I joined a hiking club. I joined a photography club. I joined a dinner club, but dropped out (see here for obvious reason). I joined a martini club (who even knew they existed?). I joined a club for singles to rant about their exes (I was done after thirty minutes). I did not join a club that was for singles looking to meet other singles by joining a club.
By Friday night, I was finished, except for the photography and the martini clubs. And that’s how Tina found me, sipping an elderflower martini and examining digital images.
“I’m staying in.”
She gave me her stare. It’s a combination glare-stare and I’ve never seen anyone not cave under it, which might explain why all of her exes have broken up with her via text or phone.
She hands me a Macy’s bag. I glance inside and see black silk. “What’s this?”
“Your dress. Put it on and let’s go.”
“Thanks, but I don’t need a dress.” Glare-stare. I go to my bedroom and don the black sheath that makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn even if I in no way resemble her.
Tina nods and we’re off.
The temperatures, which had first hinted of impending autumn have reverted to summer. Humid, hot summer. We walk into the touristy section of town, where we were the night I first met Dominic. That’s a detail I would rather not think about so I focus on the leaves crackling underfoot, the ubiquitous aroma of frying foods, the drunken, delighted laughter reverberating off the bricks of the centuries old houses.
We’re about to enter Remington’s when I think I see Dominic leaning on a black sedan about a block away. He looks up as Tina grabs my hand and pulls me through the door. Now I completely understand why people say it feels like your heart’s in your throat because there’s really no other way to describe the thickness that gathers there when you see someone you’ve cared about.
Somehow (glare-stare?) Tina has convinced Lucy, who rarely ever goes out on Friday nights anymore, to join us and we sit at a four-top near the bar. We order drinks.
I fidget. Was that him? my heart keeps asking. My brain says: shut-up. Heart: what if that was him and when I leave here, he’s there, waiting for me, because he’s just a boy asking a girl…to forgive him. Sigh. Brain: you are never, ever, getting back together with him.
We order appetizers, get some more drinks. We all take a turn at karaoke and then do a song together: Manic Monday. We laugh until tears stream down our faces, hopefully not the mascara as well. Then it’s done. We’ve survived another Friday night as singles in a town where mostly couples live.
We fall onto the street, not quite literally. The warm breeze feels delicious. At some point, I had forgotten about Dominic until we start walking, still giggling.
I look up at a guy with dimples talking to a blonde wearing too much make-up, a skirt that maybe shouldn’t call itself a skirt (tube top comes to mind), and for just a moment, looking at him, I think: cutie. His brandy brown eyes meet mine, keep mine, and I stand, wobbly, just looking at him, smiling at him like he’s chocolate cake.
Tina and brain say: “Let’s go.”
Heart: “Don’t you want me, baby? Don’t you want me, oh?”
He turns away from the blonde and my semi-inebriated heart propels me forward until I am entwined around him.
I hear the blonde say: “Crap, another one bites the dust.”
Just like chocolate cake, Dominic always tastes good.