Sunday, January 13, 2013

Flammable part 2

Before I knew it, I was sitting in a cozy and trendy restaurant in Portland.  With the wig drama in the past, the night off to a fabulous start.  My new friends and I were having fun, telling stories, enjoying a few drinks, and getting to know each other.  After a while we decided to try a new place for food, more drinks, and to stretch the evening.  At a nearby grill we huddled together, like old friends, waiting for a both to open, and within minutes, we were set.  We continued to enjoy each other’s company and ordered dinner.  Suddenly, a stranger was sitting opposite me, joining us in our booth.  That was odd.  He was eager, and boastfully talked a lot as he nursed a Corona Light.  It was apparent from the moment he crashed our small party, his interest in my attractive friend, but I felt uncomfortable, and could tell that my friend’s cousin had a similar felling. 

After ten agonizing minutes of listening to his inflated ego, I had enough, and bluntly asked the stranger to leave.  He was taken aback and challenged me.  I had neither the patience nor energy to engage with this person.  But I realized I might have been stepping on my friend’s toes, so I stepped aside.  They both left the restaurant to continue what they had started.  Her cousin went to observe them, making sure she didn’t get in his car.  I just sat by myself, waiting for something to happen or someone to return.  Our dinner showed up and I picked at the fries wondering what was happening.  The concerned cousin returned, informing me they were just out front talking.  We both agreed the stranger gave us the creeps and worried our friend was making a mistake.  She briefly returned, only to tell us she was going to the first restaurant to retrieve her phone inadvertently left behind.  The guy was going to walk with her.  Against her cousin’s impassioned wishes, she left.  I said very little.  She’s an adult and can make her own choices.  Her cousin couldn’t handle the worry, so he left money for the bill and went to follow them. 

Left alone for the second time, I sat in the booth sipping coffee and contemplated if I had misinterpreted something, or maybe it was just me?  While the attention of the restaurant staff was sweet, I felt sad.  This was new territory for me, and I wasn’t prepared for it.  With hope that I wouldn’t be abandoned, I waited for my friend to return.  But would I understand if she didn’t come back?  We both were looking for new beginnings, how could I blame her?  After an eternity, which was probably only fifteen minutes, she was standing there, next to the table.  We sat and had a short and polite conversation.  After paying the bill we left together with leftovers in hand.  Mostly in silence, my friend and I walked the six cold January blocks back to our cars.  Before parting, we agreed to connect again, but with clearer expectations, and after a hug and kiss, we said goodnight.  Sometime during the evening my roommate had left a message on my phone, her flight was delayed and wouldn’t be arriving until 2am.  It was only 10:30.  What if date you imagined turned into the night that would never end?