A Catch

Another creative piece from one of my students – please feel free to comment.

Lynette had always considered herself to be a catch. However, when she met Troy for a blind date, she found herself in a situation she couldn’t handle.

He sits there and plays with his fork, twisting it between his thumb and forefinger. She looks at him, he can’t be serious. She pulls at the tablecloth, she is nervous and moderately excited, but did he have to wear the Hawaiian shirt?

‘So tell me about yourself,’ he says, there is something wedged between his teeth, but she can’t tell him; she’s too embarrassed. She sits there silent for a minute, staring at nothing, trying to think of something to say about herself.

‘I like reading.’ She says bluntly, and almost too quickly. She can feel him tapping his leg up and down, it’s shaking the whole table.

‘Everybody likes reading.’ He says soon after, a lopsided grin flashes the morsel of food trapped between his gums and teeth.

She nods, again too quickly. ‘I read somewhere, that people who read live up to five years longer than people who don’t.’ It wasn’t true, she hadn’t read that; she just had to make something up to keep the conversation going.

He casually runs his fingers through his slicked back hair and grins again, ‘Well I never read. So I guess I’m a goner.’

She lifts her chin, ‘I thought you said everyone loves reading?’

He lets out a sheepish laugh through his nose, ‘I guess I lied.’

‘Oh.’ She says. This is awkward. He picks up the silverware and starts twisting it in his fingers again. She looks around, trying to find the bathrooms so she can excuse herself for just a minute. Her eyes trace around the room, over the dark green wallpaper, the down lights on the high ceiling, the candles floating in small glass of water on each table, the fountain in the corner with giant goldfish, the couples playing tootsies under the table, the thick green carpet and the red handbag sitting beside the table next to the kitchen entrance but she can’t see the bathrooms.

‘What are you looking at?’ He asks, still playing with his fork.

She turns back to him, ‘Just where the bathroom is.’

He nods behind her, ‘Right over there.’

She turns and sees it, ‘Oh thank you. I’ll be back in a moment.’

As she leaves he looks at his reflection in the back of a spoon, he looks up to make sure she’s out of sight. He growls, what an animal. He can’t believe how boring this girl is. Way to make a first impression. He grins into the spoon and sees something in his teeth. How long has that been there? He picks up a fork and uses the teeth to pry out whatever it is stuck in his teeth. She wouldn’t have noticed. He opens his mouth, baring his teeth again, moving the spoon like a dentists mirror to see each angle of his mouth. Clean as a whistle. He hears a door open and he throws the spoon down and looks up. False alarm, it’s not her. He picks up the spoon again and brings it to his nose. I need another blackhead strip. His breath starts to fog up on the spoon and he can’t see himself anymore. He puts it back on the table, and sits still for a minute. He licks his palms and runs them over his eyebrows. She walks out of the bathroom and sits at the table.

He says, ‘I would’ve timed you but I only have a stopwatch not a stop-calendar.’ He lets out an animated laugh.

‘I’m sorry?’ She asks, her brow furrows.

‘You took your time sweetheart.’ He grins and reaches to touch her hand. ‘I’m only joking.’

‘Oh. Hilarious.’ She says coldly.

It is now that she notices the mole above his eyebrow. Disgusting. I can’t eat with that staring at me. She pushes her glasses up her nose. Maybe if I say I have a headache.

‘Listen, Troy-’

‘Ready to order?’ A waitress asks. She looks up at her. Terrible timing.

He says, ‘I’m not feeling too hungry, so I’ll just get the Chilli Fries to start, extra chilli and the garlic bread. Then I’ll get the steak special with extra onion rings.’

The waitress spends a few seconds writing it down and then looks at her.

‘I’ll just have a green salad and lemon in water. Thank you.’ She says and hands her menu over.

The waitress smiles and nods and walks away.

Once she’s gone, Lynette reaches into her bag and pulls out her phone. Maybe if she just played a ringtone then pretended to answer it, she could say her brother is in hospital. She wouldn’t feel bad for jinxing him either, because she didn’t have a brother, only two sisters. She’d already ordered though. Maybe if she ate, and then said she had a bad reaction to the dressing. Although, that was too embarrassing. She was going to kill Megan for setting her up with this greasy, greasy man. She feels sick even looking at him.

‘So Lynette, what do you do for work?’ He asks.

She looks at her watch, she doesn’t want to look at his face to answer him, but she knows she has too. ‘Oh, I am a tax consultant. What do you do?’

‘Well, I work at the video store on Friday and Sunday nights. And every other day, I’m a volunteer at the library.’

She can’t help but scoff. Perfect.  How did this man even have friends to set him up on a blind date? Megan was going to hear about this.

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