You know that one crush you can’t forget from 7th grade. Yeah well her name was Amia and she was sitting right across the cafe from me. I don’t think she’s noticed me yet, I mean I’ve been staring for a good minute now and y’know how people get a gut feeling when someone’s looking at them, and then they look back at you, yeah well she hasn’t done that and at this point everyone else has taken note besides her. I’m being serious though the bartender looks like they’re about to call the police…
“Um sir does there seem to be a problem, you’ve been watching the woman seated by our windows for quite a while now.”
I was still kind of in lala-land so I answered, “I just, I… I think I’m in love.”
“...” The bartender began walking away from me and in turn started heading in her direction. I quickly grabbed them by their arm, I didn’t mean to do that, I kind of panicked, I wouldn’t be surprised if I got my ass handed to me right about now.
“I’m sorry, I must’ve come off like a creep. I know her.”
“You know her?” The bartender said with an eyebrow raised.
“I know her.”
Maybe not as well as I used to, I mean it’s been five years and we’re about to graduate high school, so if I had to be realistic she’s probably not the same person. But there’s only one way to find out. I jolted up from my chair and slowly tucked it under the table. I gave my little flannel a nice tug and left my table along with the bewildered bartender behind as I made my way to Amia’s booth. She was sitting beside two other girls, who were now eyeing me as I stood before them.
“Hello… guys.” I saluted them as if I were a soldier standing in front of some kind of sergeant. I wish I wasn’t so stiff.
“Hi?” said the girl on the right of Amia. I’ll call her girl number 1.
“Is there any way we can help you?” said the girl on Amia’s left. I’ll be calling her girl number 2.
I looked directly at Amia, “Yeah I was just wondering if..”
“If I was free tonight?” she said with a little grin before they all erupted in laughter. How did she know I was going to ask her that, did I make it that obvious? Well I mean I was staring at her before so...
After they calmed down a bit Amia spoke up once again, “So what’s your name?”
Wanting to be a part of the hysterics I responded, “James… James Bond.” Crickets, crickets is what I would’ve been happier hearing than the silence that so quickly entered this room.
“I mean James Bonawit,” I fumbled my fingers.
“Ah okay, well you look hungry, here take a cookie.” Amia reached out and handed me a chocolate chip cookie, I gladly accepted, but it had me wondering what kind of person eats chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. That’s besides the point, from her little grin to her cackling laugh and kind gestures it seemed like Amia hadn’t changed at all. This made me happy.
“Listen um we’re not done eating, so we’ll be seeing you later alright?” said girl number 1.
“Uh.. yeah! Sure thing.” I gave a small smile, you know the ones that we white people do to say hi or avoid awkward confrontation.
I was still kind of blushing while I made my way back to my table, and passed the curious bartender who now raised both eyebrows at me instead of just one. I didn’t say anything to them though, I was going to be too busy planning where Amia and I would be going on our date. Maybe the movies? Or a picnic at the park? What about a trip to the arcade? Whatever it was, it didn’t matter to me I was just excited to actually be going out with her. I have to make sure to catch her on her way out though, I didn’t get the chance to ask for her number before girl number 1 decided to shoo me back to my seat. Speaking of catching them on their way out, they were paying their bill at the counter. I stood up and quietly pushed in my chair again. The sound of footsteps alerted me that they were done paying the bill and on the move. I quickly chased after them and then had girl number 1 shoot me a dirty look. I will say it hurt my ego a bit but it wasn’t going to stop me from getting Amia’s number.
“Guys wait up!” I handed my phone over to Amia, “I forgot to ask for your number.”
“Oh I wasn’t being serious.. Wait were you? Did you actually want to go on a date?”
My heart dropped to my stomach, I knew she wasn’t trying to humiliate me, that would be out of character for her, but I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed. She looked up from my phone to glance at me and before I could respond she started entering her information. She filled out her name along with her telephone number.
“Alright, that should be it.” She handed the phone back to me.
I kind of stood there in awe for a second holding onto a phone that could potentially have my future girlfriend’s number in it.
“Sorry did I miss anything?” Amia said.
“What? No! Everything’s filled out thank you, I’ll message you the details about our date.”
“Okay well I’ll see you then, bye.” Amia waved.
“Bye.” Girl number 2 said as she followed after Amia and her other friend.
As soon as I got home I texted Amia my ideas for the date and asked her when she would be down to have it. She texted me back saying the arcade was fine by her and she would be available the upcoming Saturday, which was great because I wasn’t trying to cram a date during a school week. I texted her once more asking what time we would be meeting up, and she told me 3pm. So it was settled.
The days flew by and it was Friday. I hadn’t texted Amia since the day I last saw her, technically we’re not together yet so there’s no need for those morning texts and check ups right? I don’t know I’m new to all this, the last time I went on a date was in my freshman year of high school and that only went on for two weeks. I’m still not sure about what I’m going to wear, I mean it’s an arcade so casual clothing should be fine.. What about a tux? I do need to impress her. I dug through my closet flinging boxers and old t-shirts that ended up landing on my bed and pc monitor. Only then, once my closet was completely empty, did I realize I did not own a tux.
I looked at my items scattered across my room, “Haha, did a tornado pass through here?... This is going to take forever to clean up.”
I ended up going to bed in the mess I had created. I understand why men want man caves now, to hide their poor excuse of life skills. Shit, I forgot to text her asking her to confirm that we’re still on for tomorrow, I’ll send her a text now. I threw my phone on my bed and stripped off my pajamas so I could hop into the shower. I decided to play my favorite upcoming rock band, Love Is Dead, to calm my nerves. After about 15 minutes of rigorous scrubbing and rinsing, I placed one hand onto the wall and stepped out of the shower. With just my towel wrapped around my waist, I took one more look at my caveman of a room. There’s got to be something here I can wear. Okay I got this.
I closed my eyes and decided to play a game, “I spy with my little eye, something blue.”
Then I opened my eyes and began searching for something of that color. A long-sleeve denim shirt is what caught my attention. Without hesitation I dried myself up, tossed on some deodorant and cologne and slipped into that denim shirt. Now I just needed a pair of pants. Right before me laid a patchwork loose fit trouser, the colors were grey and brown, I proceeded to place them in front of my legs and waddled over to the mirror. The color combination seemed to work fine. I finished getting dressed and got my stuff to leave. In my pockets I was able to fit, my keys, my wallet, a water bottle and my phone.
My palms were sweating and my heart was beating faster than usual. I need to chill. It's not like I’ve never gone on a date before, sure the last time I went on one was a complete failure, after the third date the girl decided that my favorite ice cream (being mint flavored) was the last straw. At least I don’t like pineapple on my pizza, some of us know where the line ends, Caylee. I parallel parked right in front of the arcade and got out of my car. It’s 2:45pm so I guess I got here kind of early. I leaned against my car, maybe I should have offered to pick her up, but then again she might not want me knowing where she lives. Baby steps man, baby steps.
Turning the corner was a woman wearing black vintage flats with little straps crossing over her feet, skin tone pantyhose and a red minidress with a v-neckline and ruffled sleeves. I felt ashamed to have let my eyes graze her from bottom to top, I quickly shifted my head to the side and covered my mouth. Amia’s beautiful.
Her head swooped into my field of vision, “Hey, how are you? You look good today.”
That’s something I should be saying to her, “I’m doing great, I’ve been looking forward to seeing you today. You look… beyond divine.”
“Divine?” She said with a chuckle.
“I-I mean good like you look really good.” Good was not at all the word to use to describe what I thought of her but, she clearly didn’t take me seriously when I called her divine.
“Thank you.” She smiled and stretched her hand out, “Shall we go inside James?”
My eyes locked on her hand. Shit she’s bold. I grabbed on and our fingers intertwined. She led the way into the arcade and we paid for our admission tickets. This brought back flooding memories of getting the top of my hand stamped with glow in the dark ink before running to the jungle gym, or trying my hardest to earn tickets to impress my friends. The disco lights still flashed the same way they did ten years ago, but today, I had someone else I wanted to impress.
We were still holding hands by the time we found a game to play, it was called Sky Shooters 2, a multiplayer game where the objective is to shoot at the aliens before they can make it back to their ufo.
“What do you say, should we try out this game?” Amia said looking up at me.
“Hm? Yeah sounds good.” I didn’t want to let go of her hand.
“Let me do the honors,” she managed to squeeze out of my hand and reach into her bag for some tokens. “Dang this game really snags four of them for just one turn.”
“Well then, Sky Shooters 2 better be worth the money,” I picked up the toy gun and aimed at the screen. The game started and aliens charged at us from left and right. She has pretty good aim; hasn’t missed a shot thus far.
“So what do you want to do in your life, any ideas on a career?” I asked her.
“Maybe an accountant.” Amia reloaded her gun.
“Oh I thought you wanted to be a nurse.”
“What makes you say that?” she side eyed me.
“I don’t know you just seem like the type.” Fuck I missed one shot. If we miss nine more, enough aliens would have gotten to the ship and we’d lose.
“Okay well, do you play any sports?” Amia said as she nonchalantly scored a headshot.
“I play baseball,” I mean I did in 7th grade too but I guess she’s asking if I still play.
“Oh cool cool.”
“What’s your favorite food? We should get something to eat later.” I hope she’ll let me bring her to a restaurant after this.
“I like rotisserie chicken and something called salchipapas, it’s just hotdogs and fries really.”
“Oh okay, I’ll look for a place that serves that then.” At this moment we had cleared most of the aliens.
“By the way I haven’t really seen you in the area much, how long have you lived around here?” She said still focused on the screen.
“I mean since forever? Long enough to have attended Geraldstin Heights for both elementary and middle school.”
“You went to Geraldstin Heights?” Amia looked at me confused.
I dropped my toy gun, and gaped at her.
“You mean this whole time, you didn’t remember me?”
We lost that round.