Being a freelance journalist, I am always on the run. From Texas to Seattle, from Wisconsin to New York, I skip from town to town in an attempt to find interesting news-pieces. On paper, I have a home in San Francisco, and my parents stay on a ranch in New Mexico. I have been on the job since I completed college way back in 2010.
I am 35, and every single day my mother asks me if I’m dating someone, and for the past 10 years, I have been giving the same reply. I do not believe in online dating, I guess I am just a bit old school. I am always on the road, and I just prefer listening to a bit of Jazz and solving crosswords. Looking outside the bus window, listening to the saxophone melt in my ears, and solving cryptic clues is what keeps me at peace. I do want to get out of this job and start my bakery in New Mexico, but that’s a very far-fetched deal.
Honestly, I have never given it a thought, about me being in a relationship with someone, trying to juggle between work and my partner. I think it scares me but I do not accept it or at least I never accepted it until last week.
I was traveling from Baltimore to New York on a flight. I was by myself, listening to an old Elvis track. Yes, I had deviated away from Jazz for the first time. I was solving a crossword on my phone, and I was stuck on this particular clue: Cupid’s domain, 4 letters.
I was so lost in the song that I had stopped solving. It happens all the time with me but this time someone nudged my shoulder.
“Love, the answer is love.”
I looked to the right. It was a man seemingly in his late thirties. He had a grin on his face and a Yankees cap to top it off. He looked tired, I think most men in their thirties look tired all the time. He had a newspaper in his hand and a completely solved crossword on it. I stared at him and raised my eyebrows.
“I am sorry, I was just not able to control myself looking at your incomplete crossword. Also, your Elvis is being very loud.”
I hated his guts but stirred up a conversation during the flight. His name was Mike Hamill. A freelance journalist just like me from Denver. We met thrice that week, I am not sure if it was a date. We solved crosswords all three times, and one more than one occasion, he’s proven to be better at cracking those clues. It just riles me up but I have started to enjoy his company.
Yesterday my mom had called again. She asked the same question she has been asking for the past 10 years. However, this time my reply was different.