Date Preparation

The cell phone alarm trills.

It’s seven thirty, Saturday night.

I sit up from my bed, wiping the drool from the side of my mouth. Rub sleep from my eyes. Stretch. Consider getting a day job with normal hours. Dismiss the notion. Turn off the alarm.

I twist my ankles round once, twice, thrice to encourage circulation then I get out of my twin bed and pace myself awake. The afternoon sun is giving way to an evening glow, and my blind date is an hour.

I glance in the full body mirror propped up against the wall. See my unbrushed, unwashed hair and droopy eyes, jewish nose and blowjob lips. Give me a fan and an airbrush, and I could almost be on a Playboy magazine.

Walk to the bathroom. Turn on the water, feel it… Cold. Turn the knob back.

Slip out of the crusty t-shirt I’ve owned for three years, the college shirt I wore on Friday nights in my room. Slip into a slinky black dress- definitely almost Playboy material.

I brush out the mane, but it still flies up. I beat it off, stave it off desperately, with a can of hairspray and bobby pins.

Half an hour to the date.

I’m not desperate. I’m just… Unique. I spend Monday mornings reading Irish poetry and Friday nights correcting the translations in blue ink. At night, I work the graveyard shift at my office, cashing in the extra dollars for pink razors and more blue pens.

The blind date thing was a friend’s suggestion. Something about socializing, getting out there, opening myself up to vulnerabilities. The typical cliches from the caring friend trope.

I open my makeup drawer. Riffle through. Pull out my favorite lipstick that over-accentuates the thickness of my lips. Rouge.

As I rub it on, moving my lips to form a small oh, I wonder if we’ll kiss. Me and this faceless boy that probably doesn’t watch soap opera reruns on Sundays, critiquing them on their storylines and developments, yet still crying at each overdone betrayal and each pointlessly twisty death. This boy that doesn’t go to bed at nine in the morning and sleep through the harsh day’s light.

I imagine him coming to the table for our dinner, arms that imply health, legs that suggest confidence. Him speaking and me speaking in a conversational duet. Me pulling out my purse, him intervening and us going dutch on a receipt neither of us could afford alone. A charming joke. Us leaving, together, him walking with me under the light pollution that covers the city’s stars. Then us a block from my apartment, me turning and lying and saying “Here’s my stop” and him chuckling at my weak attempt at humor and then us leaning into each other with my slinky dress and his cotton shirt between our throbbing skin. Our lips meeting, my rouge rubbing off in a perfect impression of my lips upon his. Him going home, me standing, watching his back as he leaves, waving.

I rub another layer of lipstick on. Pack the stick in my purse.

Just in case.