I met Samantha at a friend’s going-away party in early August back in 2014. She worked at an environmental nonprofit, writing grants and going to conferences. The conversation flowed and she gave me her number.
I was almost at the coffee shop where we had arranged to meet for our first date when my phone rang.
“Hey, it’s Samantha. I’m going to be late.”
“Or, I’m going to have to cancel.”
“Which is it?”
“I’m having a crisis at work.”
If it sounds like a grade-A cop-out to you, then it sure did to me. Still, I didn’t know her too well, and perhaps she was telling the truth. Perhaps.
I asked, “Is the environment in danger?”
“I’ll call you in like 20 minutes.” She hung up.
I sat down in the coffee place with a chai tea and waited. As I had left my copy of, “What to Do When Your Date’s a Flake” at home, I reverted to my default behavior of wondering if each woman who walked by would:
A. Take a sudden interest in me.
B. Sit down with me.
C. Chat over memories past with me.
D. Invite me to her place.
E. Say dirty things into my ear while sitting on her bed.
F. Slap me and kick me out when she became too insecure to act out said dirty things.
My phone rang. “Hello?”
“It’s Samantha. Look, I can’t get out of this. Can I call you later this week?”
My shoulders dropped. “Does this happen on a regular basis?”
“No! I promise. I just have twelve deadlines on Friday.”
I finished my chai, gave every woman in the place one more chance to reel me in, and then I left for home.
It was a pleasant night and I opted for a non-direct route. As I walked near an ice cream shop’s outdoor cafe, who should I see sitting at a table over a milkshake but Samantha! And sitting across from a guy! My first thought was, “Thank goodness she was able to complete her work so quickly,” but my second thought quickly supplanted it, my second thought being, “Ouch!”
I doubled back around the corner and called her. “Hey, Samantha. How’s work?”
“It’s really busy. Didn’t we just talk about this? I’ll call you later, okay?”
“Will you be there late? Can I bring you anything?”
“What are you talking–?”
“Like ice cream?”
I took this opportunity to round the corner and walk towards the ice cream shop. The instant she locked eyes with me, it was as if someone had poured a drum of ice-cold water all over her. I saw her mouth, “Shit.”
“Hi!” I stopped at her table and extended my hand to the guy. “I’m the guy she stood up to see you!” To my surprise, the guy shook my hand, albeit weakly. Then, I turned to Samantha. “A milkshake!” I said, “I love milkshakes!” I grabbed her drink.
“Hey!” she protested, but it was far too late. I was already drinking some down. Ahhh…
I replaced the milkshake back on the table, said, “Well, goodnight!” and left.
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