The waiter brought his drink. He had been waiting for 15 minutes now, she had texted him 20 minutes ago that she was running late and apologized.
“Thank you.” He said as the waiter placed his Martini down, three olives spread across the top of the glass impaled on a red steak. Picking it up he at one and drowned the remaining two in the drink.
This was his life now. Sitting in an expensive restaurant waiting for another “blind date” to arrive. Its been three years now since he left his bride to be at the altar after finding out that she had some secrets he wished he never did find out about – but was gloomily grateful.
The restuarant reminded him of a rehabilitation center’s lunch room. Most of the diners here were older, stoic and depressingly and quietly inebriated. Not your “Place to be” kind of eatery. He wanted to breakout, escape, wriggle out of this prison-like restaurant where it seemed the world had ended several year earlier but the ghosts of this establishment remained, forever seated, sated and inebriated. Like those passengers on the Titanic forever etched into the exact moment in time when time stopped.
“I got to get out of this place.” He thought to himself. He texted his “date” and told her he needed to reschedule, motioned to the waiter for the check, left a fifty for a twenty dollar tab and headed outside into the cool December night.
New York City in December like a 31 day mardi gras – celebration ending with a helluva hangover in January. December is non-stop full of hopes, dreams and faith. January is empty ‘cept for the credit card bills and discarded holiday memories lining the sidewalks. Photographs, gift wraps and cellophane replaced by empty walls, wilted flowers and dying balloons in the corner.
Ah, but tonight it is the first day of December and the party was kicked off on Thanksgiving with the parade. The city was alive and the lights were illuminatingly charming. He walked down the block and felt a vibration in his hands. Blind date apologizing and saying she was at the restaurant now if he wanted to have a drink. He walked back in and saw her standing by the door with her coat on.
They smiled and greeted each other – they knew the faces from Facebook. She whispered to him, “Lets go somewhere else this place is depressing, I think I saw my grandparents sitting there – they have been dead for more than ten years.”
He laughed, took her hand, turned around and caught a cab. In the cab they quickly got to know each other and their mutual acquaintances. She was prettier than her profile picture and her smile was kind of magnetic. She had soft brown hair under a knitted hat and her brown eyes were full and alive. She had a quick smile and her lips were primed for kissing.
She explained that she was late due to an old friend who needed someone to listen to her. She couldn’t just hang up or call back – she needed to be there. She looked at him, his curly hair brushed back but handsomely unruly. He had green eyes, a ribbed coat and a razorless smile. There was something in his aura that emitted a sense of easiness and warmth. She wanted to touch his face…she backed away.
They sat in a restaurant of her choice, Italian food and wine. They spoke about everything from growing up one block away from each other, their jobs, their hobbies, their friends, family and likes and dislikes. They spoke about past loves and he opened up about his walking away from the altar.
“The Rabbi was already filling out the marriage contract when she revealed to me, in my ear, what she was holding back from me throughout our courtship. I stood up, apologized to everyone and walked out.”
“You must have been devastated. Where did you go?”
Since that night he had not heard one person inquire about how he felt – the first question was always – what was it she revealed to you? Even his own parents asked him how bad could it have been for him to walk away from such a “nice girl and a wonderful family.”
They spoke about her past and how she had her own issues with depression and anxiety. She never considered suicide or harming herself – just felt the darkness surrounding her at times with the walls closing in. It was .25 milligrams of some concoction that raised the shades and helped her see clearly.
They had finished eating, they were the only diners still sitting and were on their coffee and were sharing a Tiramisu. When he looked at his watch he saw that it was almost 2 in the morning.
“I have to say this has been one of my best evenings in a long time. No offense but I really didnt expect anything from this date.” He said to her.
“This is such a pleasant turn of events – I feel I can tell you anything and not feel as if I have said too much.” She smiled, he smiled.
They walked outside and he walked her to her door – he kissed her and it felt natural to both of them. He walked home and as he walked he got a text.
“Had a gr8 time…hope I didn’t say too much.” He responded “You can never say too much – had a gr8 time too – what u doing Sat night?”
“Your choice – call me tomorrow.”