June 27, 2017
The Man with Thin Legs
"A man with thin legs is going to try to jump on your head."
Tijana uncrosses her legs, reaching for her glass of water that sitting the kitchen table, "she said, a man with thin legs is going to try to jump on your head."
"She saw that in my coffee cup? Hmm, okay, but like, what does that mean? I don't know who that's going to be," her mother passes me the cup, I stare at the grinds stuck to the side of the cup, "I don't get how she can see that from reading my coffee cup."
"I don't know either, my mother's a witch."
"Well," placing the coffee cup on the table, I feel my thighs peel themselves off the seat of my wooden chair. I get up, do a mini stretch and smooth my dress over my thighs, "well, thank you for reading my cup, but I have to go through."
"Where are you going?"
"I have a date."
I'm late for my date. I can't walk any faster because my dress keeps riding up my ass and I'm severely sweating from a mixture of heat and anxiety. It's my first date in half a year. It's not that I don't want to date, rather, I'm traumatized from a series of unfortunate, yet, as people are telling me, fortunate events. But enough about that, anyway, this is how it went down, you know, how he met me. He saw me at a bar, approached me and asked me out. I had this unsettling feeling in my stomach when I was giving him my number, but I wasn't sure if it was because of him or my menstrual cramps.
He calls me the next day to go out for dinner. So, I tell him to pick a place and I'll meet him there. He wants to pick up me in his Audi, but I'm not prepared for that socio-economic leap into the upper-middle class. So, I decided to take the bus. But, with proletariat methods of transportation comes consequences. I arrive at the cafe dripping in sweat and see him sitting at a corner table glued to his phone. His forearms are flexing as his types away and his fitted white t-shirt hugs his firm pecks. I sneak past him and run into the bathroom.
Listen, I splash my face with water and grab a paper towel, patting my cheeks. It's gonna be fine. Yes, he's hot, yes he has a job, but just be cool and don't get nervous. He's just a guy, at best he could pass as a catalog model. I look into the mirror, give a semi-support smile and sneak back to the entrance.
I walk back into the cafe, smiling with a fresh glowing face, "Ah, I'm sorry I'm late!"
"No, it's not a problem," he gets up from his seat, gives me a kiss on the cheek and a firm hug.
He sits back down, tucks in his chair and smiles at me. His two phones are stacked one on top of the other, elegantly placed beside his Audi car keys which shine into my eyes every time I move my head to the left. His samurai bun doesn't have a single hair out of place and his face looks as soft as a baby's ass cheek. He doesn't suit me at all. I'm wearing white Converse sneakers and a black sundress that's being held together in the back by a piece of string I found in my room, possibly used as the rope you tie meat with, but I'm not sure. My hair's deflated because of the sweat and I can see the unshaven hairs on my knees.
Oh, you better order the steak, cause you're going to fuck this one up.
We start talking about everything. He's fascinated that I'm a writer, he talks about his pet lizard and how he's planning on buying a boathouse. I tell him about my dog, he asks me if I've been on many dates here, I say no. He tells me he has a bad history with women. He goes on to tell me about his job, but I rewind the conversation back and decide it's story-time.
"I'm sorry, I just find it so weird that you have a bad history with women, you seem like a good guy." Aaaaaaand, let it begin.
"Oh god, you have no idea, all my exes, they're all crazy." Red flag.
"That's crazy! What did they do to you?" I lean in, resting my elbow on the table, waiting for the story.
"I don't know why I'm telling you this, but nevermind," takes a sip of water, "Well, one of them stalked me for four months, the other one wanted kids with me after two weeks of dating and my last girlfriend, she tried to get pregnant by lying to me that she was on birth control when she wasn't."
"Wow, that's intense. And this all happens to you, that's so weird." It's not weird.
"Yeah, I'm just, you know, hoping things will be different now," he says, smiling at me. He goes back to talking about his work, we laugh, he touches my hand, he asks me where I love to go out, I tell him. After some time, he takes a cigarette, places it in between his lips, pulls out his lighter, flicking it once and placing the flame in front of his face. "So," blowing the smoke out into the open air, "I have a question and I want you to be honest with me."
"If a guy would come up to you tomorrow and ask you for your number, would you give it to him?" Red flag.
I take an uncomfortably long pause, "well I do--"
"Oh thank you, Natasha."
"No, no, your silence said everything," he frowns, while his cigarette burns in between his fingers.
I let out a slight chuckle, "I just don't know what you want me to say, this is the first date and I mean, we don't really know each other," my leg starts shaking under the table. "Like, I don't really know what you, you know what I mean?"
He rests his cigarette against the ashtray, puts his elbows on the table and starts to rub his eyes, "I can't believe this. I really like you and you're lying to me."
"How am I lying to you? I just said I don't know. What do you want me to say, that I wouldn't give my number? We don't even know each other."
"Do you love me?"
"Do you love me?"
"How can I love you, I don't know you."
"See, now you're telling me the truth."
Oh fuck, here we go.
He leans back, takes his cigarette, relighting it in his mouth. "You know," his head shaking in disappointment as he blows out smoke, "I was thinking of a future with you, you know that? I'm a fucking idiot," his voices rise as I look around the room. No one is paying attention. "I wanted to be with you, I wanted kids with you," his face turns red, "Fuck, I wanted two kids with you but you're a liar," he jabs his cigarette into the ashtray, leans back into his chair, shaking his head, "you fucking lied and ruined everything."
It's been like twenty minutes and he wants two kids with you. No. No, no, no, oh fuck, he is the girl in each story. Fuck, he's the crazy girlfriend in all those stories. He's the stalker, he was the one that wanted kids after two weeks. He made himself believe he didn't do any of that --you have to leave. He is the girl in each story.
I take a sip of my lemonade, it burns my throat, as I take a deep breath. "I don't know what to say, I mean, I'm 26 years-old... marriage, kids, I wasn't really thinking about that right now."
"You just want some one-night stand."
"I don't, I want a relationship, I just wasn't thinking about kids and marriage, you know, right now. Maybe in like four-five years, bu-but not now."
"Yeah, four-five years," he says mockingly, "because you're young, you have time to fuck around."
This is just gonna go in a circle, just calm him down and leave. "So, do you come to this cafe often?"
"How many friends do you have on Facebook?" This definitely won't calm him down.
Don't lie, he can check. "I dunno, I think around a thousand."
"How many of those are guys."
"I don't know, haven't checked the stats on that."
"Yeah," he nods his head, "yeah, they're probably all guys. You probably go on dates with all of them, don't you? They just message you and then you see them and fuck them."
You know, that's actually a pretty decent strategy.
"I don't actually. I'm not sure what you're trying to get me to say. You want me to tell you that I'm a slut? Would that make you happy?"
He gets up from the table and walks to the bathroom, leaving the door open. He undoes his bun, runs the tap, splashing splash water on his face. He runs his wet fingers through his hair. "It's just cause you're so damn pretty!" he yells as he slams his fists on the counter. He takes a couple deep breaths, puts his hair back into a bun, comes out and sits back down.
You have to go now. Now now now now now now now now now now now now now.
"I have to go now," I get up from my chair, hoisting the strap of my bag onto my shoulder.
"What?" he yells.
"Yeah, I have to go."
"Are you kidding? It was a joke! Oh my god, fuck, this was a joke!" throws his hands in the air, "I can't believe this, I can't believe how you're reacting," he says as his hands cover his face in shock.
"Listen, I'm feeling bad about the things that you think I did and things that I haven't even done. Even if I didn't them, why would I feel ashamed of my past," I rest my hand on his shoulder, "I just need some space on my own, we can talk tomorrow, or whatever."
"Now your friends are all going to think I'm crazy."
"No, no, no, why would they think that? You're not crazy." You're fucking crazy. "We're just not connecting on that level of humor. I'm just too sensitive, I guess... I'm not good at taking jokes." I bend down, giving him a hug and kiss on the cheek as I hold down nausea.
I walk out of the cafe, pull out my phone, calling Tijana.
"Hey, I was just thinking about you, so weird, how's your date going?"
"He has thin legs."
"See, the coffee cup never lies!"
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