The following strange but true incident took place in Los Angeles in the spring of 1994. It concerns a condition we have all experienced in our younger days; the pangs of unrequited love; the emotional agony of being infatuated with a person who doesn't even know you exist. But this tale of unanswered love has a bit of a twist to it.
THE CUPID INCIDENT
In March 1994, a 23-year-old burglar alarm installer from Bakersfield named Lance Warren became intensely infatuated with a 25-year-old divorcee named Hannah Shulkind, who lived in Santa Monica. Lance had only spent a day in the woman's company, installing a burglar alarm, and he had fallen head over heels in love with her. Lance had sensed that Hannah was a lonely lady disappointed with the way her life had gone after a messy divorce. The alarm installer had seen his version of Miss Right in Hannah Shulkind; she was as beautiful inside as she was on the outside; she loved animals and had adopted four dogs. Lance too was an animal lover. Hannah had told Lance that she thought her soulmate was somewhere out there in the big city, perhaps even in another country somewhere, but reckoned she would never find him. Lance had wanted to tell Hannah there and then that he might be that guy, but Lance was the introverted type, and never said a word. He wished he could turn back the clock so he could tell Hannah how he had been looking for someone like her for so long.
In the meantime, Lance couldn't stop thinking about Hannah. He drove his car past her home most days, just to catch a fleeting glance of his secret object of devotion. His stomach turned over whenever he caught a glimpse of the young woman. He even dreamed of her. Lance never even told his closest friend Danny about his secret crush, because he knew his mate would tell him to grow up and snap out of it or something insensitive along those lines.
Then one saturday afternoon, something quite bizarre happened. Lance's phone rang. He answered it and an English voice said: 'Hello, is that Lance Warren?'
'Yeah.' said Lance.
'Are you still interested in Miss Shulkind?' the well-spoken English caller asked.
'Hey?' Lance recoiled with shock.
'Do you still have romantic erm, aspirations regarding Miss Shulkind?' said the Englishman.
Lance glanced about suspiciously, wondering if he was on 'The All New Candid Camera Show'. The young man really did think it was a wind-up of some sort. 'Who is this?' Lance asked.
'That isn't important, but you can call me George.' said the mysterious caller.
Lance was naturally intrigued. He hadn't told anyone about his feelings towards Hannah, so how did the caller know how he felt about her? It was really baffling. Lance asked 'George' to explain how he knew so much.
'I'm not allowed to say actually, and it's really besides the point. Are you still in love with Miss Shulkind?'
Lance's face burnt with embarrassment, and he finally muttered: 'Yeah, I suppose so.'
There was a pause, then George said: 'Right. We've made arrangements for you to dine with Miss Shulkind on Monday evening at 8 o'clock. We will mail further details to you soon. Good day.'
Lance said: 'Hey! George! What do you mean?'
But George hung up. Lance keyed in the trace code on his phone, but the caller's number was evidently untraceable. Lance was suddenly very nervous. He racked his brains trying to fathom out how anyone could know about his love for Hannah. It just didn't make sense. Lance was standing at the front of his house first thing monday morning, waiting for the postman to arrive with his mail. The bemused postman handed Lance the mail and said: 'Waiting for a loveletter?' Lance was so paranoid he said: 'Are you in on this too?'
The mailman didn't know what Lance was talking about. He turned and quickly left.
Among Lance's bills there was a manilla envelope. Lance carefully opened it. On a pink card there was the message: 'A table has been booked for you and Hannah Shulkind at the Matsuhisa Restaurant. Please arrive at 8 pm. All the expenses are on me.'
Below the unsigned message was a small diagram showing where the restaurant was. Then Lance noticed a piece of A2 sized paper in the manila envelope. A message on it said: 'Here is a copy of the letter forwarded to Miss Shulkind on your behalf.' And what followed was what can only be described as a long-winded love-letter, telling Miss Shulkind how much he loved her. It contained jaw-breaking words Lance hadn't even heard of before, but it was a very touching letter, and read like the work of some romantic novelist. Lance's stomach turned. He felt as if some interfering snooper was watching him. Lance had to tell someone. So he told his friend Danny, and he showed him the letter and told him about the mysterious George character who had phoned him. Danny was a rather imaginative person who loved talking about government conspiracies and UFO coverups, and he told Lance that he was probably being used by the CIA. Lance said that was ridiculous and didn't make sense. Danny advised his friend to go along to the restaurant just to see what happened.
Lance became more nervous as the hours ticked by. He borrowed his cousin's tuxedo, and Danny drove him to the restaurant. Lance entered the up-market restaurant and Danny watched from the sidewalk opposite. A sleek black mercedes with gold-tinted windows pulled up outside the restaurant and out stepped Hannah Shulkind in a beautiful red flowing satin dress. She looked absolutely stunning. She entered the restaurant and Lance's stomach got the butterflies. He rose from his seat at the front-window table and held out his trembling hand. Hannah giggled and reached out, and Lance kissed her hand. They both then sat at the table. The waiter came over with the menu and after the couple had ordered, Hannah told Lance that he was very romantic and imaginative. But Lance felt out of his depth and told her the strange story. Hannah glared at the burglar-alarm engineer, who stared at his hands and suddenly felt like a fake and a failure. But Lance then added that he agreed with everything the love letter had stated. He said he had fallen in love with Hannah the moment he had first set eyes upon her. Hannah started to smile, and by the end of the night, the couple were holding hands and kissing like schoolkids on a first date. In the following year, Hannah and Lance were married. They spent many hours trying to work out who had been the mysterious cupid who had gone to so much trouble to bring them together. They never did find out, but at the wedding reception in Los Angeles, a parcel arrived containing a gold-plated electric toaster. The gift-tag simply said it was from 'George.'
COPYRIGHT 1998 "TOM SLEMEN'S STRANGE TALES"
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