I brought my focus back into the inside of Toro (a pretty neat tapas place run by Ken Oringer - the food is all foody and good and stuff and they have lots of pricey but super tasty cocktails). I righted myself at the bar, pushed my glasses up on my nose (I don't actually wear glasses, but in my memory of all of this I have been recast as Lisa Loeb and I needed to push up our glasses so deal with it), sat up straight, passed Jibril a menu and we began to study in silence. Yo La Tengo songs hummed softy in the background, providing our only (but jangly) company. In all our exploring it had grown late and the bar was now mostly cleared out save for a smattering of aging white belts and a few interesting but tired looking women who might have been recently cut waitresses. I know this because while avoiding eye contact with Jibril and also being terrified to look out the window at Washington Street I was borderline staring directly at them for the majority of the next 20 minutes. Because, as you know, I am the best at all the stuff.
I feel I should admit that I am kind of bad at menus (and by "kinda" I mean, totally and completely, with no possible arguments from anyone who has ever witnessed me trying to order food from anywhere seriously even Friendly's, it's bizarre how bad I am at this. I mean even worse than nail polish selection. But I digress.). In this case, I had the guide of the $63 in my pocket that kept me suggesting Tecate and stuffed dates. He, of course, was having none of it. He was all about the bone marrowey, short ribby, oxtaily, pate-esque and let's order a bunch of expensive stuff and share it and with fancy cocktails that I am not going to pay for.
Now, as delusional as I am (trust me, you have no idea), I do realize I could have just told him to hold on buster! I would be making the decisions since I was paying or just communicated that we were on a budget and perhaps he could slow his Rockerfellerian roll just for a sec, thanks but of course, I did not. Although, to be fair, there may have been some eye rolling directed at no one in particular. So he ordered like 4 plates of incredible stuff I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for and I ordered the dates and crossed my fingers and took a deep breath and started singing song selections from Reality Bites. Ok, that last part did not happen (dude... focus!!!).
The date ended with us standing on the platform at Massachusetts Avenue MBTA station avoiding almost certain attack by facing each other solemnly, holding hands and talking in the most earnest gibberish ever gibbered. We were also smiling the crooked awesome smiles of people who really need to not laugh in this particular situation but want to (oh so much!). This was kinda cool and for real didn't suck. We were finding a solution to a precarious situation together! We were working as a team! We were holding hands! I wasn't sweating (how out of character?). As we stood there, our faces so close our eyelashes might have touched (if they were 7 inches long, which, I mean... ew) we smiled, maintaining eye contact against all odds and giggling for the better part of 3 minutes. It was a little weird but I think we were imbued with a greater purpose (mainly, avoiding the crazy screechy tauntings of the crazy dude who had been recently kicked off the Orange line and was systematically making his way though the crowd on the platform).
The dude climbed up the stairs into the summer night in a musical montage that was something like the Broadway cast of Cats singing Seven Seconds songs in a sewer. We were still holding hands as our eyes drifted from the montage back to each other. I smiled at him just a little (no teeth) and gave him approximately 3 seconds to kiss me before it was too awkward even for me to stand. He smiled at me too, but did not move. I dropped his hands gently and rubbed his arm like "oh well buddy, we tried". Thankfully the train arrived and we got on and went home.
I wouldn't say I was sad about it. I was poor at the end of it. I think I was mostly disappointed that nothing happened. I mean, nothing awful happened (which was good) but there was just no spark and that is just kinda sad for everybody. I chalked it up to poor screening and/ or the inevitability of my aloneness in the sense of it being forever and absolute and got ready to move on (most likely to hard drugs and a life of writing maudlin poetry on bev naps or some combination therein). So I was pretty surprised when he called me the next day excited about going out again. He said since we were so poor maybe we should just drive up to Marblehead and have a picnic by the lighthouse and watch the sunset. He said he knew a spot. I promised to bring wine and paper cups. He promised to pick me up right after work on Friday.
I said "thanks Jibril, I will see you then" and he said "thank you for giving me another chance, I won't mess it up."
I'm not going to lie, my heart went a little melty (but just a little, cuz after that Toro dinner I couldn't really afford a new one if this one melted all the way). It's pretty genuinely endearing when anyone actually wants something and is not afraid to say it to you like that. I mean, maybe people think that kind of stuff all the time and just don't say it, I don't know. In this case, he seemed to want me to like him. That was a sweet thing to want. Who was I to begrudge him the opportunity to try?