It was freezing; the kind of cold that wormed its way into every fold of your jacket and burrowed next to your skin to coat your entire being in chills. I was waiting outside the bar for him but secretly didn’t want him to show. I hate first dates. There is too much pressure and I never come off as myself. I wanted him to see me one more time outside the intimacy of dinner.
He was two drinks in when I finally realized he was sitting at the bar waiting for me, instead of standing outside… like a fool.
“Should we order sake?” he asked after we sat down at the sushi place he had suggested.
“I’m not a big sake fan,” I told him. He ordered it anyway, poured me a tiny glass which sat untouched throughout the entire meal, and drank the bottle in its entirety by himself. He talked about himself for the duration of the date: his painting, his bar, his family, his childhood. I could write the brief history of L. after having spent one night with this person. And to top it all off, he seemed completely disinterested every time I brought up something about myself.
He walked me to the subway after paying for dinner and asked if I wanted to go somewhere for another drink. The last thing you need is another drink. “I should really get home,” I said as vaguely as possible. I couldn’t even gauge if I liked this guy because he was clearly nervous and clearly dealing with it in a bizarre way.
“I feel like I did something wrong,” he said bluntly. I didn’t know how to say that getting wasted on our first date qualifies as way, way more than ‘something wrong.’ We said goodnight and I went home and felt confused. He was a nice guy. Thirty-three years old, owned his own bar and restaurant with amazing food that I really respected, and a talented painter in his spare time. I wanted to give him another shot.
I did, it was more of the same, and I found myself not particularly caring if I saw him again. He called a few times and when I didn’t respond, he made some angry, jilted comments about me to a mutual friend. I washed my hands of it.
Until today. Two years later, almost to the day. A Gchat message.
“What was that town by where you grew up? The one ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is based on?”
“Um, hello there, stranger. It’s called Seneca Falls.”
“That’s right! Thanks. Awesome.”
We started chatting, he asked how I was doing, what I was doing, where I was living. He seemed happier than he was when we went out, incredibly optimistic.
“So,” he began. “Do you like sushi?”
“There’s this great place…”
“How did you know that?!”
“You took me there!”
“Oh right… I’ve been dying to go back.”
“Yeah, it was great food.”
“Let’s go!” What? Huh? Quoi? I’m sorry, are you asking me on a date two years later?
“Are you sure you want to go with me?” I asked. I felt I could match his boldness.
“Well… we argued a lot.” Because you are an argumentative person.
“I think it was a miscommunication. I was really sick the last time we went out.”
I decided to give in. He was persistent if nothing else. And I did promise myself I’d be more open minded when it came to guys, so as not to pass up a great opportunity in case one should stare me in the face in a less-than-perfect package.
We agreed to meet on January 5. And what a busy January it will be.