I heard him, but I kept running. I ran through the market—stalls filled to the brim with trinkets, rugs, souvenirs, and fruits. I ran through the street, causing cars to halt and honk. I ran through the alley—the stink of cat urine and poop poisoning my nose.
I kept running. I couldn't stop. If I did, it would get me. You know, it, love.
The man who yelled stop, that was Charlie, the one I wasn't supposed to fall for.
I met Charlie on an island getaway for singles. There was promise of romance and the chance to find "the one." I knew who "the one" was. It wasn't Charlie. I didn't know Charlie. It was Rick, my best friend since third grade. I knew we were supposed to be together, but Rick couldn't see it. He was blind to it. And I planned to open his eyes.
He laughed when I first told him about the retreat. But he agreed to go. "We'll make it fun," he said. "And, who knows, maybe we'll both find our match."
I smiled inwardly and continued to plan the getaway.
When we docked on the island, the retreat employees quickly whisked us away to our private rooms and pampered us for a dinner with a potential match. I was excited. I was sure my date would be Rick.
I showed up to dinner in a red sparkly number and waited, watching for Rick to enter, smile, and saunter to our table. "What a surprise," he would mutter. "But not really. I always knew it would be you." And then he would kiss me. Oh, how I have yearned for those lips.
Ten minutes past the arrival time, I cringed. This wasn't like Rick. He was scary punctual. I was sure he had a perfectly good excuse.