Mission: find a flaw with that redhead sitting across from that swine.
Phase One. Walk past, cool, calm. Do not look in swine’s direction, do not blush; for God’s sake, do not pick at your face. Head up, shoulders down and back. Do not panic.
I take a deep breath before slipping my feet into my black heels and pulling back the chair to leave. The chair lets out a horrendous nails-on-chalkboard screech. The chair is clearly on his side. Sink back into chair, hope to God giant black hole descends and swallows the restaurant. I peer hopefully at the ceiling, but when no rifts appear to tear open the surface, I pick up my menu and attempt to disappear behind a list of tuna casseroles and shepherd’s pies. Surreptitious gaze above menu, narrow eye squints with thoughts of doom projected in direction of swine. Hopes that the black hole might shift in his direction. Should’ve worn the black blouse. Curses to the dry cleaners for their broken thingamabobber. Hmm. Is that a new scar on his cheek? Eyebrow raise.Yes, there’s some definite scarring.
Perhaps when he was leaving my apartment, he turned back to apologize but turned with such vigor that he overswung and the door met him smack in the middle of the face. He was bleeding pretty terribly and had to be rushed to the hospital, thus rendering him incapable of returning my calls. Yes, that must be it. Or possibly, after I walked out crying, that creepy guy who haunts the third elevator from the left followed him out to the street and cut him across the face with one of those bottlecaps he always seems to be chewing on. You know, I did see him looking at me strangely last Tuesday, maybe he’s in love with me. Or maybe he’s been in such a stupor these last few days that he walked out into traffic head-on, got hit by an Acura, flipped over its hood, tumbled to the ground, and managed to miraculously scramble away with just a scrape. And irreparable damage to his brain that erased all memory of me.
Eyes widen as redhead goes for the scar; Houston, we have a problem. She is running her finger down the scar. I repeat - running that tacky, fake, sickeningly long, cotton-candy pink fingernail down swine’s face. This is not okay.
Maybe she’s a hooker. Maybe he couldn’t stop thinking about me and decided this was the only way he could heal his throbbing heart. Maybe he saw something in that shiny pleather skirt, that disgustingly small t-shirt - does that really say “Babydoll” - that reminded him of me. He’s just a poor puppy who has been led astray. All he needs is some love and care and - oh, that rotten, dirty, filthy pig! Who kisses someone in the middle of a decent restaurant?
It’s a miracle that it’s over; after all, look at him. Look at those greasy locks, that cocky smirk, that fake Gucci watch. That’s right, it’s fake. I was there when he bought it. For $5.99. Don’t let it fool you.
Get up, stride purposely toward door, pull forcefully open. Okay, push forcefully open. Step through doorway. Walk off without looking back. Note to self: next time, when making a dramatic exit, remember to look down. That way, if there happens to be, say, a pothole, you won’t get your new post-breakup $639 stiletto heels stuck. Just a thought.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.