Love Is Blind...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Maisy doesn't really get Valentine's Day, until a chance meeting shows her what love might just be about. [My entry for EmilieHail's Valentine's Day contest.]

Submitted: February 13, 2012

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Submitted: February 13, 2012

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I was having the day from hell. Not just a mildly bad day when a few things went wrong, no, not at all. I could have coped with that, perhaps, but, this was a bad day as in a terrible, hellish, day where everything went wrong.

I’d overslept, and woken up with a headache, had to skip the makeup, run a brush through my uncooperative hair, pull on the first available clothes and run. I was meant to be meeting up with my boyfriend, Jason, for a Valentine’s Day date, or something, and, stupidly, I hadn‘t set my alarm.

I should have been excited to see him, but I wasn’t. We’d only been together a few weeks, and I had a feeling he was going to be next on my list of failed relationships. It was a long list. A worryingly long list.

I knew why. I went to parties, to clubs, and caught people’s eyes. I’d always been the type- striking, my mother used to call it. Big eyes, long curly hair, just the right figure. But it wasn’t doing me any favours in the love department. All the nice guys took one look at me and figured I was the easy type and turned to the sweeter looking girls.

I’d tried fighting against the stereotype for a while, but it hadn’t worked. No one was interested in me if I wasn’t the easy catch they’d hoped for. So I played up to the stereotype, I used my looks, and here I was, in a relationship I didn’t want to be in, where it was all physical and nothing emotional. I knew the code for Valentine’s Day date meant nothing more than a trip to Jason’s bedroom.

Oh lucky me.

Perhaps that was why I was so unbothered about getting dressed up that day. I knew he’d just be ready to undress me.

As I speedily walked past one of the shops on the high street, I caught sight of myself in the window. My hair was frizzy now, and I looked tired, run down. I twisted my lips. Jason probably wouldn’t be impressed.

I continued hurrying along, darting through the people pushing past me. No one looked at me. Everyone seemed happy, everyone seemed hand in hand with someone who was staring into their eyes, love struck. They were laughing, they were smiling, they were happy.

I half tripped as I went along, past a café decorated for Valentine’s Day, couples sipping coffees together in blissful soppy lovey-dovey-ness, and almost collapsed onto a passing old lady, who was tutting and frowning and muttering under her breath at my impudence in not diving out of her path.

Oh god. I was actually considering just going home and forgetting today had even happened. I hated Valentine’s Day.

But then I reached the place I was meant to meet Jason, outside a lingerie shop, only a few minutes from his apartment. I didn’t have to think long and hard about what he was trying to imply with that.

I leant against the wall next to the shop, looking with no interest at the models in the window, dressed in provocative corset like underwear, fixed into a prowling position. I wondered if I looked like they did sometimes, as if I was no more than an object for male pleasure. A big sign said in bold, red letters: ‘treat the one you love this Valentine’s.’ Well, Jason was expecting a treat, I had no doubts about that. But he wasn’t the one I loved. I hadn’t ever been in love, not with anyone, not even once. I just went for the physical side of love, which had no love involved with it at all.

This was the thing. Physical love, I’d had plenty of. Too much, in fact. But when it came to emotional love, the thing Valentine’s Day was meant to be about, I was pretty much a virgin.

My parents had never told me they loved me, not that I could remember. I’d rarely seen them, to be honest, they’d always been somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else and forgetting about their daughter. I told myself I didn’t mind. But I did.

My friends had never been any different. Our friendships had been a bit of a farce, really, just hanging out with each other because we knew that that made us cooler, that having lots of friends was equal to popularity, the thing we all sought. I told myself I didn’t mind, I didn’t need friends who cared about me, I could look after myself. But I did mind.

And relationships? No. I’d never been in love. Girls like me didn’t really seem to have room for love.

I stopped looking at the window. It was making me feel bad about myself.

With a sigh, I instead looked up at the sky, getting a faceful of raindrops. Lucky me.

I wondered how long Jason was going to keep me waiting. I could have actually put the effort in with make up or something. I should have done, in retrospect, I thought. I usually spent ages making my face look flawless, emphasising and enhancing anything I possibly could. Then I dressed to perfection.

But today? Today I had gone for the I don’t care at all look. My baggy jumper was too big for me, and a shade of green that may have brought out my eyes, but wasn’t exactly one that was eye catching. You couldn’t see my curves at all, it covered those all up. Yes, Jason really wouldn’t be impressed. The boyfriends I had previously had had always wanted me to dress as revealingly as possible, so everyone could see what they had. They wanted other guys to lust after me, and therefore they’d seem the bigger man, I guessed.

But I didn’t care anymore.

My phone buzzed in my pocket. Pulling it out, I saw a message from Jason.

Met someone new. Don’t think we should be together anymore. Sorry.

Brilliant. Slamming my phone back into my pocket, I leant back against the wall and resisted the urge to burst into tears. I’d been expecting a break up, to be honest, probably because I’d been unenthusiastic recently, but seriously? I was so frustrated I felt like crying.

Well, at least he said sorry, I reasoned, before, hugging my cardigan closer to me, I got up and started walking.

I didn’t know where I was going. To be honest, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to walk, and walk, and not see anyone, and not be near anyone, and to forget about everything. I didn’t like who I was, what I’d become. I thought back to the old me, the old me who hadn’t really cared about what anyone thought of her. But that had all changed, from one extreme to another. I was not so much me as what everyone expected me to be. And that wasn’t a way to live at -

Bam.

Suddenly, I found myself sprawled on the floor, the contents of my bag spilling out all over the place, having walked into someone with all the elegance of a girl storming away from the scene of a break up.

Scrambling to my feet, I heard a groan coming from down by my feet. Looking down in surprise, my eyes widened in shock. A man lay prostrate before me, hand clutching his head, moaning in pain.

Oops. Must have been the person I bashed into.

Kneeling down next to him, I tentatively reached out a hand and touched his shoulder. ‘Uh, are you okay?’ I inquired nervously.

He sat up, and blinked, one hand still touching his head. He didn’t turn to look at me, and I felt a little offended that he was ignoring my existence. ‘I think I’ll survive,’ he said.

He was attractive, actually. Pretty typical I’d crash into someone good looking. His eyes were strangely blue, almost see through, and his messy hair was in ruffled, slightly bouncy looking curls, a coppery brown shade I hadn’t seen before on a guy. His face was kind of chiselled, in that sort of rugged way that was slightly model like. Attractive.

Maybe he thought the same about me. Guys usually did. I remembered suddenly that I wasn’t dressed like I usually was, I was a mess. But I didn’t care.

‘Er, good,’ I said.

The guy turned his head towards me. ‘Oh god, wait, I’ve gone blind, help!’ he yelled suddenly, making me jump. He turned his head from side to side as if looking around, and patted his face with his hands dramatically. ‘I can’t see!’

‘Oh my god,’ I said, horrified and completely not sure what to say to that. My heart thumped in my chest, and I felt suddenly so completely sick I wasn’t sure what to do with myself.

He suddenly turned towards me. ‘Just kidding,’ he said, but his eyes weren’t meeting mine, and for a moment I wasn’t sure what to think, disconcerted and scared. ‘Well, not about being blind. I haven’t been able to see properly since birth.’

‘Oh.’ Er, what did I say to that? I made a few awkward sympathetic noises. ‘Um, I’m sorry to hear that.’

‘Are you?’ he asked, sounding surprised. ‘That’s nice of you.’

‘But you bloody frightened me,’ I told him, mock crossly. ‘I actually thought I’d made you go blind!’

He burst out laughing, one hand reaching out and, after a bit of clawing through the air, finding my forearm. ‘I wish I could have seen your expression,’ he said, chuckling, not wistfully or sadly, but with genuine amusement.

‘But are you actually okay?’ I asked. ‘Your head’s bleeding.’

‘It is?’ he patted his forehead. ‘Nah, no harm done.’ I helped him up, picking up a stick which I assumed was his. It was dark black and slightly shiny, looking as if it could do quite some damage. I handed it to him and he smiled, a crooked sort of smile as he pressed a button at the top and it all slotted together until it fitted into the pocket of his jeans. ‘I think I need some caffeine after that,’ he commented, and I noticed he looked a little pale.

‘Let me get you some,’ I said, as he still clung to my arm.

‘Oh, you don’t have to,’ he replied. ‘It’s okay, you know. I can look after myself.’

I frowned. ‘It’s the least I could do. I was the one who knocked you over, if you didn’t notice.’

He laughed. ‘Well, since you put it like that, how could I refuse?’

I spotted a Starbucks a little along the road, near to the lingerie shop, and steered him that way. I wasn’t sure if he needed me to guide him, seeing as he had a stick and everything, but having him hold my arm was… well, it was kind of nice.

‘So, tell me about yourself,’ he said, as we made our way over there. ‘Can I know the name of my attacker?’

I laughed. He had a genuinely amusing way of talking, slightly sarcastic, but confident and warm at the same time. ‘I’m Maisy,’ I said.

‘Maisy?’ he repeated. ‘Pretty name. I like it.’ I liked the way he said my name. It sounded summery and fresh and innocent. In other words, everything I wasn’t.

I couldn’t help chuckling again. ‘Who are you?’

‘I get called Red,’ he replied.

‘Red?’

‘Yep.’ He ran his free hand through his hair, making it spring back. ‘It’s my initials, you see,’ he continued. ‘Robert Edward Dorrington. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it?’

‘It’s very…’ I paused, searching for the right word. ‘Distinguished.’

He squeezed my arm where I still guided him. ‘You can say posh, Maisy,’ he teased me. ‘I think my mum wanted me to go into politics or something.’

‘I like it,’ I told him. ‘But I like Red too.’

He smiled again, as I held open the door and guided us into Starbucks. The warm, familiar aroma of coffee welcomed me and I let a little sigh escape me. ‘What would you like to drink?’ I asked him.

‘Something sweet and unhealthy,’ he said. ‘You can choose.’

I felt a bit daunted by that, but I showed him to the comfiest seat I could find and went off, ending up getting us both a caramel macchiato and a cinnamon bun which looked pretty unhealthy. I didn’t usually go for unhealthy foods. I was paranoid about gaining weight, if I was honest, but today I didn’t care about that. I felt like I deserved something to better my horrible day.

However, as I returned to sit down opposite him, I couldn’t help but feel that things weren’t so bad at the moment.

Red smiled at me, his hands searching for a little while to find the handle of his mug, and then lifting it to his lips, blowing it gently before taking a sip. ‘Oooh caramel,’ he said happily. ‘I love this.’ He looked up from his cup, his eyes not quite focused on me. ‘Good choice, Maisy.’

I smiled. ‘Phew. I got some cinnamon buns too,’ I told him, pushing one towards him.

His face lit up. ‘Maisy, I’m liking you more and more,’ he told me with another grin. He took a big bite of the bun, licking his lips. I thought he was rather adorable.

‘Red?’ I asked curiously, as he took another slurp of coffee. ‘Did you actually need me to guide you?’

He chuckled. ‘Well, no. I just wanted you to keep your arm round me.’ He raised his eyebrows flirtatiously at me, but it wasn’t in the leering way I was used to. Just a jokey sort of way, like he was just trying to make me laugh. Which he did.

‘What can you see?’ I asked, before anxiously biting my lip, realising how blunt and rude that might have sounded. I’ve always been blunt, I guess.

Fortunately, Red didn’t seem to mind. ‘A blurry outline,’ he explained, in a matter of fact way, taking another bite of his bun.

‘So what can you see of me?’ I asked warily, remembering how awful I looked, how it only took me seconds to get ready rather than half an hour.

‘Just a blurry outline still,’ he admitted. ‘But it’s a very nice blurry outline, I might add,’ he continue, giving me a crooked smile, and raising his eyebrows.

I chuckled, feeling flattered despite the fact that guys usually say far nicer things about me. I’m used to compliments. But they’re not usually compliments, I guess. They’re just words, designed to make me want to get into bed with them. They have no real meaning. Red’s words had weight to them, though they were teasing.

‘Well, I’m glad to hear it,’ I replied. ‘You’re an attractive sight yourself.’

‘I am?’ he asked in surprise. ‘Well, that’s a relief. What do I look like to you?’

‘Has no one ever told you what you look like?’ I replied in disbelief. ‘They must have!’

‘Oh yeah, loads of times,’ he told me. ‘I just want to hear what I look like today.’

‘Okay,’ I said, feeling nervous. ‘You’ve got curly copper coloured hair-’

‘Be more specific,’ he said. ‘Describe it. I can see some things fuzzily.’

‘Okay. You’ve got hair that has streaks of the colour of sunlight at sunset running through it,’ I told him. ‘Your eyes are clear, clear blue, and your face looks like it was built to smile.’

He chuckled. ‘Built to smile, eh?’

I felt a little embarrassed. ‘Your smile kind of… well, it kind of fits your face,’ I told him. Because it did. It filled up his face just right, and his entire set of features joined in with the smiling, even his eyes which didn’t see much. His nose crinkled, as if it was getting out of the way so more of his smile could fit in, his eyes smiled too, as if they wanted to join in. It occurred to me that I should probably tell him this, so I did.

He tilted his head to one side. ‘Maisy, do you write poetry?’

I blinked in surprise. ‘Er, I used to,’ I said, embarrassed. I stopped when I realised that it wasn’t cool. I hadn’t had the heart to write again.

‘You should do it now,’ he said. ‘You’ve got a way with words.’

I actually felt my cheeks warm with a blush. I never blushed.

He’d finished his coffee now, and there were only crumbs left of his bun. But I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and find out more about him. I liked how he made me feel, as a person. I felt as my looks really didn’t matter for once. I was getting along with someone because of our personalities, not because we lusted after each other.

It was weird. But I liked it.

Then we started properly talking. He told me all about his life, about how he was currently studying to become a lawyer, and, though he hid it, I could tell that he was struggling with his sight problems. He had a breezy way of brushing over things as if they didn’t matter, but I could see he was hiding the difficulty from me. And somehow, his openness made me open up in return. I never opened up, not to anyone. Time flew past me, impossible to catch, impossible to get back, and I didn’t want to do either.

We got up to leave, eventually, and I guided him again, even though I knew he didn’t need it. He seemed to find it quite funny, and kept pretending to stumble, blaming me for being a terrible guide dog.

He lived the opposite end of town from me. As I let go of his arm, his hand delving into his pocket for his stick to help him get along, he smiled at me. ‘Maisy, may I see you again some time soon?’ he asked. I kind of really loved the way he spoke like a gentleman.

I nodded, forgetting he couldn’t see it properly, and so there was an awkward pause before I could tell him yes, yes, definitely yes.

He gave me his mobile number. ‘No sexting, by the way,’ he said, unexpectedly, as I programmed it into my phone. ‘It reads my texts out loud for me.’

I chuckled. ‘Perhaps you’d better wear headphones when you read my texts, then,’ I told him. ‘Just in case.’

He burst out laughing. ‘You’re a bit of a case, aren’t you?!’ he told me, but I liked the way that he said it.

He reached out for a hug, and I steered myself into his arms. He smelt delicious, and his arms were cosy and warm, just everything I needed. ‘It’s been a pleasure to meet you,’ he told me.

‘You too,’ I said. ‘I enjoyed literally bumping into you.’

His arms relaxed around me, and he let me go, chuckling. ‘Well, I look forward to some texts which require headphones,’ he told me cheekily.

I laughed, and, as he walked away, a little uncertainly, I couldn’t help an enormous smile spreading over my face. It might have been a pleasure for him to meet me, but it was nothing compared to the pleasure I had at meeting him. I felt all light and dreamy and… romantical. Romantical, on Valentine’s Day? This was something new. But I liked it. And I liked how I was around him. I couldn’t wait to see him again. He made me feel more like me, and perhaps that was what I needed. Maybe it wouldn’t be any more than a friendship, but, right at that moment, I didn’t mind that, weirdly. I’d never sought friendship with anyone before, not out of a genuine desire for their company. But Red was different, and not just because he couldn’t see.

Well, they do say love is blind.

I made my way back along the streets, smiling just as widely as the couples surrounding me. The day from hell? Not anymore.


© Copyright 2020 Maddie Grey. All rights reserved.

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