So, there's this guy, right? Actually, it turns out they're a girl upon further inspection. But y'know, there's no girls on the internet. Correction, she's a woman, well, more than that, a lady. We will call her Elaine, although I like her real name better. Today we finally met in person after two years.
It was 14:30 when a little white car pulled up outside my house, and footsteps ran to the front door. Yay, a little white car! I flung open the screen door, not knowing exactly what to expect. She was roughly my height, and I worked my way down from the top. First came a cap of dark red hair, pulled tightly back. Frame-less glasses glinted at me, hiding brown disks like blobs of chocolate behind them. Pierced ears held no earrings, nor was any other jewellery anywhere to be seen. Her face was pale and smooth, and like her lips, devoid of makeup. Two prominent teeth sparkled white as she beamed a warm smile. Her top and skirt were fancy and detailed, dark and flattering. Excessive boobage showed, but not in a flirting way, more in a "Yes, I have them. So what?" way. A pair of black pumps housed her feet, each with a string of roses embroidered on the front in red. A small purple satchel-like handbag hung at her hip from a long shoulder strap. On the whole, she was overweight but not fat. She's not bad looking, not pretty, but not ugly.
I stared for a few seconds, taking in all this before managing to blurt, "Welcome to my humble abode."
The visitor stepped shyly inside, "So, this is who you are." As soon as she spoke, I noticed a speech impediment, but it was not quite like I was used to hearing. Mum greeted the visitor, and the three of us migrated to the kitchen for some lunch. As lunch was got, Mum drilled Elaine with questions, the usual procedure. I listened quietly to both parties, Elaine's voice reminded me of someone else's, it was like it but not quite. She talked about England and about being English. Then she started talking about I don't know what, but I just liked hearing her voice. She was polite, and she didn't swear unnecessarily. As I said, she's a lady.
I slipped my feet into my shoes and tied the laces, Elaine watching from the doorway to my room. I picked up a pair of track pants, and attempted to don them. Er, I probably should have put these on before my shoes. "You are a strange lad," Elaine continued to watch, her expression still blank, as I slipped my wallet into a pocket of my shorts. I like the way she thinks I'm strange but likes me anyway.
In the car, Elaine fires up a Navman, and sets a route I have as a favourite in my navigation system even though I could probably get there blindfolded. She pulls onto the main road, and I wind down my window. She asks me things unrelated to the trip or the project we're both working on, things friends would ask. She doesn't probe, but I know she cares. So much for either of us being socially awkward. We talk about music, we like the same music, she smiles when I absent-mindedly start singing. It's odd the way we're both kind of short tempered but always trying to stay calm. She makes me smile and laugh, we make each other smile and laugh. I know I don't smile often any more, but her laugh is a fulfilling laugh, and it reminds me of the laugh of they who has not quite her voice. Elaine mutters things to herself as we change lanes, and taps her fingers on the gear knob. I don't fit in the seat in her car, but I feel I must be misinterpreting my surroundings, for I am living in deja vu that somehow got screwed up along the way.
It's a beautiful day and a beautiful drive, but we're there already, too soon like I knew it would be. As Elaine stepped out of the car, her skirt billowed in the wind, like Mary Poppins, but showing nothing underneath. Did I say I liked her outfit? I liked her outfit. The normally full car-park was deserted today, and I bounced from point to point, making my way to the main entrance, and somehow she was still right beside me (I walk far too fast for most people). I feel happier than I can remember in a long time, and almost feel like we should be holding hands and swinging our arms as we walk. She even remembers the night I don't, in detail even, like it mattered to her.
"What kind of person do you think I am? You think I would drive you all this way, then expect you to catch public transport home?" Of course I would have made my own way back home, and I don't want to waste her petrol, but she insists, she likes driving. It was my fault she made a few wrong turns on the way back for talking to her instead of navigating. I didn't realise till I got home how long we'd been gone, but it seemed shorter, time flies when you don't want it to. The gearbox in Elaine's car, the manual gearbox, needs a bit of work, but even though she's on her P's, she drives like a boss. There's only two people I ever sleep in a car with them at the wheel, both experienced men with families, but today I nearly fell asleep in Elaine's car.
We parted with a handshake, hers was solid but not crushing, warm, and firm. Now Elaine is gone, I (of course) don't know when we'll next see each other. I'd like to see her again some time though. She is almost like the algorithm, she may even be more optimised than the algorithm, but she is not the algorithm.