Driving past, I saw him, and for a second hope that he didn't see me. Everyone was excited that I had a Real Live Date, and smiled when I expressed concern on where he would sleep. If it's bad, I don't want him to stay. And if it's good... I don't think I should. But my friends just winked. Oh Erin. Please. Has this really been a concern? I pull into a parking lot. He is overdressed, more so than I am already.
I debate not unlocking my car, going home, taking a nap. But I've already callled him. Did you see a blue minivan? Yes, I am now walking towards you. Great. Great.
Something smells in the car. Something organic. Something like my cat. Something musty and musky with a baking soda cover-up. I pretend to look out my window to the left and sniff my sweater. Nope. That's not it. I turn to my right. He smiles at me.
I sit in front of a friend. She texts me. Hows the hot date going?!?!?! I want to write back Tepid, but he's leaning in next to me. My brother asks me if he's nice. My parents have called me a half dozen times today. I text them and tell them I'm on a date. I can hear the excitement in their response, and tell me not to worry and have fun. The music starts, and I am stunned to find out that he is a seat-dancer, moving and tapping his knees to the beat of the music. I alternate between feelings of extreme judgement (is he really doing-I can't believe it-please stop smiling at me) and superficiality (I last went on a date when?-This is the first date I've been on since I could legally drive other people in my car-Jesus Erin you have problems too). The concert ends, and while picking the daisy petals of emotions I end on judgement. Nevertheless, we drive out to a dive bar in my hometown.
I'm sitting with my full glass of beer, at a going away party for a girl I don't know. My date is still smiling at me. I want to bare my teeth. I wonder, for a second, what would happen if I did. Most everyone here was at the party two weeks ago. A very blonde very drunk girl comes up behind me, hugs me, and says that she's glad to see me. I vaguely remember her from last week, and am more concerned with the fact that this is the second night in a row that I have work a cardigan to a bar: the worse the bar, the nicer the cardigan.
My date leaves to get another drink, and my friend leans in. So, what do you think? You know that he's really into you.
I am not drunk, not even tipsy, but I get incredibly sad. This guy that I hardly know seems to really like me, but the fact that he's into me without even seeing me sober before tonight just makes me more uncomfortable. I'm not used to this. Sometimes, in an overdramatic 20-something way, when I'm hooking up with someone, if I ever will be used to this feeling.
I don't know, Sarah. I don't think.... can he stay with you? I rattle off some bullshit excuse. She nods.
Well, that's ok. Maybe you'll just make a new friend. My friend who has been in a relationship, a serious relationship, for most of the past seven years. I have yet to establish that comfort, and the more I delay, the more awkward it gets.
The first time I even saw a fig was at the farmers market at home. An old rival that would soon become one of my close friends sold me three, each the size of my fist loosely grasped. I didn't even know what to do. Eighteen years old, and still surprised by the surprises. I cut open the fig, slicing from the tip of the opening where the tiny fig wasps crawl in and are destroyed by enzymes in the fruit. I let it lay open, unprotected, naked and vulnerable. Like the first time you cut open an apple and see the star shapes created by the seeds. The fruit was juicy, perfect. Not too sweet, the individual seeds (technically each an individual fruit) melting in my mouth.
Since then, the only figs I have found, ever, are small, the size of ping pong balls. There is too much skin and less meat, and whenever I try and slice them open the symmetry inside is ruined. I buy them whenever I see them, eat one or two, and let the rest go bad in my fridge.
Yesterday I stumbled across a box of figs. Popped one in my mouth, whole. The seeds gritted against my teeth, and I could not shake the image that they were not seeds but bits of undigested fig wasps, led into this falsely welcoming fruit.