136. There were 136 tiles on the ceiling in the living room of my house. I had lost count twice, interest once, and a mix of the two on various occasions. I glanced back up at the clock- 10:45. If he showed up right then and we took off, we'd have arrived just in time to be five minutes too late.
I picked up the phone and flipped through the caller id to see if I had missed a call, which was highly unlikely seeing as how the phone hadn't been more than 12 inches from me at any given time for the past four-and-a-half hours. So it really didn't surprise me that the last person that had called that night had been my parents to say they should be home around noon tomorrow. That was three hours ago. The remaining fifteen minutes crawled by before I finally got up and allowed the lingering thought to materialize: he wasn't coming.
I avoided the many mirrors we have scattered around the house until I reached the bathroom. I didn't want to see how wrinkled my dress was from sitting and laying on the couch in various positions or what effect that had on my hair. I didn't want to see how smeared my makeup was from tears and carelessness. I didn't want to see how a girl looked after getting stood up, yet still I allowed my eyes to meet those of my reflection. And it was in that moment that it all became okay.
My eye makeup had smeared and streaked a few centimeters down my eyes, I had that red, sad, just-cried look about me, and my lipstick and gloss had faded. My hair was frizzy and coming undone, and my dress looked like the surface of a disturbed lake, yet it was okay.
I washed my face and changed into a nightgown before turning off the radio I had been listening to (and not listening to) for the past five hours. I picked up the three magazines I had thumbed through and put away the deck of cards and yo-yo sitting on the coffee table. I threw away the last bites of food I had been too sad to eat and put the dishes in the sink. Then I went and climbed into bed and clicked off the lamp on my nightstand. I had been stood up. I had waited for five hours for a boy who wasn't coming. I had watched old re-runs of television shows I held no interest in, I had read the past three months' issues of my favorite magazine, I had eaten out of sadness, I had counted the ceiling tiles, I had play Solitaire four times, built three card towers, sorted the cards by number, then by suit. I had tried unsuccessfully to make the yo-yo come back up after I dropped it, and I had jumped every time the phone rang only to talk to two telemarketers, a wrong number, and my parents. But it was okay. I could wash my face and change clothes. I could clean up the front room and then go to bed. I still couldn't make the darn yo-yo come back up, but I could face my reflection and be strong. And that made it...okay.