On Elegaic Interludes in Dating (A Triad)

I. The Georgian wrote code with one hand and sipped a latte with the other. She never once looked me in the eye, but her smiles were coy. She left approximately 24 minutes into the date, beckoned by a toothy male classmate to get pho before he went back to Silver Springs. Our interaction was orchestrated in secrecy – “come with us for pho,” said two people I had never met, and after she disappeared into the summer sun I noticed she left a phone behind. Probably, I was supposed to pick it up and probably, retrieve a briefcase full of money or receive a text shrouded in mystery. I left it on the table. But the day is young, the gym is closed, and I am too jittery for laundering shenanigans. There are dishes to do.

II. One time this winter, The Counselor (summer camp, not law) came over and asked if she could whip me. I accepted, and she pursed her lips and brushed her auburn hair behind her ear and decided she’d rather have a pizza instead. Ultimately, it was buffalo bacon chicken with extra cheese, ranch, and barbecue sauce, and the toppings slid off each slice exposing the slimy crust beneath but we ate it anyway because she paid and the delivery guy cast a longing glance at her heaving breasts and tossed mozzarella sticks in for free, and I stared forlornly at the pizza box after she’d left wondering if she’d brought her toys or if she was just bluffing and just didn’t want to eat alone.

III. On a brisk March evening, we met on a mutual understanding that I was absolutely incredible. She swallowed my confidence, her compliments raised my eyebrows. The plan was to drink and fuck and drink again, but when The Boy (who was really a girl but made a point of showing me her ID so I could see that she was 35 and just looked adolescent) brought up her childhood, working class, and her adult life—  working, class, 80 hour work weeks and car problems, I didn’t know how to respond and just stared down into my drink. I don’t know how to deal with problems I’ve never had and perhaps my silence was indicative, but she excused herself and later texted me a curt reply that sums up the general sense of the problem that I just can’t get past:

“We have no chemistry because you are a pretentious fuck.”

And god, I wish I was more fuck and less pretense but we can’t change how we taste and in the morning, I like the shirts I wear more than I like how her gaze roved, hungrily, over my collarbone.

-C.

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