Friday, 16 January 2015

Call It Fate (Part 1)

Jenna tipped her handbag upside down, shaking it violently. Loose change, crumpled tissue paper, old receipts, a red lipstick tube and a chunky bracelet tumbled out, landing noisily on her office desk. Not there! She yanked open drawers, gave up and crawled under her desk, searching furiously. Her heart thumped in panic. Oh my God, where is it? Where’s my phone?!
            “Have you tried calling it?” Vivi hovered anxiously beside her.
            “Of course I have! Like a hundred times! It goes straight to voicemail.” She straightened and tugged down her short skirt.
            “When was the last time you saw it?” Alex had joined them now.
             “I swear I saw her holding her phone at lunch. We went back to the restaurant as soon as she realized her phone’s not with her.”
            “Let me guess, no luck right? Forget your phone Jenna. It’s gone. Just get a new one.”
            “No, no, you guys don’t understand. I can’t lose that phone! All my contacts! And I don’t want some stranger going through my personal stuff!” Jenna was practically hyperventilating.
            Alex smirked. “Wow Jenna, didn’t think you were the type to have those kinds of photos on your phone!”
             “It’s not like that you idiot! Now, go away. You’re not helping me at all.”
            Alex drifted back to his cubicle, shrugging sympathetically. Another word out of his mouth and Jenna might just have thrown her water bottle at him. She sagged into her chair, massaging her pounding head. She would have rather lost her purse than her phone. What was she going to do?
            “Babe, we’ve searched everywhere we can think of. Alex’s right, it’s gone. I think you need to call Maxis and get a replacement SIM card first.”
            Jenna was too depressed to respond.
            “You’ve got the perfect excuse to shop,” Vivi continued, obviously trying to get her to see the bright side. “Stop by the mall after work and get a new phone.”
            Jenna groaned, Vivi’s chatter reminding her of her appointment after work. Today of all days!
            “I can’t, not today. I have to go meet that guy remember?”
            “Oh, that’s today? Can’t you call him to cancel? Oh, right. Well, just don’t show up then.”
             Jenna bit her lips, pondering. Were the gods finally answering her prayers to spare her the drudgery of another blind date? But no, she couldn’t go back and tell her mother she’d stood up the guy. She could just imagine the nagging she’d face all weekend. My friends’ daughters are all getting married and having children. Why don’t you want to get married? Why are you being so choosy? Are you going to let me die without grandchildren?
Fuck. She’d just have to get this stupid date over with. God knows what kind of loser the marriage broker has found this time.
            “Can’t do that. Now the problem is, I don’t even know how I’m going to get to the restaurant without Waze. And with the Friday evening traffic – Oh God!”          
            “Why? Where is it?”
            “This really obscure place I found in Damansara – Poco Vino. I didn’t want to bump into anyone I know.”
            Vivi laughed. “But why not?”
            Jenna grimaced.  “If you’ve been forced to go on blind dates, you’ll know why.”
            “Why is your mum always shoving guys your way, anyway?”
            Jenna gave a self-depreciating laugh, momentarily forgetting her lost phone. She waved her hands at herself. “Hello? Indian, single, 31. That’s a frightful combination for her.” She didn’t add: size 14.
            Vivi bent down over her keyboard and began tapping. “You should tell your mum she’s got nothing to worry about. Guys hit on you all the time. Even Chinese guys check you out when we’re together. Ok, hang on, I’m getting something from the printer.”
            Jenna stared out the windows. The angry black clouds gathering in the sky matched her mood.
            Vivi came back, gesturing to the sky. “Traffic’s gonna be deadlocked with this rain. Here you go.” She thrust a piece of paper at Jenna.
            Jenna took it, puzzled. “A map? For the restaurant?”
            “I know. So old school, right?”  

            Jenna stared at it with blank horror. A real piece-of-paper map! The only kind of map that she knew how to follow, talked.

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