He lay a track of breadcrumbs for her to follow around the city. She imagined herself tracing his steps, the ones that bring his distinctive swag to life. She danced across the pebbles, holding his hint in her mind. There she left her own and skipped off, elated, bursting with the idea of messages, black roses, a marriage proposal. She knew he would find her location, she would know his, they would be brought closer and closer, tension rising, impatience seething.
Mr Tinder sat at his desk manipulating these dolls; puppeteering.
He could see they were going round in circles, that were enlarging, but the space between man and woman was closing and soon they would be almost touching. They would only know who the other one was by the dark rings under the eyes of exhausted chasing, and the hat he flirtatiously proposed to wear. His inner Tinder knew she would be flattered that he followed through on his promise.
Mr Tinder reclined and his lips turned up.
The dolls were clever, they were successful at chasing each other’s tails, and feeling close, the more they bonded over this tumultuous but seemingly ordered seduction. They were positioned in bars on opposite sides of the street, so single, each of them. Cookies in front of them, signalling the initial joke of laziness, no girl; broken buttons-no girl. No lover to mend. A bottle of red wine each, staring at the red wall opposite, both with an inner charisma that sparked from knowing the other was in exactly the same place. Sipping quickly, imagining how the flurry of conversation and intimacy would take shape. Another bottle, more red wall, block of thought, desperation. An increasingly torturous wait. No understanding of why the truck the back of which they were both bundled up in was heading due south towards Hell, and why neither could stop the other’s rolling ominous movement. Tired, exhausted, single, anywhere is better than this chair. No love here at all, each wanted to feel one at least of its very many manifestations and variations, and they were dragging each other through this distance and fantasy. Neither of them knowing whether any of it was real. After all they were just puppets of the tyrant Tinder.
Up they get, walking with a similar charm but despairing sway that made each vulnerable, screaming for support, something to hold each other up and straight. Onto the street they tumble, out of their trucks, they were shoved out by ghosts in aprons, rolling on the floor, up they get again, spin their eyes up and down the street, set eyes one onto the other, instantly turn away, they feel struck by electricity, legs wobbling, dribbling wine. But this time they hold the gaze and float towards each other. Fingers, hands touch, arms embrace bodies and legs and feet entangle each other together, winding and winding until they feel as one.
Mr Tinder strokes his beard. He is everywhere now.
They really look at each other for the first time and see their white coats and greased hair with fresh eyes, the sterile white lighting, the deep white corridors like an oesophagus leading to the gut. Where they and their thoughts will be digested and then shunned together or apart, excreted as dirt, matter displaced, and it is then the meagre humans’ only duty to resurrect themselves as a clean couple of souls. They pinch each other and it was real, for the first time. Into each others’ eyes they stared and held each other as their legs collapsed at the same time and they were emblazoned by the black hole they had been dreaming up the last years of their life, and together, where it sparked and one became three, together, over the last days of manic brain exploration and expulsion. They would be eaten by their own creation, their imagination, lust baby: brain foetus.
A siren wailed, they waited on the floor with arms one in another.