A Second Date Story

Photo by Khoa Võ from Pexels

Back in 2016, I was still learning how to use my legs. Social engagements, choosing what I wanted to eat for dinner, managing my own time were all concepts I was a novice at. And second dates were something I had absolutely no idea how to navigate. The internet is flooded with all kinds of articles on every intricacy about the first date, the “talking” phase, the relationship itself, and finally the break-up. For this occasion, I decided to go the route of taking an extended nap right before the date and then walking out the door.

The first date didn’t go well in my opinion. He was perfect, I was a mess. We’d both just gotten off closing shifts at different cafes and went to a wine bar in Midtown. I wore Converse and a Big Trouble in Little China T-shirt. I think I’ve said enough here.

For our second date, we were going to buy some art supplies and then go to his studio for a tour, ending with dinner nearby. As soon as I saw my date waiting for me across the street, I wanted to burrow into the ground. He’s tall, confident, gorgeous, appropriately dressed. I literally look homeless.

We chat comfortably on the train about the day we’ve had so far and when we get off at our stop, he pulls out a small item wrapped in parchment that’s tied together with string.

“Did you know Ty makes brownies?” he asked me as he offers it to me. I examine it and I’m shocked that not only does Ty bake, but that he individually wraps his treats with such detail. I open it up and it’s a thick fudgy brownie with what looks like a peanut butter icing on top. It looks really fucking good. He breaks off about a quarter of it and offers it to me. “The fuck? I want half!” I break off half and jam it into my mouth. He looks unsure but excited. The brownie…tastes…earthy…

“It’s a weed brownie..” I gobble.

“Yeah,” he says as he munches on his half.

I’ve never been high before.

About two hours go by and I’m mystified. We’ve done the shopping and are practically at the studio and I feel nothing. He shrugs.

He starts showing me his paintings. They’re incredible. They’re full of exciting colors and haphazard splatters and strokes. Random but somehow intentional.

“That.. is a door” I state matter of factly.

His jaw drops. I just told him what HIS painting was. “OH SHIT! IT’S A DOOR!” I’m so fucking smug. Of course it’s a door, my love. You knew it all along. You’re a genius, you know. He’s completely taken with himself and I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket. It’s my manager.

“Why is Michelle calling me?”

“I don’t know.”

“Fuck, I’m gonna get fired. I’m taking too long to get the hang of this job. I’m not nice enough to customers and I still can’t make a fucking heart in the lattes. They’re wasting time and money on me. How long do they usually wait before firing people? Do they give warnings first?”

He shrugs. He’s a gorgeous, useless genius.

I answer the phone and Michelle tells me someone else has been fired for harassing customers. They’ve been warned multiple times about it and even fellow employees have complained about his constant unwanted advances. They want me to fill in for him the next morning. I tell him and he shrugs. “I told you.”

We start walking towards the restaurant which sounds so good. I’ve never had Vietnamese before but the word sounded delicious. “Ty knows what he’s doing. This is good shit.” I’m speechless. My heart is racing and I feel this cooling sensation in my head and I feel my blood coursing through my veins.

We go inside the restaurant and the employees look like they’re cheering for us. Well, for him. They’re so glad to see him and raise their eyebrows at me. Looking back now, I have an idea of what they saw. I was small, bug-eyed, concerned, and frumpy. He looked back and smiled and asked me what I wanted. I was staring at the TV. There was a soap opera on and I had no idea what they were saying, but I have a predisposition to soap opera hypnosis. I mumble for him to just order me whatever he’s having.

We sit down at a table and stare at each other. He looks so happy — not giddy, but just really content. I’m losing my shit. I’m going to drop dead right here in this booth, in this Vietnamese restaurant, in Brooklyn. The food arrives and I have no interest. It’s a rainbow-colored bowl of vegetables. I take a bite and my stomach does a little flip. Nope. Not eating this.

“Do people die from this?” I want to know.

“From that?” he gestures at my bowl with his chopsticks.

“No, from eating weed.”

“You didn’t eat weed.”

“Then, what the fuck?”

“That’s not how it works.”

“Well am I gonna die?”

“We all are.”

“But right now?”

“I don’t know.”

“You’re not going to tell me that I’m not going to die?”

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to you.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

“I mean, at least you’re having a good time right? Good food, good company. I’m having a good time. This is a good way to go.”

“I’m not having a good time. I might throw up on this table. You’re good company though.” I’m very aware of the weight of my eyeballs in my skull.

“Thank you,” he says with a smile, and his eyes half-closed.

I’ve already called myself an Uber. The ride is going to cost me $55. I don’t give a fuck. I want to die in my bed.

He’s enjoying his food and thinking his happy thoughts when I tell him my Uber is about to arrive. I wanted to kiss him goodbye but I can’t. I run outside and throw up on the sidewalk right outside the entrance. “So that’s how that happens everywhere.” I think to myself as I remember all of the vomit puddles I’ve had to dodge living in the city.

I call my brother and tell him that I’m really fucking high and I think I’m going to die as I wait for the car to arrive. “You’re not going to die, dumb ass.” The car arrives and there’s someone else in the car. I could’ve sworn I ordered an UberX. The weed is not going to kill me, but these two people are. I text my brother all of the information about the car, where I was picked up from, my location, their descriptions, anything I can remember Benson and Stabler asking for. He responds with movie recommendations for me to watch while I’m in this state.

I get home and my roommate is watching TV and having popcorn. She’s not watching anything on the list though. I tell her I’m going to go to my room and to check my pulse in an hour. She laughs but I think she’s scared.

The Big Lebowski is what I go with from the list. I don't know what happens past the first 20 minutes because I fell asleep and I never revisited it after that.

I woke up to a missed call and text message from my date. He wanted to make sure I’d gotten home okay.

It was pretty much uphill from then on. I found out three years later that he had, in fact, seen me throw up through the glass door of the restaurant. “And you still wanted to go out with me again after that?!”

“I had a good time, so yeah.”

We’re still together. I guess maybe it wasn’t that bad.

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Alma Girau

Alma Girau

Shameless. Latinx. Embroidery artist and writer.