Copyright is held by the author.
OUR MEETING comes on the eve of Nancy telling me to that it’s “traumatizing to fall in love” and “not worth it.” Those were her words, I swear. I scribbled them on the back of a receipt. Words that should be written down and noted for every person re-entering the dating scene after a grand total of a sorry number of relationships. That’s me.
When did we stop counting our SO’s and started counting our night caps? Sometime in college. Then the pendulum took a turn back right in my late 20s and I’m again losing the game. I was good at the nightcap game, now bad at the relationship game. They just want too much from me, I tell my friends — and they’re all the same. Until I meet one that is different. Then I have hopes that they won’t notice I wear my days of the week socks only on Mondays and Wednesdays (and sometimes Saturdays if I’m feeling spicy), or that I dislike all animals in the world except for my kitten, (who is trapped in Shanghai on her kitty visa). Usually that sends them packing. For those who stay, it’s always the Daddy Issues. It’s always something.
I entered the bike shop asking about hybrid bicycles for petite women, trying to use all the precise vocabulary in the right order so that I sounded like I knew what I was talking about. He pointed me upstairs, to ask for Vincent. When I saw the man who is obviously Vincent, I double-checked anyway, and he said he is Vincent. He asks my name, and reintroduces himself again, catches his tumble and fakes a save: “But we’ve been over that already.” I like Vincent. Vincent is awkward. I am awkward. So naturally, I forget Nancy’s advice and begin imagining our lives together.
Our conversation flows from bikes to birthdays (mine is next week) to birthday parties. I tell about how I prefer to be away from my company in a corner — too much going on, I say. What’s worse, he adds, is when they give you all the presents and make you open them up one by one, and you have to fake excitement at the bottle of cheap vodka someone bought.
I took heed of Nancy’s advice and imagined too what it would be like to be in traumatizing love with Vincent. He’s got a giant nose-cowbell (is what I call it). That might get in the way of kisses. He takes off his hat a few times to push back the sweaty hat hair underneath. If hat hair is the worst Vincent has for me, our impending breakup would only be a minor trauma.
I left the shop forgetting to ask if he went by Vince. Vincent is a long, regal name, almost too regal for a bike shop. Hey Vincent, wouldya take a look at this tire tread for me? Doesn’t have the same ring to it as Vince would.
I just pulled the last petal. He likes me. He told me his hours, so we have a date Saturday. That means I’m taking in my bike to see him. That’s the date.