I walked up to her door and rang the doorbell. I had been rehearsing what I would say all week. I told my friends I wasn’t ready to go on a date yet but they insisted. So there I was ringing a complete stranger’s doorbell on a Friday night when all I could think about was how the cat was probably ripping up the curtains.
Then she opened the door.
She was much prettier than I expected her to be. I mean, we were already in our thirties and hardly any good women are single in their thirties. But there she was. She smiled and asked me if I intended to just stare at her all night or if I was ready to go. I laughed because I must have seemed awfully stalker-y and probably a little creepy. Just standing there. I honestly was mortified that she’d felt the need to say something.
We drove in silence. I couldn’t think of anything to say and she didn’t know how to work the radio. So there we were, in total silence. I was busy panicking thinking about all the awful things she was probably thinking about me. I thought we would never get to the parking lot. And then we were there. Suddenly I felt myself begin to do that nervous-sweating thing my mother always told me was gross. My mother had been very supportive about it. I believe she said something like, “You’ll never find a woman that will love you if you keep doing that.” That probably explains why I was tempted to shove my date out of the car and drive away.
“Aron, are you going to park the car?” She asked, her worry lines showing. “Oh-Yeah, absolutely. I was just trying to find the prime parking real-estate. Y’know. I’d hate to make a pretty girl like you walk any further than she had to.” I must’ve seemed completely unhinged because she just nodded and turned back to her cellphone. I pulled into a parking spot close to the entrance, the empty parking lot implying an empty restaurant. Crap. There won’t be enough people to be distracting. I’m going to have to talk to her. I began panicking again. “Aron, are you going to turn off the car?” I snapped back into reality and killed the engine.
He was acting really spaced out but I wasn’t terribly worried about it. In fact I was rather thrilled to have a date that wasn’t watching my every move like I was under a microscope. He was making things too easy. I glanced at my phone as we walked through the parking lot, “Are you still watching the Supernatural marathon?” I quickly shot off a reply, “Yeah, it just got to one of my favorite parts.” Emily was such a great alibi. She always felt like texting and it was easy for me to use her as my witness. I had text her earlier letting her know that I’d cancelled the date I had with this Aron guy in favor of having a night to myself. Emily didn’t argue with me over it, she was a “single woman for life” and had offered to come over and make it a girl’s night. I’d told her the dog was enough company.
We were escorted to a little table near the back of the nearly empty restaurant. It was kind of disappointing actually, that the place was almost empty. I had spent a good part of my day applying makeup and putting on the wig. Not to mention the dress I had picked out special for the occasion. It would, of course, need to be burned so it was very bothersome only a few people would ever get to see how absolutely lovely I looked in it. This night was hardly any fun at all. I was actually considering bailing when he finally started talking, “So, what is it you do for a living again?” I tried not to roll my eyes, “I work as a waitress at the diner on main street. The really old-fashioned looking place.” I was running out of professions to claim that I had which is why I resorted to saying I was a waitress. Don’t judge me.
“That sounds lovely,” -liar- “Maybe I can stop by sometime and you can show me the good stuff on the menu.”
I nodded, “Yes that sounds nice.” Then I can choke on my own vomit.
“I’ve always wondered, are people really as bad at tipping as they say?”
I shrugged, “It wouldn’t be so bad if wait staff got paid without accounting for the fact people are supposed to tip.”
“That sounds awful. Y’know, I’ve got a friend in HR in my office. I could arrange for him to interview you. You seem very smart and I bet you would like it there.” His face was contorted like he was genuinely concerned for me. I was almost regretting the disguise, clearly I was too pretty.
“That sounds very nice. I’ll have to make sure to give you my email.”
At this point the food reached our table. I was silently thanking the heavens for sending me an excuse not to talk anymore. He was making my head hurt. Calm down, he’s only making small talk. Soon this will all be over. I coached myself. This night was dragging on a lot longer than usual. Normally these middle aged guys did their best to show how much fun they could be by taking me to amusement parks and to concerts. I always got a nice token to remember them by on these adventures. This date really sucked. There was no fun to be had in this quiet little restaurant. So I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu. He hadn’t seemed at all bothered and had even asked the waitress if she would be so kind as to get us some wine to go with our meal. I grabbed the cork. Better than nothing.
She was acting kind of distracted and she kept checking her phone. Not that it really bothered me. I’d just left mine at home. I really should quit assuming people will want to talk to me when we go out. Everyone always has their phone anymore, dummy. Get your act together. I sighed and resigned myself to eating. The wine was wonderful, as per the usual. The waitstaff here knew me. Owning a restaurant has its perks. Cynthia, our waitress, came back over to ask if there was anything else she could get us. “No, but I have to ask – Why is the restaurant so empty tonight?” Cynthia shrugged, “There’s some big celebration being held down at Emma’s restaurant tonight. They’re doing free desserts, even if you just walk through the door. It’s ridiculous.” I nodded, at least this wouldn’t be a thing. The restaurant had experienced some hard times before but I wasn’t mentally prepared to do any firing this year. I had come to really like all of my staff. I looked across the table at Sara. She seemed to be enjoying the food. I wondered how she would feel about the dish. I had considered taking it off the menu a thousand times but people always begged me not to. It was a favorite and I respected the opinion of my diners. “How is it?” I asked.
“Fine. I would have preferred if it had a little more zing to it, but it works very well with the wine you ordered.”
“Thank you. I try to make sure the food and the drink work well together.”
“Oh, so you’re into food stuff?” She asked, looking a little incredulous.
“Well, I have familiarized myself with fine dining. I’ve tried to make it my business to know.”
She looked very unimpressed, “You must’ve traveled all over trying new dishes.”
I was a little hurt by her tone, “Yeah.”
He was so incredibly annoying. I prefer when they don’t talk too much but that’s all he seemed to want to do. He was probably a divorcee. They always want to talk. I’m convinced that after you live with a woman too long you start to act like one. All the feelings and such nonsense. I shoved the food down my throat, I hadn’t really cared to taste it. “Are you ready to leave?” I asked hastily, it was probably too pushy but I wasn’t really worried about the second date. “Yeah, let me get the check.” He said as he waved the waitress over, “Can we get the check?” She laughed, actually laughed. His face must have told her that wasn’t appropriate because she stopped, “Oh — You were being serious!” She glanced over at me and a look of recognition came over her face. Then my phone buzzed. “OMG! I need to come over to your place right away!” I sighed, This is rather inconvenient. How do I imply I don’t want guests without tipping her off? “Now really isn’t a good time. Is it an emergency?” He looked over at me, “Are you ready to go?” “Yeah, yeah. Let’s go to the park.” I said, glancing back at my phone. “Ok?” he said, striding through the restaurant like he owned the place or something. Men.
I have never been so grateful to be in my park. Turtle Park has always been very poorly lit and the turtle pond in the middle gets deep enough in the middle to easily drown Sasquatch. Or, for that matter, to hide an idiotic middle aged man. I grabbed his hand as we walked into the park, this was the easiest part. It was always the same. Guys never notice if you walk behind them, I don’t think they care as long as they’re the ones dragging you. It’s on my long list of things I hate about them. As I began to slow my steps so I could casually move behind him he slowed down too. I have never been more frustrated. “What are you looking at?” He seemed genuinely interested in why I had slowed down. I’m looking for a good place to stab you, idiot. “Oh, I thought I saw a squirrel! I guess it’s gone now.” He nodded, “Yeah, they’re wily things.” I waited for him to speed back up but he just wouldn’t. Normally I would be leading him toward the pond but things were not going as planned. I had to improvise, “Hey, what’s that up there?” I had seen some movement ahead of us. He was so excited he started moving faster to look and I quickly took the opportunity to stab him. Right in front of a freaking old lady on a park bench!
I looked up from the sweater I had been knitting for my dog, Toto. He loved his old red sweater so much I had decided to make him a new one. I’d been so busy knitting I hadn’t noticed how late it had gotten when suddenly a couple came down the walkway in front of me. The poor fellow’s face fell into a frown and tears came bursting from his eyes. It took me a moment to realize he had a knife sticking out of his back. The young lady that was with him stared at me like she was the one that had walked onto a murder scene. Before I could move she had grabbed the knife out of his back and had run away. I asked the young man if he had a phone on him. He would be the only young person without a cellphone. I told him I’d be back and I walked toward the phone booth outside the park.