A Blind Date
Humayra Autoshi, Grade 11
The place was not beautiful. The menu was written in comic sans and there was little cohesion amongst the plastic chairs, but that was supposed to be part of the “charm”. A range of faces entered the restaurant in a constant stream. For a place so “underground”, it seemed to attract a large number of people.
She had clearly overdressed. So far removed from where she had expected to meet her date was this outback grill. However, the comfortable warmth radiating throughout the dingey spot embraced her. It cradled her and soothed her anxieties for the night to come. The people around her were engrossed in their conversations, like artists obsessed with their works to create the chattering music which encompassed them.
The passing time ate away at her patience. Her mind wandered spiralled and inquired and- He interrupted her thoughts by finally making his entrance. Nothing about his features seemed remarkable. A blend of long limbs and brown hair presented itself before her. Polite conversation bubbled between them and between rehearsed lines and stiff laughter they fell into long pauses. Fingers drummed against the table. Eyes attempted to appear engaged. Then out of his mouth slipped the question she dreaded answering.
“So, what do you do for a living?”
“I’m a software engineer”
The tone of his voice suddenly shifted. From polite gentleman to something which she could not yet put her finger on. A smirk tugged at the edge of his mouth as he hitched up his brows.
“Oh?” he began “what’s a pretty face like yours doing in science?”
Although her answer drew many reactions, this was her least favourite.
An itch to slap the contempt clean off his face rose in her hand. She repressed it. Instead, she smiled politely and diverted her attention to the menu. Barbeque Ribs, New York Style Pizza, Boston Burger…
The disdain in his eyes was obvious as they followed the fork to her mouth. Although she made sure to wipe her lips and eat only small mouthfuls at a time, she could see him failing to control the disgusted contortions of his face. Shovelling steak into her mouth may be unladylike, but it had been a long day.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, I just” his eyes fell on her plate “didn’t think girls ate that much”
“We ordered the same thing. Isn’t this the standard serving?”
“Well… for someone like you…” scanning the outlines her shoulders and arms he added “you might want to consider eating less”
Heat clawed its way up her neck and across her cheeks. All the patrons seemed to congeal together into a homogeneous mass. A lump of skin and forks and body odour pulsating around her. Growing. Growing until she could bear it no longer. She broke. She excused herself and stepped outside.
As she began her journey home, she looked back at the restaurant. The neon sign hung asymmetrically over the entrance illuminated as though fireflies lay dormant in place of letters. she could see her date awaiting her return. Pulling her jacket closer to her chest she turned around and left.
The place was not beautiful, but at least she had a story to tell.