Friday, September 22, 2017

First Date

The bitter taste was overwhelming, uplifted only a little bit by a tinge of sweetness, and it would only get harder to swallow as it warmed over the course of the night. With a grimace, she remembered why she hated wine. “I actually hate wine,” she blurted out, then blushed and looked across at her date.

One of his eyebrows was raised as he set down his own glass, “Oh yeah?” he replied, “I prefer a good beer myself.” That only made her groan internally. Most beer was flat out gross.

With an absent nod, she noticed the waiter approaching. Finally! She thought, sitting up straight. As he set the plates down, the waiter gave a customary “Please enjoy your meal,” and she said “Thanks you too!” as her date said “Alright, let's eat.” The waiter turned to go and she pictured herself banging her head against a wall, knowing, just knowing that the waiter thought she was a total weirdo.

They'd ordered a spiral pasta with spicy red sauce (no meatballs), and a dish that just sounded just like any other grilled chicken to her. The pasta was hers of course, her favorite food, though she had to wonder what kind of guy got grilled chicken on a night out at a relatively nice restaurant. When she noticed his fork pointed her way, she looked up and listened. “Why'd you just get pasta?” he asked, and she forced a smile, “It's my favorite,” she said simply, and he grunted before going back to his chicken.

After a few minutes of enjoying the pasta, she looked up, “You know something interesting, in Japan it's considered polite to slurp your food. It shows appreciation to the chef!” she liked thinking about differences in culture. “Huh, that's weird.” he said simply, and she realized her mouth had been full. She swallowed quickly, a little too quickly, and had to take a drink to wash it down. The taste of the wine caught her off guard, and this time she did gag, hoping he hadn't seen. When she looked up he was texting.

“Hey, have you seen that new MTV show?” he asked a few minutes later. She shook her head; she didn't really watch tv, or even have cable. “It's about like, they rent out a whole hotel and fill it with these crazy chicks who hate each other, and they just go nuts for like a whole week!” he said with a chuckle. “Do they... make them clean it up at the end?” she asked, wondering what the point was. His brow furrowed as he thought for a moment, “No, what do you mean?”

She waited for the waiter to pass by and asked for a glass of water, which caused Adam to raise an eyebrow. The cup on his side of the table was already empty, but at least he hadn't asked for a refill. The leather seats were making the backs of her thighs sweat, and she kept shifting her legs to try and keep them a little cooler. Honestly she'd never understood the appeal of leather, cloth seemed so much more practical, especially for clothes and chairs.

When he finished his chicken he started talking about that show again, recounting an episode where one of the women had left a used tampon in the bed of another. Focusing on the meal, she tried not to think about that and just enjoy her pasta. As soon as that pasta was gone she asked a waiter for the check.

It was set on the table between them and Adam pulled out his credit card. Holding it up he looked over to her, “So, we splitting this?” She just nodded without thinking and reached for her purse. Wasn't the guy supposed to pay? Otherwise, why would she bother to go out? She didn't say anything as she placed her card next to his. As they were leaving, he put an arm around her shoulder and awkwardly tried to hug her at the door.

“So, do you wanna…?” he asked in a weakly suggestive way, inclining his head toward where he'd probably parked.

“Sorry, I've got a meeting tomorrow, gotta try and look professional,” she said after a brief hesitation, hoping the lie wasn't too obvious.

“Hey it's no problem,” he said, and she started to relax before he continued, “I can take you home early in the morning, or even tonight,” he suggested, totally oblivious.

With an awkward smile she took a step back and shook her head, “Nooo sorry, I've really gotta go, thanks though,” she said, not really sure what she could possibly thanking him for. As she ordered an uber she remembered that she'd told him she was available for the next two days, when they'd been planning the date. Desperately hoping he wouldn't remember (but sure he would), she climbed into the car and headed home.