Inside My Head

the literary rantings of Angie Frissore

The Face (Edited)

Shit, I thought, glancing at the clock in the car.  I was always getting to things far too early, always leaving myself plenty of time for nervousness and self-doubt.  I lit a cigarette as I weighed the pros and cons of waiting inside the coffee shop – first glance, definitely a pro.  Sitting by myself as an unknown number of coffee shop patrons witnessed my discomfort, however, was a major, not to mention awkward, con.  I checked my lip gloss for the seventeenth time and decided to wait inside.  Given the layout of the establishment, there was really no legitimate way I was going to pull off the I-just-pulled-in trick if I waited in the car.  I took a seat by the window as the coffee shop staff quickly and easily deduced the nature of my arrival.

“Can I get you something?” asked a young waitress with heavy black eyeliner, ripe with the pretentiousness that comes with working at a coffee shop.

“No, thanks.  Well, not yet,” I muttered, not taking my gaze off the parking lot.  The waitress chuckled.

“Okay, well, good luck,” she said as she walked off.  She seemed to understand that my nervous fidgeting was not caused by my own insecurities, but by the large probability that this blind date would be just as unappealing and misleading as the others.  I often wondered if I had  an inherent desire for self-destructive situations that leant itself nicely to the horrors of internet dating.

Soon, a black Mitsubishi pulled up in the parking lot, taking a space directly in front of the door.  I took a deep breath, waiting to see who would emerge from behind tinted windows, and reflected on my wise decision to wait inside.  I would’ve never been able to have seen him from where my car was parked.

My surroundings suddenly seemed to move in slow motion as my date stepped out of the car.  A tall, slender-but-well-built, fashionably-dressed man wearing sunglasses now stood next to the Mitsubishi as my heart began to pound.

Holy shit, I mouthed.  I had grown accustomed to dates who had provided outdated pictures, that, upon first encounter, seemed to have been of other people altogether; pictures sent which were taken frat parties and college functions – from men in their thirties. But this – this was a first.  The pictures I had seen of this particular date did this Adonis no justice at all, and for a brief second my mind entertained the notion that this man could be out of my league.  I no longer had the upper hand in the situation where blind dates had seemed more like conducting job interviews – no, this time I actually had to try.

He entered the coffee shop, resting his sunglasses on top of his head, and glanced around.  As his eyes locked with mine, a beaming smile spread across his ridiculously handsome face.  I put my best flirt forward and stood up with a sultry smile.

“Abby,” he stated, matter-of-factly, with a slight air of relief.

“Indeed,” I said coyly.  “And you, fortunately for me, must be David.”

……………..

We walked along the common, drinking our coffees and talking about our respective histories as I secretly reveled in my good-date fortune.  We talked about everything – family, past relationships, dating horror stories, goals – and I found myself lost for the moment.  There was a certain chemistry there, already, that had been missing for so long – it was a kind of Micah chemistry, a kind of rightness to it.

We began talking about supernatural things, in the spirit of the crisp October evening.  David was not from Boston, originally, and I felt it was my duty to fill him in on how we did Halloween in my home state.

“You’ve never had Halloween until you’ve had a Salem Halloween,” I argued.

“I know! I’ve never been but don’t people come from all over the place for that?” he asked excitedly.  “Maybe if I play my cards right you can show me a real Salem Halloween.”
I told him stories of my crazier days, of trips up north to what was our own little Mardi Gras, where hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of Salem and partied until the early morning hours.

“You know what’s silly?” I asked playfully.  “I even had an old Ouija board I bought up there, from the old days when Parker Brothers was in Salem.”

“Really?” he asked, incredulously.  “Do you still have it?”

“Embarrassingly enough,” I said, “I do.”

“We totally need to use the Ouija board!” he yelled excitedly.  “What do you say we go grab a nice bottle of red and go round us up some ghosties?” He leaned in close to me as he proposed the question, kissing my gently on the cheek.

“Smooth,” I laughed.  “But I’ll bite.”

…………………..

I laid in bed, awake, unable to slow the whirlwind of thoughts in my head.  The Face had been gone for about an hour, but the subtle smell of his cologne lingered within the folds of the cotton sheets.  I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him but, given the fact that I had (again) betrayed myself with my reckless impulsiveness, I knew it was probably best not to make too much out of it.

By now I was very good at recognizing the bad ones.  I was well aware of the typical warning signs and indicators of undesirable male behavior. The Face, though – The Face was different.  He said and did the right things, but he sounded so…sincere.  Here was this remarkably gorgeous military man, raised in the Midwest, with all the right manners and a cutting-edge sense of humor, and yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something just wasn’t right with him.

Taco quietly crawled up to her favorite spot on the pillows behind my head and I gave her a loving pat.  I suddenly recalled how The Face all but ignored the dog upon entering the apartment.

“Maybe that’s it, Taco,” I said with a sigh.  “Maybe I just didn’t like how he paid you no attention.”  Taco pressed her  nose against my cheek, staring at me.

“Yeah, maybe that’s it.”

-………………

“Come on, they give you a lunch break don’t they?”

“Well, of course, but…” I trailed off nervously.  I couldn’t believe what The Face was suggesting.  “What if I’m late?”

“You won’t be, I promise,” he pressed.

“Fine,” I said.  “12:00 sharp – don’t be late!”

I hung up the phone and sprinted down the hall in search of my boss, to let him know I was heading out for my lunch break.

“Hey, Russ?” I asked nervously as I stopped him in the hallway.  “I’m gonna go out for lunch.”

“Yeah, no problem,” he smiled.

“Yeah…but I might be awhile, like, closer to two hours,” I stammered.  Russ laughed.

“That’s no problem, Abby,” he told me.  “Really, it’s perfectly fine.”

“Thanks, Russ,” I said with a goofy smile.  I wondered if he could see right through my ruse, but turned and headed for the elevators before he’d have a chance to rethink it.  My blood was pumping as I marched out to my car to go meet The Face at my apartment. I felt so…dirty.

I got to the apartment before he did, which was fortunate, as it provided me ample time to freshen up before he arrived.  Standing half-naked in the living room, I contemplated some sort of lingerie.  After a few indecisive moments, I decided it was far too early on for that sort of thing and settled on simply unbuttoning my white, button-down collared shirt and removing the panty hose underneath my slinky, short black skirt (maintaining the black pumps, of course).

I heard his little sports car pull up in the driveway and talked myself down from a brief moment of panic.  I was about to commit an act that would more than likely send the completely wrong signal to this guy, but my adrenaline was pumping too much for reason or logic to gain control over my actions.

“Ooh,” he said as I greeted him at the door.  “Look at my dirty little businesswoman.  You look good enough to eat!”

“And I can’t tell you what a man in uniform does to me,” I said coyly, taking in the beautiful sight of him in his military dress uniform.  There was something ragingly sexy about it.  “I can’t wait to get you out of it.”

……………..

The week progressed, and I found that I didn’t want to deal with The Face after our little lunchtime romp.  As much as part of me adored The Face, there was a larger part of me that screamed out to me – do not trust this man.  I couldn’t put my finger on what, or why, but whenever I thought of him or heard from him, this instinctual, subconscious feeling of self-protection kicked in.  There was simply something off about him.

He knew what time I got out of bed in the morning, and would routinely call me just before I left for work just to say good morning.  He’d wait until he knew I was done getting ready for my day before calling, so as not to interfere in anyway.  It was sweet, yes, but I couldn’t overlook the statements he’d make about military life, and that he could be picked up and moved at a moment’s notice.  It was as if he was trying to lay it out on the line in some way – this would be fun, this would be romantic, but it would not be lasting.

Over time, I phased him out.  His calls went unanswered, emails unreturned, as I forced him out of my mind.  Eventually, there were pleading voicemails from him, only wanting to know what it was he did to push me away.  I would have told him, too, had I only known myself what it was he actually did.   He eventually disappeared altogether, though I’d be plagued by the enigma of it all for months to come.

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December 8, 2008 - Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft

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