Read Operation Soulmate Online

Authors: Diane Hall

Operation Soulmate (3 page)

      Geraldine sighed as she watched Ben browsing through the menu. Lovely, lovely Ben. He was probably the only one she truly wanted to prove anything to. Deep down, she knew it would really mean something to him. She would secretly make it a personal mission to, one day, give him the proof he was waiting for.

      “So what sort of day did you have?” She asked, as he poured the first glass of wine.

      “Okay,” he said, “Wow, amazing day! Remember I told you about the woman who was waiting for a guy at work to ask her out on a date, and I told her the goal for this week was to make eye-contact with him, just that, nothing else?”

      “Oh yes, Miss Y!! Oh my God, what happened!?”

        Ben never mentioned his clients by name. It was a part of his professional code. Geraldine was just the same. People opened up to them both a lot in their sessions and, in their capacities as advisors, it was important to them that everyone who saw them should feel safe that their confidentiality was automatic and secure. And with the volume of people in the public eye who came seeking out their services, it was probably just as well. But they extended the same courtesy to all of their clients, regardless of their position in society. In their eyes, a client was a client, and as far as they both were concerned, it didn’t matter who a person was
perceived
to be, in the outside world, a heart was a heart, and everyone was seen through the yearnings of their heart, and not for the quality of their wardrobe. So over the years, they had built up a secret code. All men were either Mr or Master X and all women were Mrs or Miss Y. This uncomplicated system usually told them everything they needed to know, for the purpose of the conversation.

     “Can you believe she had never, even, made eye contact with him?”

     “Nooooooo!!”

     “Too shy!”

     “Woww,”

     “So that was her assignment for the week. I told her, if you want him to know you’ve noticed him, you are going to
have
to make
some kind of connection!!
She’d never spoken to him, not even to ask for a pencil. So anyway, this eye-contact thing was BIG for her. So she built it up all week, into this
major
thing, becoming even
more
terrified and even
more
invisible, as the week went on, just at the
thought
of giving him this teeny, tiniest of signals...and then bam! He comes in on Friday morning to grab a pile of papers from her desk and, knowing she’s about to run out of week, she just says to herself, ‘Okay, it’s now or never,’ And instead of ducking down to hide her blushing, as she usually does, she just looks up from her desk for the first time
ever
and straight into his eyes.”

    “Wow. Go Miss Y! So what happened!!!?”

     “Well, okay, so, at first he’s a little bit surprised....”

     “Well naturally,”

     “Well, yeah. But he gives her this big, beaming smile and she’s so shocked she nearly falls off her chair. So then, she gets
really
brave and she does it again at tea-break. Only this time when he smiles, she’s smiles back.”

     “Wow! Love it!!

     “Ok, it’s probably a tense, nervous little kind of smile but he totally goes for it. So then she’s totally into her shy, little version of flirting. It’s so sweet!”

      “Awwwww! That’s so loveleeeeeeeey.”

      “I
know!!!! S
o this carries on right through the day. Then around 4pm, she’s just outside her office, getting a drink and just hanging ...at the water-cooler...”

     “Where else,” they both chimed in unison.

     “He smiles at her, she smiles back ...and I don’t even
know
what happened next because I couldn’t get much sense out of her after that point in the story. But I
do
know they’re going out for a drink next Wednesday night. Good, midweek night, low pressure, straight after work, not too short notice, respects her time, asked where she fancied going. She is in Heaven!!!” 

     Geraldine sighed and just soaked up the sheer gorgeousness of it all, suddenly awash with feelings of awe, admiration and affection. Ben just seemed to glow when he spoke about his work, and that glow just seemed to spread somehow and fill up whichever room he was in at the time. He topped up their glasses and sat back looking satisfied and slightly mischievous again. “It’s hard to believe a woman could be that shy in this day and age, though, don’t you think? The way it’s all just kind of
out there
with you people nowadays...”

     “What do you mean,
you people
?”

     “Hey,” He said, holding his hands up in mock defensiveness, “I’m all
for
women approaching
me,
bring it on, that’s what I say, but the whole shyness thing, it’s kind of sweet, don’t you think?”

     Geraldine looked at him. He was so full of it! Women were always approaching him and he hated it!!! “Okay then Mr
Bring it on
, since you’re so obviously in demand and so
clearly
enamoured with this whole upfront approach, how come you’re still so very single? And if you’re
not
so totally enamoured with it, which I suspect is really the case, then how come you didn’t ask cute, sweet, shy Miss Y out yourself all this time...oh I know...”

     “Professional code” They both piped up in unison.

     “I would
never
go out with a client. It would seriously compromise the bond of trust between us. And anyway, coaching someone kind of takes away a lot of the beautiful mystery of getting to know them ...slowly...over time...” Blah, blah, blah, thought Geraldine.

   “Ah, so you
like
mystery then, do you?”

     “Sometimes...” he said, smiling enigmatically. Was he blushing slightly? Sometimes, Geraldine really couldn’t figure Ben out, at all. He was so clear and congruent in every other area of his life but was constantly contradicting himself when it came to his own personal approach to love. He liked shyness and mystery in a woman, yet also appreciated the upfront approach. Didn’t like women who wore too much make-up but couldn’t stand it when people didn’t make an effort. Claimed to be looking for a woman with depth and integrity, but always went for these model-types. It was as if there was this huge, empty space in his life, reserved for someone who so obviously didn’t exist,
couldn’t
exist. That level of perfection was impossible to achieve in a single human being. She deeply suspected that he’d secretly become too used to being single now and was just too
scared
to ever try again. Sometimes it was impossible to even imagine just what sort of woman was
ever
going to get under his skin and really shake him up. And there was no doubt in her mind, whatsoever, that a good shake-up in the love department, was
exactly
what Ben needed. Someone who would just blow his mind, so he could, finally stop thinking so much and start listening to his heart again.

     “Keep going Mr. ‘Bring it on’; you’re not even convincing yourself.”             

Ben studiously ignored her. He was used to negotiating tricky questions about his personal life.

     “And to answer your
other
question, it’s my
choice
to be single, at the moment. I’m newly divorced and just taking time to heal and to pay my respects for what once was.”

     “Two years!!
Newly
divorced!! I’ll bet there are Vicars who start dating and remarry sooner.”

      “Oh, you had to bring the church into it, didn’t you? I can’t believe that even
you
would use religion to bolster up a weak and flailing argument. Okay, here’s the deal. Vicars and politicians
look
good married, it’s PR. I’m waiting for the real thing.”

      “Oh, good answer, and a love-coach
wouldn’t
look good married then....?”

      “A
relationship
coach looks best relating,
truthfully
, with his personal integrity in tact, don’t you think?”

      “Hmmm.” Geraldine was not, at all, convinced. She got up to warm some plates in the oven, leaving Ben to wrestle with his contradictions for a while. He’d been challenged and they both knew it. But why
was
he still single?! What was his problem!? He was too nice, that was his problem. Yes, he did have women throwing themselves at him, constantly, but after a few dates, they quickly became friends or he’d just end up coaching them and feeling resentful. Geraldine had stood by and watched as one glamorous woman after another had turned him on, turned him into her coach and eventually turned him unceremoniously
out
, into the
friend zone,
only to disappear in hot pursuit of some irresponsible or otherwise wildly unsuitable guy who would offer them nothing more than the thrill of the chase, the lure of the unattainable.

      Ben picked up the receiver and proceeded to order dinner, while Geraldine nodded, shook her head and whispered “Mushroom bhaji,” as he tried to concentrate on speaking to the waiter. He didn’t want to think about what was going on in his dating life. He’d decided recently that women were just a little bit too complicated these days...and maybe, just a little bit too much like men. They actually
did
seem to relish the unattainable, the challenge. They were used to having to run after the careers they desired, put in bids for houses they wanted to buy, fight off competitors with their wit, intelligence and aptitude for the long, hard corporate haul. So when even the most eligible man was
too
available, emotionally, mentally, physically or in any other way, he ceased to be interesting. It was fair enough, in a way, he supposed. Men had been running things that way for centuries. But what happened when
everyone
thrived on the thrill of the chase, the seemingly unattainable? In the end nothing was
ever
attained, as everyone on the planet ran around chasing their own tail. Instead of someone, sometime stopping the madness, turning around, and finally noticing someone who
was
attainable and sharing one beautiful, brief moment of bashful eye-contact that might slowly lead to a life-time of passionate unravelling, and loving discovery.

      “Hang on a minute” He said, folding his arms decisively, as he replaced the receiver. “You’re a
fine
one to talk! “You sit around all day, telling people how to keep their marriages together, find a soul mate, let go of the past, have the perfect relationship. You do exactly the same thing I do, okay maybe in your own slightly kooky, other-worldly way, but it’s basically the same thing, and I don’t see
you
looking all that loved up right now.”  Geraldine was stunned for a second or two.

      “What do you mean, kooky?”

      “Oh, no. I don’t think ‘kooky’ is really what that last question was about, do you?”

      “I’m sorry, Did you ask me a question. I don’t remember there actually being a
question
in what you just said. Maybe you meant to
imply
a question but, hey, it’s a bit late for debating by implication. It’s too vague. Wow it really
is
getting late,” she said, glancing at the clock (which treacherously announced that it was only 7.35) and stretching with faux-tiredness, while every cell in her body stood on high emotional alert. There was definitely an impending penetration of heart and mind looming on the horizon.
How
had they managed to get onto this subject anyway? Only 7.35 ...and now there was that blasted take-away coming...  She was trapped!

      Geraldine also despised discussing her disastrous love-life. In fact, just recently, she had almost given up on relationships completely. Yet, it haunted her that she was still single and fast approaching thirty. It wasn’t, however, something she was overly keen on discussing in any great detail...and Ben
loved
detail. She was crap at relationships and that was that. She got up to leave but he stopped her by rushing to the living-room door and blocking off her exit.  “Oh, no...We’re gonna have one of these aren’t we?” She said, desperately trying to avoid eye-contact.

      “No. Its okay, no need to panic. I’m just curious to know why
you
know so much about how to have a great relationship, why
you’re
responsible for so many happy couplings and yet,
you’re
still so single?” It was a good point. Geraldine shrugged her pyjama-clad shoulders and quickly glanced over to see if they’d left the back door open. It was locked securely.

      “It’s my personal choice at the moment, “ She said bravely, “I’m newly aware of the fact that I’m crap at relationships and I’m taking time to heal and to pay my respects for what never was.”

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