Restaurant Dinner Date
Ring! Ring! Oh no, what am I gonna do? Theresa's calling me.
Okay, calm down! Take a deep breath, then answer. She just wants to talk with you for a while. Chill! Just...relax!
"Hello, Theresa! How are ...?"
"Sorry, Alexi. I can't talk for long. I only have 5-minutes.
Our magazine is so hectic right now. Anyway, I wanted to ask
you to have dinner this Saturday.
I really want to hang out. Is that okay?"
"Yeah! Yes, um...no problem."
"Alright. I'll text you the details later. Bye!"
Theresa hangs up the phone.
I must prepare...my notes, that is, my notes. I can't risk boring her when we're at the restaurant.
Internet, here I come!
I arrive at the restaurant, too early, because I'm nervous - 30 minutes too early.
Having waited nearly an hour, thereafter, revising my notes, looking up occasionally to see when she would come walking through the door.
I muster up my courage.
I call her.
"H-hi Theresa! Um...we were supposed to have a dinner date. Are you on your way?" I ask.
"Oh, hey...Alexi. So sorry but can we reschedule to next Saturday? My boss called me a while ago...told me to pack, we have to visit Paris for business so I'm on my way there right now. I'm at the airport. Please forgive me, okay? Again, I'm sorry but I gotta go. Bye!"
That's the end of the call but I'm not complaining, neither am I mad. Her business is her life. I know this. Besides that, this gives me a chance to review my notes over the course of this week. I might even be able to do some more research so, it's all good. It sure is hard work being an introvert.
I waited an hour before I called. Didn't want to be needy, clingy. I'd ruined too many friendships that way. With desperation. Mania. Not this time.
Okay, so it wasn't quite an hour. I only made it 58 minutes. But that's fine. It was close enough.
Damn it. I fucked up. Do I call again? Send a text? Is that weird?
I type out a text. The safer route.
No, that's too desperate. Tone it down. You don't want to be that person again.
Never mind. Don't text. Just sit and wait like a normal person. You're going to scare them away. Just like last time. And the time before that.
Maybe I did it again. Just another casualty of my codependency. Great work.
"Are you waiting on someone?"
"Yes." My voice sounds all wrong. Pull yourself together. No more of this wishy washy bullshit.
"Do you want a coffee while you wait?"
I stand up.
"I'm okay. I think I'll just come back later."
The waitress offers me a sad smile. She thinks I've been stood up. I haven't. I don't think I have. Have I?
The road seems to crumble around me, asphalt shifting and twisting below my wheels as I start the car. Yellow lines blurred together with tears.
I did it again. I did it again. This always fucking happens.
Step on the gas. Tires peeling away, layers of my sadness staining the street a burnt black. No more. Let it all go. Let it all—
Shattered glass. Head slammed into the steering wheel. Blood that's mine. Blood that isn't. Too fast. I was going too fast. I'm still going too fast, even after I've stopped moving it all keeps going, red and blue, blood and a cerulean shirt slowly stained black by blood and grease, cop cars and screaming and...
Oh my god. I know that car. I recognize the white finish and the out of state license plate. It's their car.
My phone buzzes.
Three fucking letters.
And everything goes black.
That Which We Call a Rose
Should I continue to wait for my blind date? Should I bolt out of Garibaldi’s? It was eight thirty. It didn't seem that my date, Atticus, would be joining me. I quickly decided to stay and enjoy dinner along. I'd already ordered the bottle of wine, and I could use a glass of it for multiple reasons, so this was an easy fix. The hell with Atticus.
My friend, Phoebe, had arranged tonight’s blind date. I'd agreed because of his name: Atticus. Ever since I was young, I'd been secretly in love with Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. No, I didn't long for tall men in three-piece suits with horn-rimmed spectacles adorning their faces as they sweltered in the summer heat, but I did want a man who wasn't afraid to stand up for his ideals and for others.
A bit later, the waiter approached. Was I ready to order? Yes, please. The grouper a side salad. I'd been looking forward to this meal all afternoon. Atticus would not ruin it.
Glancing at my watch, I learned it was now eight forty-five. Having given up all hope of seeing Atticus, I still pulled out my phone. Nada, zippo, nothing.
I glanced up to find a man approaching my table. He stopped.
“Atticus?” I croaked in disbelief.
“No,” he laughed “I’m Mike. May I join you? I see that you may have had greater expectations, too, this evening.”
I returned his easy smile and laughed. “Whoever would have thought it of a man named Atticus?”
“Atticus?! Therein lies your problem. Who’s named Atticus these days? He was probably eighty and walked with a cane – far too old! Of course, my date's name was Pippi.”
“As in Pippi Longstocking? My date might have been eighty with a cane, but you would have been babysitting and pulling bubblegum out of Pippi's braids tonight!”
We laughed, merriment easing the newness of our acquaintance.
“Would you like a glass of Merlot, Mike?” I asked with a smile.
I learned that Mike was a Pro Bono, Civil Rights’ lawyer, who practiced in the city of Charleston. I nearly choked on my wine.
“You cannot be serious?!”
But Mike said he was absolutely and utterly serious and I could call him ’Atticus” if I wanted. Pure, unadulterated irony.
Later, after I insisted upon paying my own bill, Mike walked me to my car. He commented that he considered this ‘first date’ with me to be fortuitous. Could he please see me again?
I eagerly agreed.
Driving home, I couldn't stop smiling. I wouldn't have imagined that a blind date with a man named Atticus would ever be such a flop, while someone with a common name like Mike would be so amazing. Such propensities had likely encouraged Shakespeare to pen his famous prose:
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
And right now, Mike smelled far sweeter than Atticus ever could!
My friend Anna
My phone was going to die and I had called Anna a thousand times without a reply or a single message. She was supposed to be there three hours ago.
She was the one who told me to hurry here. She said she was coming straight from her place. The last time I spoke to her she seemed wobbly as if something alarming had occurred. At first, I assumed she broke up with her boyfriend once again, but the more I thought about it the more uneasy I felt.
I finally requested the server for the receipt and decided to visit her apartment to see if she forgot about me.
I was one block away when I saw the ambulance and police cars down the building.
"Don't approach!" An officer demanded.
I stood frozen when they were carrying a body covered with a white fabric stained with blood.
I swallowed my saliva. The blue and red lights and noises seemed unreal.
"Anna?" I whispered when I saw her in handcuffs with two female officers holding her arms.
She killed him. Finally!
I chuckled with ease.