comments: 2

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Heather and Herold have been dating online for years. They have never met. Each time they suppose to hook-up something happens to Herold. Is this real love, or is it … Catfish...

Catfish

 

 

By

Sharief Hendricks

 

 

“Upload a new photo. Add a caption.”

“Another day closer to finally meeting my love, Herold,” said Heather, as her heart rate increased, and her cheeks warmed with hope.

Heather clicked “post” on her cell and couldn’t help but smile, knowing that in four days she would eventually see the love of her life. After dating for eight years they were finally going to meet, in the flesh. Her friends Mila and Abby were hopeful that after all the years of disappointments, of Herold cancelling their meetings at the last minute, this time they would finally get to meet each other face to face for the first time.

Eight years ago, Heather was browsing the members picture gallery of a dating site called "Single to Mingle" when she came across Herold’s profile photo. Posing in a Levi Strauss jeans and a white vest, displaying his chiselled arms and that cute smile immediately enchanted her.

“Hi.”

Was all she typed then she pressed send. She didn’t get a response from him for nine days and she was ready to move on to the next profile. Her friends then decided to school her and told her that the best way to do it, was to speak to many guys so that you were guaranteed to get a response on the dating sites. Some guys were too good looking on their profile pics because they had it photoshopped. Others were cute, but when they started chatting, they were arrogant or scum bags, or just not intelligent. The night Heather saw the flashing message from “CuteHerold99” in her inbox she felt like a teenager getting a little paper note from the boy she liked.

From the moment Herold and Heather started to chat, they just hit it off and it instantly felt as if they knew each other since forever. Herold was exactly the way his profile stated and that made her fall even harder for him. Over three hundred messages later, mind you all in the first night, they finally said goodnight and went to bed. There was no way in “love heaven” that Heather could fall asleep. She laid with her Acer 10-inch tablet in bed and positioned it so that the screen faced her on the pillow. Herold’s profile pic was zoomed all the way to only show his hazel brown eyes. That night she knew she would never look into another man’s eyes ever again. The two internet love birds lived worlds apart. He was in the East Somewhere and she was in the West Somewhere but that didn’t matter because even if they were next to each other it would still be too far apart. They promised each other that no matter the distance between them it would not be a barrier.

Two years into their internet romance and after thousands of “emoji kisses” and “beating hearts” icons back and forth, a deeper relationship developed. They pledged their love to each other and used their smart device keyboards as veins that pumped loving blood into their thirsty hearts. Each time they pressed a key on their keyboards it was like lightning striking at their internal organs, binding them to one another. The keyboard became an extension of their bodies. How they touched, hugged, kissed and cried. The keyboard and the mundane act of typing became the lifeline that connected them. Always wanting to chat, to keep in touch. Constantly wondering what the other was doing and who they were with. No matter how much they kept in touch they both longed for something more, something real, that could be touched and held.

“Is he thinking of me?”

“Am I on her brain right this moment?”

“What are you wearing?”

Then one-night Herold sent his love a pic of a “shooting star” and told her to picture it the next time they kissed.

The distant lovers decided to take things to the next level and “made out” over “face time” even though Herold’s screen was dark, and she couldn’t see his face because he said his camera was broken. They were practically intimate with their devices, it felt real, even magical, at least it felt that way for Heather.

They committed themselves to each other and both deleted their accounts and profiles on “Single to Mingle” and made the first of many plans to meet. On the morning they were going to meet for the first time, Herold confirmed that he would be on the 5 am bus and will connect via train for the nine-hour journey to her. They were chatting on WhatsApp all night until the morning. Then at 4:55 am Herold just went quiet.

Heather assumed there was signal on the bus, or his battery had simply died. When she still did not hear from him at 10 am, she got a bit concerned. At noon she was back from the salon, and still no word from Herold. She left over ten voicemails and probably twenty WhatsApp messages. She noticed that the messages were delivered with two-ticks but that he has not open or read any of them as the two-ticks were grey and not blue. He was also last online at 4:55 am the time they spoke last.

“Maybe he forgot to pack his charger,” said Mila to Heather.

Then Heather decided to send him an email, but no response, still no response from her lover.

“Don’t worry Heather, maybe he lost his cell?” Said Mila.

Abby then noticed that Heather was upset and close to tears, so she tried to cheer her friend up.

“Girlfriend, men are unpredictable and sometimes also unreliable and even worse timekeepers than us. You did say that he had never been this side before. Perhaps he was just lost or running late and embarrassed to say, you know men and their egos, and how they hate to ask for directions”

“Come, Heather, let’s get dressed, it will be very embarrassing when that fine man of yours gets to the bus stop or surprises you by arriving at the front door. Then you look this way. So, let’s get this show on the road because your man is on his way to you girl,” said Abby as she turned Heather’s shoulders towards the mirror.

At around 10 pm that evening and after reluctantly removing her tearfully smudged makeup and taking off the new dress she bought specially for Herold. She went to lay on her bed and cried herself to sleep.

____________________________________**_______________________________________

Two months had passed and no word from Herold. She had just started to accept that he got cold feet and he did not want to be with her. Then late one afternoon she got a call from a private number, which she eventually picked up, although hesitantly.

“Hello.”

“Heather! Heather is that you?”

“Oh my…, Heather, is that you, it’s me, Herold!”

Heather paused for nearly a minute in a state of shock having played that very scenario in her head over and over probably a thousand times, how she would respond when she heard his voice again.

"Heather, I know it’s you please say something!"

"Herold, Herold is that really you? My word Herold, am I dreaming?”

“No Heather, it’s me, oh my goodness, I have so much to tell you, you won’t believe what I have been through.”

“What happened Herold?”

“Oh, Heather I was in an accident, I got hit by a car as I was about to board the bus and I was in a coma for two weeks before I gained consciousness.”

“What, Herold.”

“When I woke from my coma all my belongings were gone including my cell and laptop, I have been trying to locate you for five weeks. I tried everything even the site we met on with no luck, but I didn’t give up. I regretted the fact that I never memorized your number because it was so conveniently saved on my phone. I never stopped believing I would find you. There are so many Heather Springfield’s living in the West Somewhere, but I worked through them one by one and finally, you picked up and then I heard your voice.”

Herold broke down and started crying over the phone. Heather couldn’t hold back her tears as she put the call on speaker for Abby and Mila to listen in, who couldn’t believe it. Herold was nearly dead. Through all the happiness and excitement Mila couldn’t help but doubt Herold’s amazing story, but she was so happy for her friend, as tears rolled down her cheeks as well, so she accepted it, that time.

Unfortunately, this was the first of seven more times that calamities befell the unlucky in love couple. Well, not the couple because Herold was the bad luck one. He had one bad situation after the next one that prevented him from meeting up with the love of his life. Something or someone was keeping these two star-bound young lovers apart and this was what they had to work through. The more challenges and incredible mind-bending barriers they encountered the more the years just flew by.

There was the time Herold was arrested for mistaken identity.

The time Herold’s uncle died the day he was supposed to meet with Heather.

The time Heather made bookings to go to Herold and he was called out on a work emergency a thousand kilometers away.

The time he fell ill with pneumonia.

The time his friend was missing and found a week later in a sewerage drain.

The time Herold was hijacked, and his car stolen.

The last time six months ago when Herold couldn’t buy tickets to travel to Heather because his bank account was hacked, and all his money was withdrawn, and his ID was used to take out loans by fraudsters.

Heather was convinced this time would be different, this time they will finally meet after eight long years and numerous failed attempts.

“Heather, you heard us say this a hundred times, we love you and we are tired of seeing you get hurt by this guy,” said Abbey as gently as she could.

“Herold does not want to meet you let alone be with you. He has all the excuses under the sun. Let me see, here goes, he can’t face time, he doesn’t have data, he can’t Skype, can’t visit you because he is in hospital, or someone he knows is busy dying, oh and not to forget the man who has the most work emergencies” said Mila, angrily, as she had finally had enough of pretending this situation was ok.

“Don’t forget the time his account was hacked and my favourite when he was arrested for mistaken identity,” Adds Abby, as she rolled her eyes.

“My friend, we can’t allow you to go through this again. We should have just called that “Catfish” show, when we had the chance,” said Mila.

“You sacrificed, invested and spent so much time and money on this man you have never even met, Heather!” Said Abby with a painful expression on her face as if she just licked a lemon.

“He is playing you girl, he probably doesn't even exist. He might not even be a man, might be some random female that gets her kicks out of using good-hearted people like you, my friend,” said Mila.

“Herold is real, he must be real, I know it sounds stupid, being in love with a man with all your soul whom you have never met or held physically, but I'm telling you, Herold is real, and he loves me as much as I love him. There is no way we could have shared what we did for the past eight years and he does not love me. Herold is real, I can feel it, I know it in my heart of hearts, I don't doubt that for a second, no matter how bad it looks. I know my Herold is real. I can't be so in love with someone that does not care for me, he loves me, he must exist, and he must love me.”

The two girls held their friend as they all cried and had flashbacks of all the unfortunate events that occurred and that caused Heather so many heartaches and disappointments.

The time Heather sent him money for his hospital bills.

The time she assisted him with cash for his uncle’s funeral.

The time Heather helped pay off his car that was hijacked because he did not have insurance.

The last time six months ago when she had a duplicate bank card made for him from her account to use when his bank account was hacked.

Heather made monthly payments to help Herold pay off the loans the fraudsters took out on his name. 

Heather just could not see and accept what her friends and the universe were trying to show her. She, unfortunately, loved too deeply. After all, don’t they say that “love is blind?”

______________________________________**______________________________________

 

“Look where we are Heather, at a train station in a town we have never been to before, which looks very dodgy at 11 pm, waiting for who else but Herold. He was supposed to arrive at 11 am this morning. His latest story is the train had an emergency when the brakes failed. So, it conveniently went pass your station, Heather, doesn’t that just sound a bit too familiar,” said Mila, as she rubbed her hands on the sides of her arms in an attempt to warm herself from the cold winter night.

“For ten hours we have been chasing this mystery train, until now,” said Abby, as she blew into her fists to warm her frozen fingers.

“Herold telling you that the passengers are not allowed to use their phones because it interferes with the trains diagnostics, that is the worst one yet Heather. That is Herold blatantly disrespecting you as his supposed girlfriend, and that he’s insulting our intelligence to think that just because we are from the West Somewhere, we will believe that BS.”

“Heather if there was an emergency the police would have been here, don’t you think,” said Mila.

“He’s going to come,” said Heather, as she wiped her red cold nose, and pulled up her jacket collar to cover her neck and ears. “My Herold said he will meet me here and I believe he will.”

“Enough Heather, it is time you faced reality, this man is not real! This man does not exist! This man does not love you! This man-”

A voice in the distance. It got louder, as waving arms and steam from lips and an open mouth became visible in the darkness.

“Heather!” Heather! It’s me, Herold!”

“I don’t believe it!?” Said Abby and Mila together.

“Heather, they managed to stop the train one station earlier then they planned.”

“I ran from there till here. I just left everything. My luggage, cell, laptop and told myself, you will be waiting here for me,” said an out of breath Herold.

“Herold!” I knew you are real, and you would make it, because you love me.”

Icy lips eventually met and warmed the chilly night, as a shooting star flew by.

 

 

 

The End

 


Submitted: June 02, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Sharief Hendricks. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

dloz-dloz

Love meet at the end ????and perseverance pays off ???????????????? i love happy endings......

Great read my Brother????

Tue, June 9th, 2020 1:11am

Author
Reply

Thanx Sis

so glad you enjoyed it...


Thanx

Sharief

Tue, June 9th, 2020 4:57am

Criss Sole

I was not expecting that ending!
I was 100% sure Heather was being taken advantage of and scammed.
I have heard so many cat fish stories and was sure this would end badly.
What a sweet story, had me smiling.
You are a great writer!

Mon, June 22nd, 2020 3:42pm

Author
Reply

Thanx so much Criss

I appreciate this positive feedback...

What a nice compliment coming from an accomplished writer like yourself... I am so grateful Criss thank you...

I do love my twist endings...

Mon, June 22nd, 2020 10:38am

More Romance Short Stories

Boosted Content from Other Authors

Book / Action and Adventure

Short Story / Historical Fiction

Other Content by Sharief Hendricks

Short Story / Romance

Short Story / Science Fiction