FIRST DATE • by Dave Macpherson

It’s your first date, and you enter the restaurant all full of jitters. Then, you see her for the first time. There you are. There she is. She greets you with a warm welcoming smile, her hair brushes gently against her shoulders and you gaze into each other’s eyes and damn. Damn. Damn. You know. You know, just by looking at her. That this. This is going, to end badly.

Oh. It’s going to be ugly. There’s going to be more bodies strewn upon the ground then in the last act of Hamlet. It’s Disney Presents: Texas Chainsaw Massacre! On Ice! Oh, it’s going to be ugly.

But not right away. At first it will be perfect. You two will laugh and sing. You will share everything: matches, t-shirts, hopes, desires, saliva, and other bodily fluids. There’s going to be a lot of sharing. Including the dream that you will grow old together. But, it’s going to end. It’s going to be bad.

The phone will ring at all hours of the evening. There will be a three-block radius of broken dishes. Mutual friends will be divided King Solomon style. Ambulance drivers will take bets on who will be called to your apartment next. There’s going to be more ashen, stoney faces than in Pompei. Seven out of the ten Biblical plagues will be unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Frogs. Think frogs. There’s going to be frogs everywhere.

Everyone’s going to drink too much. Everyone’s going to cry all night. Everybody is going to get burned. This is not the fairy tale ending you were looking for. Unless, of course, your fairy godfather is Vlad the Impaler.

But here you are still on your first date without a word yet spoken, and you know what you should say. You should look at her deep in the eyes and say, “Hi. Gotta go. Gotta run. I gotta go home and floss my cat. I gotta shave my head and sell flowers at the airport. I gotta be anywhere. But here.”

But you don’t say that. No. Not you. You stand on the edge of the abyss and say, “Hi. It’s really nice to meet you after all this time. There’s a table open, shall we?”

And so you sit. And you eat. And you laugh. And you wind up holding hands under the table, because you realize that every ending, has to start somewhere.

Dave Macpherson lives in Worcester, MA with his wife Heather and son George.

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