I used to come here on Wednesdays because the shakes are half-price before 6. I still enjoy the half-price shakes, but I now come because I know you'll be here. You'll take the second booth on the wall with the piece of art that looks like a big blue nose hovering the air and order fried pickles, unless it's occupied. Then you'll sit at the bar and order a martini. You're never alone, but your companions are always women. I don't know you, but I need you.
This scares me.
It's the end of a long week and I decide that some cheese sticks will help make the weekend come faster. I also really like cheese sticks. The place is packed so I'm forced to sit at the bar, which I hate, except there you are with an empty seat next to you, so I slide in and I really should give sitting at the bar less of a hard time.
"Hey," I say. "I know you. I mean, I've seen you here before."
"Yeah, I like this place," you say. "You?"
"I'm usually here on Wednesdays, for the half-price shakes," I say. "Not that I expect you to know who I am."
"Don't be so sure," you say. And you smile.
Your friends went to some concert tonight and my friends went to some hockey game. As we're sitting on the couch watching reruns of Frasier, you say, "I think we should make out instead of watching this. Or, you know, in addition."
I am in complete agreement.
"I don't like the layout," you say, "and the bathrooms are way too small."
"But," I say, "the other rooms are so large, and it's probably one of the few affordable places we've seen so far." I point. "Also, there's a balcony."
"I never cared much for balconies," you say, and we're walking out five minutes later.
When we sign the lease for another more expensive place a week later, I seethe with unexpected and silent resentment. It lasts for the three years we live in that stupid apartment.
"I think it'd be rude of us not to invite my aunts," you say.
"I don't think I want to get married," I say.
"What?" You look up. There is a moment of genuine surprise, but only a moment. "So that's it?" you ask.
I nod. "This was nice," I say. I mean it, even though it sounds sarcastic.
"Yes, thanks," you say. I think you mean it, even though it sounds sarcastic.