OKENSHIELDS 一 Let me paint you a picture. There I am, alone, in Okenshields on a Tuesday night, preparing for a hearty meal in the line for stir fry and rice. My mind is wholly on food, and I am ravenous. My plan, executed to perfection numerous times hence, is to grab my meal, retreat to the safety of my table in the corner, eat, and leave. Alas, God sees the plans of man and laughs. Reaching out for the spoon to scoop my jasmine rice, another hand brushes up against my own, in a soft, warm caress that sends shivers down my spine. Thoughts spiral through my head of marriage and growing old together with this stranger. Yet I hear a cough at the same time, from the same general direction of the caress. I am now racked with a crisis of conscience: should my next move be to profess my love for this soft-handed seductress or procure a supplemental test at the earliest opportunity?
My gut instinct is to follow the former course of action. After all, how many true opportunities for love are we granted in one lifetime, and what man can afford to let them slide? You must understand that I have not felt the touch of a woman in many months, and that as the pandemic falls under control, I am tempted to reenter the romantic scene in person. I cannot abide another year filing out the Perfect Match survey only to discover a lack of chemistry in person. So on these rare occasions I must seize my chance and make my feelings known, right?
On the other hand, a positive COVID test could harm this and any future opportunities for courtship. What if, in avoiding the dangers of disease, I miss another chance down the line? What if I get more people sick and settle for someone not right for me? What if this relationship leads to disaster in such a way that I may never love again? As with the ripples of a leaf on the surface of a lake, one can never fully anticipate the consequences of unintended action, nor can man truly count himself a master of his own fate.
As I consider, in thorough detail, how to make my next move, I feel the glare of my peers, and look up into the piercing, emerald-green eyes of my potential lover. “Dude, you’re holding up the line,” she says, grasping the rice spoon. I walk away dejected, riceless, selecting my appointment on DailyCheck. Fate has once more conspired against me, and I was but a hapless spectator to the machinations of love.