I blinked my eyes and the crows were gone. I scanned the trees, turning myself around in a circle in the middle of Brattle Street but did not see any birds at all, anywhere. Had Alex successfully driven me to hallucinate... was it the alum in the matcha... had he poisoned me or maybe he was astral projecting up into the branches as a whole murder of crows (most probable). I thought "I really should just start walking to the train. I kinda doubt he would follow me" but I did not do that. I just stood there with my hands in my pockets looking around.
"Hey! Yoo hoo... it's open!" He didn't open my door for me, but really at this point it would have just delayed the date's ending which I was wishing for with increasing amounts of urgency so that was fine. I made a mental note that "yoo hoo" was kind of a poor choice, but also was gradually accepting that he may be insane, so maybe a wash? The car is dirty inside, the back seat is full of pieces of fabric that I can only assume are the tattered clothes of his hapless victims. He wore driving gloves, no radio, complained a lot about how cold it was, announced we had to get gas ASAP and he needed to find (wait for it...) a bathroom.
He wanted to use his GPS, but that was not happening since it would entail me giving him my address. I was able to convince him it was a straight shot down Storrow Drive. I tried to give more details... he started to glaze over at "Leverett Connector" - but I assured him the force was strong with me and we would be fine. He didn't laugh. I had definitely stopped caring. This was before he tried to go the wrong way down Memorial Drive and also had a little trouble committing to a lane...sigh.
Just for the record, I am not afraid of people who can't drive. Well, ok, actually I am a little afraid of people who can't drive. I am also not always a trusting passenger, but he was truly dangerous on the road. Lots of beeping. So that was fun for me too. We crossed over from Storrow to Memorial Drive and sat between the neon Shell sign and the neon Mobil sign (while the Citgo sign kinda just supervised from above). The light turned green and then red again and we remained poised between the two options. I looked to Alex for a hint of his preference, but his face was stone and his eyes set straight ahead, dead center, revealing no leanings in either direction. I looked straight ahead as well and meekly suggested "they are both the same price, maybe the Mobil is easier to pull into?"
"Oh, really? Is it?" (no idea on that one, don't care).
So Mobil it was! As he is gassing up he leaves the car running, inspiring a little speech about how it's a "total myth" that that is at all dangerous and he knows cuz he pumped gas for 2 months in 1993. He also mentions he was robbed at knife point by 2 men during these 2 months and was fired as the station owners thought he stole the money and lied about it. Now... historically, I am not great at doing appropriate things or talking about normal stuff on first dates, but really, I mean - come on! Let us not forget, this guy is supposed to be a professional. He gives seminars on love and intimacy and relationships. He literally teaches people how to do this. Like, for money. Like, that is his main job. I mean, how can that be?
But I digress. The sense of hopelessness and defeat had grown so profound at this point, I just muttered something about wasting gas and then starting poking myself in the eye with a bobby pin I had found in my pocket.
Without explanation (don't gas stations have bathrooms?) we then drove to the Whole Foods for him to use the bathroom. As I sat in the freezing car with my dead cell phone and felt the true empty parking lot level winter silence, I regretted not going in with him. I could have sampled verbena soy soaps and cruelty free malomars or some other glorious version of "not sitting in the car alone" but I had not chosen wisely. It was 9 minutes before he returned and just for the record he did not bring me a delightful vegan treat of any kind. I am not vegan but it seemed like the thing to want... I mean we were in Cambridge after all? Shut up.
He wanted to go to Mike's for cannoli (he only asked me twice and I told him I didn't really like cannoli, but we could definitely go if he wanted - so I can accept that this is my fault). I let him know there would be no parking. He was sure there would be parking ("it's a Sunday!" he proclaimed with a scoff). I didn't really protest as my soul had already been taken from me and all I could think about was my dead phone and if I would ever get home in time to call Gibb and relay all this to another human being. We double parked, he asked me one more time if I wanted a cannoli (dude, seriously?) and then ran in (more alone time in his car - sweet!). He came right back out immediately, I rolled down the window and handed him a $5 (he swore he had been there dozens of times... but forgot they were kinda famously cash only...right). He got his cannoli and we were now, at long last, on the way to all of this being over. As we rolled at a painful petty pace down Prince Street and I could almost see my apartment arch and then - wait, what, what are you doing - is there a parking spot? No no no. Nooo, this is not happening. Please, for the love of God!
"Hey, I'll just pull over here so we can say goodnight."
Car stops, I tie my scarf up tight around my chin and thank him for the date. He removes his seat belt and turns toward me smiling that soulless smile of dubious intent. I get a little wide eyed (not sure why in retrospect). I mean, in what way was I not expecting this, exactly? He is leaning into me slowly and I am backing away slowly to match. We are doing this weird end of the date dance that I was hoping to avoid, but I guess is sort of the prickly icing on the awkward, awful, dry homemade cake that has been our date. We end up with my back to his passenger side door and him almost on all fours advancing toward me. Now his face is about 4 inches from mine and his eyes are totally crazy and focused directly on my 3rd eye. An elderly woman walks by on the sidewalk and I stare out the window at her as if to whisper "do you see thissss? Explain to me how this is happening?" I realize I am holding my hands out in front of me like a T-Rex, kind of helplessly ready to swat away insects or birds or something, but likely no match for Alex's crazy face, which presently, is very much in mine.
I am just about ready to fumble for the car door latch behind me and, although that most certainly would mean tumbling out of the car backwards into a snowbank, is feeling like the winning choice. Before I can make my move, he advances further, pushing my T-Rex hands up under my chin. It seemed like 30 minutes we spent here in limbo (was probably 30 seconds) until he finally raised one hand next to his face and said the following, in a hushed, ferocious tone and ending with clenched teeth:
"I'm a wolf. Rawr!"
Not making this up. Not even sure I could. This is what he said. That is how he said it. There was kind of a biting the air kind of move at the end... I don't know, don't make me re-live it.
There have not been many times in my life in which I legit have nothing to say. It's all a little hazy (don't forget, I still hadn't eaten). I think I nodded gravely... maybe just to prevent him from saying it again? He continued the eye contact but pulled away, thankfully. I somehow got out of his car and walked to my apartment. I closed the door behind me and never looked back. Except, I guess, to write this very long 3 part blog and name it after this date. Yah, except for that part, I super totally never looked back : ).