I’m sipping on a coffee waiting for my date to arrive. Frank. He’s cute. Well, he is in his photos, tall, and rugged looking. We’ve been chatting online for a couple of weeks, some texts and even a phone call. He sounds nice. Really nice. I’m kind of nervous to tell you the truth. Butterflies be damned, I have eagles flying around in my stomach making me nauseous. What if he doesn’t like me? What if he walks in, sees me, turns around and walks right out again without even saying hello?
I look at the time on my phone. 1:47.
We were supposed to meet at 1:30.
A few minutes late doesn’t mean anything, right? I reread our conversations. I like that I can go back and reread conversations like this. It helps. I feel like I can really know him, you know, like some door to his mind has opened up, the one that social filters usually keep tightly shut.
Our text conversation
Him: Wow sexy
Me: Thanks. I think you’re hot
Him: Mmmmm you are making me hard
Me: What? How? I’m not there
Him: Just thinking about you about touching you
Me: So do you want to? Touch me that is
Him: Hell yeah baby
Me: Then why haven’t you asked to meet me?
Him: You want to meet me?
Me: I’m free tomorrow afternoon
Him: You want to come to my place?
Me: I’d rather meet in public
Him: I thought you wanted me to touch you
Me: I want to meet you first – In public
We’ve had this same text conversation almost every night for a couple of weeks, until he finally asked me to meet him, here, at this coffee shop at 1:30pm. I look at the time on my phone again. I remember when you needed a watch, now they are unnecessary. I miss wearing a watch, maybe I can buy one. I mean if Craig pays child support I can. But that’s for the kids not me. I better not, but I miss having a watch. At least I have a phone. Craig wouldn’t buy me a phone, didn’t want the payments. And a phone is better than a watch.
The phone says 1:53.
He’s over 20 minutes late.
Is that OK? Should I leave? Should I stay? What should I do? Should I call him? Text him? Charlie will know.
“Charlie, it’s Sophie.”
“Hey what’s up?”
“Well, can I ask you a question?”
“Of course. Shoot.”
“When a guy is over 20 minutes late for a coffee date does that mean I got stood up?”
“Depends. Traffic, accidents. But baring that, I’d say he forgot.”
“Oh. Should I text him? Call him?”
“Fu** No. He’s the one that’s late, he should be texting or calling you. Call me if he does and let me know what his reason was. Otherwise, sweetie write the loser off and move on to the next. You deserve better than that ass.”
Do I? I am not so sure. I mean he seemed like a really nice guy, we hit it off, I like him and maybe he is just stuck in traffic or in an accident. I get a jolt of fear. What if he’s been in an accident? What if he’s hurt? I should find out.
“No buts. Promise me Sophie that you won’t contact him. Contact another guy, any other guy but don’t contact him. If he had a legitimate reason you can talk about it with him when he contacts you. Otherwise, assume he stood you up and find someone else. He’s not worth the effort.”
He is. He is worth the effort. At least I think he is. I’m here. He isn’t. He didn’t call. Didn’t text. Maybe his phone broke. Or maybe his car broke down. Maybe his phone is dead. Maybe he deleted my number by accident. Or —
“Why don’t you come over and we’ll make everything better with retail therapy.”
I think about getting a watch, briefly. I know I can’t afford it. I mean there is a bit of money in the account, but the kids will probably need something. And what if Craig chooses not to pay child support this month? I don’t think I’ve upset him, but I never know with him.
“Uhm. I can’t, sorry.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I got to get back to the kids. Isabella is babysitting.”
“OK. Tell Isa that I said hi.”
I hang up. Glancing around the coffee shop one more time, not seeing him. I am embarrassed. It’s crazy I know, but I think everyone in here knows I just got stood up. I glance down at the floor. My eyes burn for a minute. Just a minute though. I can do this and I walk out to my car. Tears streaming down my face.
Shannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?