Haiii guyzzz. I'm excited to share this new (humorous and romantic, not at all angsty, potentially a sprinkle of drama, and a whole lot of snark) story! Phew. Don't be scared. I know you're not going to believe me, but yeah. This is Hadley-approved and when has she ever lied to you? Right. Never. She's an angel.
I'm thinking I'll post twice a week, Mondays & Fridays? So... see you Friday! Hope everyone's staying safe & healthy (and sane!).
Masenry liked your photo.
The Instagram alert pops up on my phone while I'm in the grocery store.
I frown, not recognizing the username, but ignore it and go back to shopping.
A few minutes pass. I pull my phone out of my bag with the intent of opening my notes to make sure I have everything on my list when another alert appears.
Masenry commented on your photo.
Curiosity nags at me, and I attempt to use Face ID to unlock my phone. It annoyingly fails—my frown is probably so deep it thinks I'm someone else—so I type in my password.
The photo this person commented on was one I posted earlier this morning of a bouquet I'd been working on. Our shop just got its first shipment of peonies for the season, and I couldn't help but throw something together. Pink peonies, ivory roses, white hydrangeas, and pops of eucalyptus leaves.
I glance below the photo to see the comment.
Masenry: Thought you had better taste than that.
At the end of the condescending comment, there's a coffee emoji along with the one which looks like it's smirking.
For some reason, this pisses me off even more.
I glance back at the photo. I mean, sure, I guess there is a Starbucks cup on the table behind the flowers but… that's not exactly the focus of the photo. Also, who gives a shit?
Before I reply, I click on their profile. I'm not following this person, but they're following me, which is weird. What's also strange is that we have zero mutual friends. Their profile says they live in Seattle, but their photo isn't even of them; it's of a tattoo—a black and white skeleton wearing a T-shirt and smoking a cigarette.
"Excuse me?" a voice behind me calls out. I turn around and see an elderly woman, sitting in a mobility scooter. "You're blocking the aisle, dear."
I'm standing in the cereal aisle, staring at my phone like a moron.
"Sorry about that," I mumble, offering a polite smile. I push my cart closer to the shelves and turn my attention back to my phone.
I scroll through Masenry's photos to see who they are. I'm able to gather that they're a tattoo artist, and I get lost in some of their designs for a moment before I remember the task at hand—figure out who this person is. It's hard to do, though, because all of their photos are of their work. Any pictures involving humans are just random body parts showing off the finished product on clients. So I can't really figure out who they are. There's contact info at the top of their Instagram, but the name attached to the email doesn't ring a bell, and I've never heard of the tattoo shop they've listed.
I click back to their comment, and my glare is so intense, I'm almost squinting. What do they mean by "thought you had better taste than that"? Clearly, I don't. I like Starbucks. So what if that makes me a basic bitch? I'm tempted to reply with a simple "fuck you." But that's impolite. And maybe a bit of an overreaction.
Instead, I reply with fuck off and add my own smirking emoji.
The elderly woman's voice calls out to me again. "Excuse me? Your—"
"Blocking the aisle. I know. I'm sorry."
"No. Your child is eating cereal from the box."
My head snaps up.
She points behind me, and I turn around to find my ten-year-old brother standing there with his hand in a box of Cocoa Puffs. Well, half-brother. When Renee remarried, she and Phil decided to try for a kid. I had my fingers crossed for a sister, but I was blessed with Liam, the biggest pain in my ass.
"Dude. Not cool." I snatch the box of cereal from him and toss it into the basket.
"We're going to pay for it anyway. And you're taking too long!" he whines. "I'm hungry."
I'm almost offended the lady thought he was mine. I'm only twenty-three. So I would've had him when I was thirteen? I'm visibly annoyed.
"He's not my kid," I tell the lady.
"Mommy! Why would you say that?" Liam fake cries. "Why won't you feed me? Why don't you love me?"
He's a literal demon.
I roll my eyes, ignoring the shocked look on the woman's face as she zooms past me, likely on her way to report me to CPS. Fucking hell. This is why I hate taking Liam with me in public. But since he was kicked out of his after-school program six weeks ago for attempting to start a fire indoors while singing Kumbaya, he's stuck with me for a couple hours every Monday. And on Wednesdays and Fridays, I have to drop him off and pick him up from his Coding class. This is just until Renee can figure something else out for him, but I'm starting to get the feeling she's not trying very hard. Fortunately for her, my job as a florist has me starting work at seven in the morning, so my afternoons are free. It's not as fortunate for me, but I guess I don't mind helping out.
Liam starts up again, louder this time, catching the other customer's glares. "Mommy, why do you ignore me? Is that your way of showing me you love me?"
I stop in place and grab the already-open cereal from the cart and shove the box back into his hands.
"That's not something to joke about," I warn him.
But he's already tuned me out and is munching happily on his cereal.
Later that night when I'm in bed and can't sleep, I open Instagram. Masenry still hasn't responded yet. Which is good because it means they listened—they fucked right off, like I told them to. But I still get a nagging feeling about not knowing who they are. Who the hell goes around and leaves shit comments for no reason? And to someone they don't even know? Okay, well… on second thought, I guess that is kind of internet culture at its finest. I shouldn't be surprised.
I go back to their profile and hit the "follow" button. It's a passive aggressive move, but I don't care. I spend a little time cyberstalking their page again. I wish I could criticize their work, but I just can't. It's all really good. The lines are neat, intricate. Everything is in blackwork, which I also find intriguing and almost... elegant? There's a very romantic feel to their work, and it's obvious they put a lot of time and effort into their craft.
But they're still an asshole.
And I just accidentally liked one of their photos.
I quickly unlike the photo, hoping that somehow cancels out what I just did and won't alert them. I doubt that's how it works, but it's worth a shot.
When I wake up the next morning and look at my phone with one eye open, I'm slightly confused at what I see.
Masenry tagged you in a post.
Who is this fucker, and what is their deal?
I open Instagram and see that this person has tagged me in a drawing of a Starbucks to-go cup. And on it, where a customer's name might be written, the words "fuck off" are are neatly scrawled.
Along with the photo, their caption reads: A little inspiration brought to you by Swannie.
I sit up and rub my eyes, still unsure if what I'm seeing is correct. I'm mildly pissed, a tad intrigued, and completely confused.
Swannie: You're welcome?
They reply to my comment before I close the app.
Masenry: I didn't necessarily thank you.
"Unbelievable," I say out loud to myself.
Swannie: You have issues.
Masenry: I know. But at least one of them isn't drinking coffee that tastes like cardboard.
Swannie: What if I like my coffee to taste like cardboard?
I'm an idiot. I should delete that comment. In fact, I should delete all of my comments. Their photo has now been infiltrated with our snarky back-and-forth for anyone to see.
Masenry: lol did I make you mad?
Lol? This person doesn't get to laugh out loud at me.
Before I can come up with something witty to say, which I'm severely lacking right now, another notification grabs my attention.
Masenry liked your photo.
I glare at my screen and click my way to the post they've liked. It's the photo of me last week at King's, standing by the dart board. My arms are splayed out to frame the board, showing off the bullseye I made. I was pretty drunk when it happened, so it was impressive. At least, to me and Jess it was.
A comment suddenly appears under the photo.
Masenry: At least you have good aim. And good taste in bars.
I'm offended this person might frequent my favorite bar. I try to think back if I remember any weird encounters with anyone there recently, but nothing comes to mind.
I read their comment one last time and decide against replying to them. I'll let it go; I'll ignore them. I have better things to do than waste my time arguing with some dick on the internet. Besides, my shitty coffee is waiting, and so is my dignity.