Nick looked down at the device implanted on his wrist, his timer, the screen still showing dashes where numbers should be displayed. It still amazed him that he was convinced to get a timer implanted, what amazed him still is the stories he'd seen about how it actually worked. People brought together by the timer were seemingly matched well. The timer was only a decade old, so it had not quite stood a long test of time, but in this day and age where marriages were lasting five years or less, those brought together with the time were becoming long term couples. The news still had stories of the first couple brought together by the timer to show that they were still together, they were still in love.
The timer was a small LED display that was literally implanted into your wrist, as soon as it was attached the display would come to life with a countdown that was how long until you would meet your one true love. AJ took Nick with him when he got his implanted and while he was there, the sales rep and AJ both convinced Nick that he should get an implant. AJ's timer immediately lit up with 1145 days 9 hrs 39 min. Nick remembers gawking at the timer lighting up instantly like that, he admitted now that he was a little excited to get his implanted after that.
The pain of the implant was a bit more than Nick anticipated, but it was over quickly. He watched his timer expecting to see the numbers light up on his screen at any time, but when only the dashes remained he could hear a disappointed sound come from the woman who had completed the implantation.
“What?” Nick asked her.
“Well it's not anything to be worried about. You have to remember that since the timers are relatively new, not everyone has one. Your display has not lit up because either your true love has not been implanted yet, or ...” She didn't finish her statement but Nick guessed the next word out of her mouth would have been “dead”.
Now, Nick could kick himself for letting AJ drag him to that place. No, that wasn't it, deep down Nick knew he was really upset with the fact that AJ's timer continued to tick down daily and Nick's timer had still not even lit up.
“What's eating at you?” Trina, the waitress, asked him while setting down his plate of food. AJ and some new girl were ignoring Nick and talking only to each other.
“Nothin', just waiting for my food.” He responded forcing a smile. His issues with his timer were really of no concern to the woman who was merely serving him his food. “Hey guys, food.” he shouted to the others so they would notice and move their arms making it easier for the server to place their food in front of them.
“This looks great,” the girl, Nick believed her name was Sara, said. She rubbed her hands together and picked up her silverware deciding what item on her plate to stick her fork into first.
Nick shook his head and ate his food in silence, watching the two eat and chat and giggle together.
“AJ, I wish you wouldn't bring me along on your dates in the future.” Nick told his friend later that evening after they dropped Sara off at her place.
“Sorry man, she really did have a friend that was supposed to go with us so you wouldn't be alone.” AJ shrugged his shoulders and let himself into Nick's condo, then into his fridge, then into his soda.
“Why are you dating her anyway, your timer isn't anywhere near close to zeroing out.” Nick threw himself on the couch and grabbed the soda AJ held out to him.
“Her time zeros out in about a week, she wanted to have some flings before she was with her one and only for the rest of her life.” AJ winked at his friend and popped the top of his drink, guzzling half of it before he spoke again. “Just because I know when I will meet her doesn't mean I can't have fun along the way.”
Nick knew that one of the reasons AJ got the timer implanted was to know that he didn't mess up the relationship with his one true love by treating her as a one night stand. Now, with the timer AJ could meet all the girls he wanted, have his fun and know that he wasn't pushing aside the one girl that would make him happy the rest of his life.
Surprisingly, Nick found himself avoiding girls with timers and focusing only on girls who did not have one. It was a challenge to him to find the girl who was still timer-less and get to know her, ultimately convincing her to get a timer. He wasn't sure why it affected him so much, he wasn't any worse off than if he didn't have the timer at all.
He sat staring at the image on the screen, sipping his soda but not really paying attention to anything he was doing.
“Nick, stop worrying about it man. One day your timer will just go off and then you can stop worrying and just have fun, like me.” He tossed his can into the recycle and moved towards the door.
“See ya, AJ.” Nick muttered still staring at the flashing screen.