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Creative Nonfiction

  I was stupid and 20 years old and was having the time of my life. I didn’t have to start paying my student debt and was being paid $13 an hour for 25 hours weekly. My weekends and even my class schedule were flexible enough so I could cruise for casual sex on Grindr. I had just broken up with my boyfriend, but we were trying to have that weird “Let’s date and fuck other people but let’s be best friends and screw each other when we’re lonely” relationship because he couldn’t accept that I wouldn’t want to keep talking to him.

   I was loving being single (at his protest) but hooking up was losing its appeal. 

   “You should go on a date”, he said.

   “I will once someone asks me out.”

   I don’t remember who sent the first text, but I began to hit it off with some random guy that wore animal onesies and loved video games. My standards were so low that I thought hey, we both like Pokémon and wear clothes – we’re a perfect match!

   When he asked where we should go for lunch I looked for a place where I could afford to pay for my own plate (I always go Dutch) and wasn’t too far away from a police station; he was taller than me (it said so on his profile), probably stronger and was driving to me. Worst case scenario, the date goes well but I get locked in a basement. Best case scenario, I notice the signs of murderous intent and casually sidestep into the sheriff’s office. I was kinda paranoid back then and really didn’t want to die in a basement.

  There’s a cute little dinner in my town where the chef makes with awesome pancakes, meatloaf and a soft rolled omelet not 10 minutes from my house, so we went there.

   My mom dropped me off so she could see who this guy was. I didn’t know too much about him, but I just knew he was cute - his picture showed a nice jawline and dark hair. He was tan and tall – his profile said so.

   I dressed nicely for this date - brown heeled boots, skinny jeans and a tight black Xios t-shirt. My beautiful black waves were combed back, and I even smiled - something rare for me.

   My mom and I waited in her car for the text saying “hey im here”. I was early but my mom thought the guy was late.

   We didn’t see any cute men walk up the three steps into the diner. We did see one fool trip and fall on the second step.

   Of course, we laughed.

   “Is that him?” my mom asked.

   “No, he didn’t tell me he was here yet.” How dare she judge my taste?

  Ding. “I’m here. Just walked in."

That was him?!” Why was he wearing those huge sweatpants? Why was he wearing laundry? I had to hold my head up high. I didn’t see his face, or really talk to him for that matter. He could have a promising future. He could be Ryan Reynolds. We could

have strong chemistry.

   Why didn’t he comb his hair? What happened to his strong chin? And why does he smell like bus? Was I being catfished? This wasn’t the guy. The only thing he and Profile X had in common was that they’re the same ethnicity and drive the same car.

   I ordered something hearty, disappointment makes me hungry. Conversation was light and awkward. I don’t remember anything about him except that he had friends that sounded cool. Onesie parties. Video game tournaments. No resentments or previous screwing between them. This all sounded good, for now.

   Now we started to talk about ourselves - school, work, housing, dreams and stuff.

My omelet is ready and so is his … kid’s meal?

Unemployed. No college. Can’t cook for himself. Doesn’t like vegetables. Adult skills? Can drive. Can open a Grindr account. 

   His friend’s twin died last year. Politics? How did we get here? And why are we talking about the United States dying and rape culture? The conversation didn’t start political and how did it get so morbid? Someone please, call me and interrupt this date. Why can’t he chew with his mouth closed? Thank goodness we’re done eating.

   “You have something on your face”, I had to point out. How do you get sauce on your temple? This was ridiculous. Did he… no he’s spreading it around.

   “Can I pay for you?” His smile told me he thought this was going well.

   “No, I told you we can go Dutch.”

   “Can I drive you home?” It was a free ride after all. I had forgotten my fears of kidnapping and basements.

   “I’d like that.” Anything to get me home quicker. 

   The car was small but clean and well maintained. At least he took care of something. At this age I was under the impression that I owed this man something for his courtesy in driving me home and more importantly, his time.

My father taught me nothing is more important than a person’s time.

   Trip! Dude stumbles down the same...three...steps. Why? Why...?

   As I let myself into the passenger seat i think this place pay as well be where I pay for his time. Do I have to? I asked my self-respect. No one answered.

   He was surprised when I got on his lap - then again, we were still in the parking lot of the diner and it was broad daylight. 

   There I was grinding and French kissing this man-thing. He smells like dry ketchup - that sauce was now dried onto his face. How low have I gone?

   “Yeah, I can’t do this”, I finally admitted aloud. This was humiliating and what’s worse he still wants to drive me home.

   I gave him a fake address. The drive excruciating. Questions flew into my mind as I smiled absently. Should we? Shouldn’t we? Will my mom ask? What do I tell my ex/awkward BFFN?

   “We’re here.” Somehow, we made it. My inner monologue must have distracted me.

   “Yeah…

thanks.”  I escaped his car and threw a “we should do this again

sometime”. My omelet stirred in my stomach like it knew. You’re lying hoe.

   He took his time to drive away so I had to pretend to enter some

stranger's backdoor. As soon as I saw his taillights disappear, I sprinted to

my house.

   Why do my lips taste like bologna?

   My mom saw me as I crept into my room. 

   “How was it?” 

   “The food was good.” I opened Grindr and pressed Block.

   “Why do you smell bad?”

February 14, 2020 03:36

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1 comment

Dannie Olguin
17:33 Feb 17, 2020

What a terrible, terrible date. It brought me back to some of the horrible dates I've been on. Fantastic job, especially with the horrified internal dialogue. I'm so glad I'm decades past my twenties.

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