1987 is just a number
My sister Guelmari invites me to a get-together at her home. “Join us this Sunday; a couple of people from our production company will be there, Gaviota is visiting, and you can hang out with your nieces.” I am not sure. My bed is so comfortable, and I just started a new book that looks very promising. Do I want to get out of pajamas and into real pants? She goes on, “Aaron is cooking…” She should have opened with that. Like my cooking impaired Mami, and most females in my family, I cannot cook. The promise of a home cooked meal prepared by my brother-in-law is all I need to compel me to wear clothes and shoes.
I park my CRV in front of my sister’s house and my niece Lucia runs out to greet me. “Titi is here! I am so happy!” I cannot believe I’d hesitated. Why would I not want to be here? I walk into the house with my store-bought pastelillos and croquetas and join the group. Gaviota hugs me. My other niece, Elena, shows me a cake that looks like a scene from Frozen with light blue and white icing and marshmallow Olafs everywhere. “I made the cake myself, Titi!” Elena announces with pride. I am happy.
In the fenced in patio there is a married couple, and my sister’s co-worker Omar, who I have seen many times before. Omar is tall, lanky, and has long floppy brown hair that is constantly in motion. Every time I chat with Omar, I do not know if I want to reach out and touch his hair, ask him if he uses leave-in conditioner, or smack his hand so he stops playing with his brown mane. The first time I saw Omar I immediately found him cute in that nerdy-artist kind of way, but my sister mentioned a wife. My interest ended faster than it began. Life goes on. So, during the course of the evening, when Aaron and Guelmari start matchmaking me with Omar, I am caught by surprise. I am sure I am not getting a joke. I ask. “Are you people giving me Omar?” Aaron responds, “Yes! Why not? We like him. We can keep him in the family!” Everyone laughs. I figure Omar is horrified but he is not. He is smiling and looking my way. What is going on here?
The conversation about their work in the movie industry goes on. But now I notice more about Omar than his L’Oréal commercial hair. He has a nice big smile. His thick rimmed black glasses are adorable. Has he always worn those? He has a job, is very intelligent, talented, and all that hair. Goodness, that hair! Why not? Wait. Why not? And then I remember.
I turn to Omar who is sitting to my left. “Don’t you have a wife?”
“Had.” He informs me and smiles.
I am really checking him out while he happily chats away. My thoughts, that are slowly going from a PG-13 to R rating, are sprinkled with pieces of the conversations going on around me about writers, directors, and old movies. Aaron tells Omar “Yes, I wrote that script in 1998.”
Omar starts counting quietly next to me, but I still hear him. “1987, 1997…”
Couldn’t be. Could it? I snap out of my daydream and I turn to the man sitting by my side; the man who just seconds ago was the protagonist in the sexy fantasy occurring inside my head, and I carefully ask, “Where you born in 1987?”
He looks at me and replies with his huge smile. “Yes!”
I take a deep breath. “It is ok”, I tell myself. He is a man, not a kid. How many times have I heard ‘age is just a number’? Listen to him, so eloquent and passionate about his career. A date with this man will be entertaining. He has his shit together. He is young and full of life. Can you imagine that energy in bed? Who cares about a number like 1987? I am going to turn and ask him a question; a question that will open the door to a date. No. I am going to ask him out directly. But, what was I doing in 1987? Flashes of life on campus in Massachusetts bombard me. The year he was born, I was in college earning a bachelor’s degree.
I slowly turn to Omar and ask: “What shampoo do you use?”
-Marta A. Oppenheimer
Marta A Oppenheimer is a twice divorced woman searching for love in Miami, the land of palm trees, hurricane warnings, and Kim Kardashian lookalikes. In between dates, Marta is a published writer, graphic artist, spoken word performer, and a non-profit animal rescue group volunteer.
Marta’s stories have appeared on Chicken Soup for the Soul, Miami Living Magazine, TrueHumor.com, Ariel Chart International Literary Journal, and performed on The Moth Miami StorySlam, Miami Book Fair, Lip Service Stories: True Stories Told Out Loud, Raw Storytelling: Live True Storytelling Show, and The Only in Miami Show on Jolt Radio. The short story, “Love in a Pumpkin”, became a short film and an Official Selection 2022 for the Havana Film Festival in New York City. You can read more about her romance perils at: thedatingdaysofmartao.com and on Facebook: facebook.com/thedatingdaysofmartao but keep in mind that dating after 40 is for the brave.