As Muli sat thumbing through the texts that had begun to pile up, a cold splash of dew kissed her cheek and a small, yellow bird alighted from the bush. In that moment, she noticed that the Peony and the Narcissus grew together creating this banquet of color: red, yellow and orange enfolding and overflowing on this cold, clear afternoon.
Muli was waiting for her boyfriend of three years, Jensi because he had specifically asked her to come to the bench near the old Scholar tree which she referred to as their chaperone.
Muli worked as a geologist at a global mining company, Binto, where she quickly promoted to senior scientist because of her hard work and the lucrative deposits her team unearthed. Graduating at the top of her class with a specialty in hydraulics, Professor Guin recommended Muli to Binto’s chief geologist even though she was just twenty-six and a woman.
Around the time she was hired, Muli met Jensi at a company function. Jensi, a facility engineer and the designated grill chef, teased Muli that she was almost a “forgotten woman.” He therefore asked her out and the two became close; intimate over the next several months. Both agreed that marriage would require more money and this would come with time, but now was not the time. That was three years ago.
Muli finished answering texts, glanced at the top left of her Android and noted that Jensi was quite late. The initial twinge of irritation had turned into a full blown furrowed brow. He had asked her to meet here and now he was late. She assumed that he wanted to shop and needed her to make the choice, but now the train would be packed. Perhaps Jensi had to work late, but he could have texted her at least. Muli prepared to call him when she saw a shadow emerge through the foliage near the war statue at the center of the park. It was Jensi walking briskly through the wet grass eyeing the top of the “chaperone” as he came closer to the cold, metal bench where Muli sat.
“Sorry I’m late” called Jensi as he approached so no concessions or apologies would be needed once near to her. Muli stood up as he approached so Jensi could see the warmth in her cinnamon, brown eyes, reach for her soft, cool hands or at least move towards her. None of these gestures did he offer. Jensi instead sharply swept is arm in front silently commanding that they walk toward the war monument. He kept a slight distance from her and would not make eye contact. Muli could feel that something lingering; hidden in the back of his mind was about to come forward.
“Muli, I’m just going to get to the point” barked Jensi, a wiry, nervous character who disliked poker, baseball and other “complex sports.”
“We are friends and I need to see other people.” When he said this, Muli stopped walking and stared at Jensi. Her eyes were fixed upon him in disbelief and he continued, “It’s not you…it’s me. I just need to be free.”
Muli felt the frayed, old rope she didn’t even know she had been grabbing all this time suddenly yanked from her hands burning through her palms as she desperately grasped the final stub. How, she thought, could a relationship she had been in for three years become this burning rope in a matter of seconds as the callouses began to bleed?
“What are you saying?” Muli stammered her voice wavering in shock “What are you telling me?” she cried as tear welled in her eyes.
“It’s over Muli.” He paused and then added, “I’ll get your things over to you, but I need us to not be in contact.”
As she clung to the last strings of rope, Muli sobbed, “Who is she?” Jensi responded, “Whoever she is or is not, that doesn’t have anything to do with what we had. Look, I have to get going. I know this isn’t easy, but it’s better this way.”
Jensi then cracked the corner of his mouth in a half-smile, look down and then up and said, “Bye.” Jensi turned, walk briskly away from the monument and back towards the tree-filled area disappearing from sight.
The last bulb of the rope snapped out of her hands and she was falling backwards down the empty abyss watching the blue sky open up before her at a thousand miles an hour. The horizon was like a streaming vortex becoming wider and dimmer. Muli’s salty, wet tears burned the corners of her mouth. The top of her lip was warm from the phlegm that she could not seem to wipe away. Her cheeks seared by the cold as the world became dark all of a sudden. It stayed that way…but only for a moment.
In retrospect, said Muli, “This was the first day of my life; a new beginning.”
From this day forward, Muli decided that she was not going to date or wait her way into becoming “a forgotten woman.” On this same day that Muli was rocked with the breakup of her three year relationship, she stumbled that evening onto a website that changed her life forever for the better.
Muli realized that she was like the beautiful bud, the new flower, blossoming into a delicious, sweet apple at the top of the tree. Only the most persistent, clever and strong farmer would find the ladder, the basket, the cherry picker and the gloves to carefully harvest this prize which contained heirloom seeds; a champion breed. Muli realized that she was the reward and she needed a smart, strong, committed farmer for her harvest now and for many years to come not not just someone looking for easy, cheap, low-hanging fruit. Her inner and outer beauty was a prize that only the best man should approach.
The site was a fun, discreet matchmaking service for busy professional women and men looking for love, new beginnings, broader horizons and strategic family alliances. The last part about strategic family alliances was what got her attention. The service focused on the modern needs women have for love and for a new beginning with the right man. It also focused on the goals of the family. Muli’s mother and father really did not approve of Jensi even though he was an engineer because they did not consider him motivated or enterprising. He liked a simple life and had no real goals beyond just working for the company and generating enough income to make a living and then retire. Muli was driven to succeed and had received many accolades from her boss and from the company president. Her goal was to one day create her own mining company focused on advanced hydraulics and renewable resources. This site was primed to help her find a match in line with her and her parents’ goals for finding the right man based on traditional and modern practices.
The site offered broader horizons which excited Muli because she had mastered English in college and wanted to learn about renewable hydraulic applications being explored in the Monterey Bay region of California in the United States. Muli had heard that there was a Mandarin community of expats there and perhaps an opportunity to meet and network with like-minded entrepreneurs.
Muli felt suddenly renewed, refreshed and excited. Could it be that this was the same day that she had just broken up with her boyfriend and yet she felt this happy? Perhaps she had just been settling for low-hanging fruit instead of rising to the occasion and raising the bar. This service would now help Muli locate top apples like her.