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The Traveller (Bad Lines: Part Five)

March 29, 2009

He make his move when my girlfriend steps outside for a cigarette. Comes up behind me and taps my shoulder, then does that duck-around thing so that when you turn to look, the guy is at your opposite side. Playground games–smooth.

“You ladies look deep in conversation,” he says. “Too deep to make room for my friend and I?” A question. The next move mine to make. My girlfriend returns before I can reply, makes the move on my behalf.

“Miller! I’m single for three years and get no attention. You’re single for three weeks and the moment I step outside, they’re flocking to you in swarms!” Tells me to introduce her to my new friends, but it’s too loud (some hipster DJ spinning music that rolls from song to song in a clangy blur), so we watch the men make the shape of their names but the sound is lost the moment it passes their lips. Let’s call them her guy and my guy.

The men go to the bar, return with scotch for us, beer for them. While they’re out of earshot, my friend nudges me, tells me my guy seems sweet and is also very cute. I agree, but feel nauseous. I’ve been single three or four weeks, unceremoniously dumped by the man I believed I’d spend the rest of my life with. Am pretty much in shock, and in no shape to date.

“Duh, you don’t have to date him,” my friend points out, “just go out with him. Give him your number and go for a drink. People do this. It’s normal. It happens all the time. It might even be fun.”

Dating, number-swapping, getting to know each other. It stands the hair on my neck, makes my palms sweat, provokes a dozen cliché reactions to something I might want to do but am also terrified to jump into. Ugh.

My guy does seem nice. Right away, he loses the ironic drawl intended to mask whether he’s interested or not. Asks questions about me, my life, my evening. Remembers what I say and a few minutes later, brings the conversation back around to an earlier point. Is paying attention, not just wooing. He’s not some dick trying to pick me up because the hour is late and no one else came along. Seems like someone I might actually have a nice time chatting with, under quieter, casual conditions.

I look to my friend. Her guy is pacing, clearly wants to keep the bar crawl moving, perhaps with my friend and I in tow. My guy asks if we’d like to join them for another drink up the street. I tell him thanks but I’m out with my friend and it’d be wrong to hijack the evening, even for a pair of nice men.

“But,” I suggest, “I can give you my number if you’d like to get together on purpose sometime.”

“Oh, I don’t live here,” he says. “I’m just in town till morning and lost track of the guy whose place I’m supposed to crash at. I just thought, well…you know…”

A sleepover–how sweet. Such a gentleman. Dating. Number-swapping. Getting to know each other. Ugh. Not yet. Maybe some other time.

One Comment leave one →
  1. looka permalink
    March 30, 2009 1:43 pm

    Oh man, oh man…

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