Outside the cafe, I checked my lipstick. There in the reflection in the window was my mother's face staring back at me. When did I become host to her face? I was even holding my purse like her, up around my bra line. I then looked at my backside and thought, I hope he doesn't think I'm fat, because this is me, thin. I hadn't even met the guy and already I felt inadequate. Do men do this? I've never seen a self-help section for men in the bookstore. There's no book called Men Who Love Too Much, or Men Who Worry About Their Backsides.
Anyway, I made my entrance and we looked at each other like two deer caught in headlights. I could tell that he hated my handbag. Well, I hated his bicycle shorts. Just by the look of him I could tell he was a chaos junkie: someone who thought it would be fun to zip-line above a volcano. After preliminary introductions, I excused myself to go to the bathroom. I couldn't parachute out of there because there was no window. (Oh yes, I checked.) So I gave myself a good, stern talking-to – in my mother's voice. If I was going to look like her, I might as well sound like her, too.
When I got back to the table, I found he had ordered me a latte with an extra shot of espresso. Well, that wound me up. I babbled on about the weather, how it rained and then it snowed and I didn't know if I should wear a rain hat or a toque. Have you ever seen a cat just standing there and pawing at a piece of fabric over and over again? That was me. At some point during my scintillating speech about Hurricane Katrina he said he had to go before it started to rain. As he cycled out of my life, I heaved a sigh of relief as I landed safely back in Singleville. No bumps. Just bruised pride.
The next day Sal called me to ask how it went. "Well Sal, it was a lot like Grade 11 – without the lemon gin." She told me there were plenty of fish in the sea. In fact, there is a dating website by that very name. That night I had a dream about swimming with sharks in the middle of a tsunami. Or maybe it was a tidal wave. I always get those two mixed up.
From the October 2009 issue of Canadian Living. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!
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