I am a criminal.
I didn't know I was, but I've just recently come to that conclusion. It's the only explanation. I have unknowingly commited a common, but still unforgivable, crime in the eyes of family, friends and even many strangers.
What is this heinous crime, you might ask?
I'll tell you.
My birthday is coming up soon- please, no congratulations. You'll change the way you feel when I admit my terrible crime.
You see, I'm going to be thirty-three and- now brace yourself-
I'M STILL SINGLE!
I know, I know. How could I do such a thing?
And it's only just recently that I realized I'd commited this crime. I mean, I'd long been fielding the hints and comments of family and a few friends. These concerned people had apparently seen my downfall coming, had known I was heading toward this unforgivable act, but I'd put their concerns to the side. I'm fortunate they hadn't staged an intervention.
But I hadn't realized how widespread, how serious, my crime had become.
Until I had a job interview.
I won't name this prosperous company for the sake of tact (over one billion served!), and the fact that they might object to others knowing they'd briefly employed such a terrible criminal as me.
Everyone there had actually been very nice. Many of them had tried to save me from my downward spiral with the same comments of my family and friends, once they'd heard of my "situation".
But it was the actual interview that clued me in to my apparent discrepancy to the law, this un-God like "situation" of being a happy single woman of my age.
As you might imagine, the interview went along as any mediocre job interview might, and it certainly doesn't take many qualifications to be hireable at this certain un-named company(over one billion served!). Unless you wanted to be CEO or some such thing, which I certainly didn't. Well, actually, I wouldn't mind, but they weren't hiring for that position.
The interview went smoothly and I was hired, scheduled to return at nine that night for a two hour orientation.
The manager that hired me - I'll not repeat his name here- stood up with me as I was leaving.
That was when he asked IT, as he was noticing that on my application, I'd indicated that I had no preferences as to what schedule I worked.
"You don't have kids at home?" this strange man, that I'd known all of twenty minutes, asked me.
"No," I confirmed, still clueless that I was admitting to being a criminal. I wasn't yet disturbed, though, because this question had become a normal thing for me to hear upon meeting new people.
"And you're how old?" he asked.
( Now really, people- I'm being completely honest here. This man, who I thought might be around my age, really and truly asked me these things. I'm honestly not making up a single word of this. It's completely the truth. It was surreal.)
I wonder now what look I might have had on my face when he asked me this, but whatever it was, it didn't deter him. I wondered if these were qualifications for working at this particular franchise (over one billion served!).
But I answered anyway. After all, it wasn't a secret, and my birtdate was on my application for him to see if he'd really wanted to.
"Thirty-two," I told him. "Until April." I have no idea why I added that last part. It just seemed important, at the time, that he know I was only thirty two for another six weeks. After all, what if this was a test or something? I really needed this job at______. (Over one billion served!).
"Oh," he said. "And you're not married?" (I swear, he really asked me this!) I was standing just inches from him, because I had been about to leave and he'd followed me to the exit. I could see that he'd glanced at the cirlced S on the application, under the question 'marital status'.
"Uh, no," I said, a little more uncertain now. I wondered briefly if these were qualifications for this job and I had to resist the temptation to look around at the other employees. Some were young and some not so young, and most were in between. But were they all married, or all UN-married? Had I answered correctly? Had I passed the test, or had I failed?
"Not married and no kids," he said slowly, and I wondered if he was debating whether or not I was________ material (over one billion served!).
"Why not?" he asked then.
I just looked at him for a few minutes. This had gone way beyond the usual interaction with someone that would ask me any of these questions, and to me, it seemed a bit inappropriate for a job interview. Of course, I understand now that it was up to him to weed out potential criminals. This was his version of a background check.
Finally, not wanting to get into a conversation about my life and life decisions with this stranger, I just vaguely said, "Just hasn't been one of my priorities, I guess."
He nodded his head slowly then looked at me.
And then, and I swear to you all that this really happened, this strange young man that I'd never met before reached out and lightly grabbed one of my hands and patted it.
"Well, I'll be praying for you," he said. (Again, I swear all this happened!) "Maybe, with God's help, it'll happen someday. He'll get you out of that situation. He'll send you the husband meant for you."
I was stunned. I couldn't figure out if I should be angry, offended, indulgent or embarassed, or just laugh.
Instead, I just said, "Yeah." I have no idea what I meant by that, but it was the only thing that would come out.
Thankfully, that was the end of the interview.
On the walk home (my car was out of gas in my driveway), many thoughts swirled through my head. Why did this man assume that I needed prayer for my "Situation", as he'd termed it? I could tell, by the sympathy he'd displayed, that this was something in which I was supposed to feel sorry for myself about.
So why didn't I?
Why was I happy without the husband and kids everyone is insisting I should have by now?
Why was I not anxiously waiting for "the husband meant for me" to suddenly show up and make my life mean something?
I knew the answer to that one. Because my happiness isn't dependent upon others. I orchestrate my own fulfilment. If, at some time in the future, I acquire a husband and/or children, that's all fine and well. If it happens, then it goes without saying that I would have made that decision as the next stage of my life. But seeing as how, at the moment, I'm happy as I am, I cannot bring myself to make such life changing decisions to make friends and family happy, putting my own current fulfillment aside.
So when my family and friends do get together for that intervention they're likely planning, I'll be ready for them.
Apparently, I'm a rebel.
I'm Bonnie without her Clyde, and that's just the way I like it
But that's okay. I've learned that this crime is not punishable according to the law, only by the tolerance of peers, and I can handle them.