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Posted on June 28, 2015

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I rushed to meet with Green_J, or "Jenn", at Timmies in the food court. I was ten minutes late. As I pushed through the mall, my heart beat faster. I dug my fingernails into my palm. My breath quickened with each step and I licked my lips nervously.

At the food court, I saw a lone brunette sitting at a corner table, bored, trying to pick something out of her back tooth while thumbing through a free daily newspaper. I recognized her from her picture. She looked slightly older and chubbier than her photo, but still kind of cute. She noticed me approaching her. I smiled. She didn't.

"Jenn?" my voice cracked.

"Yes," she folded the newspaper and pushed it aside. I was going to offer her my hand when she interrupted. "I'm going to get a tea. Do you want anything?"

"Please. Coffee, double double," I reached for my wallet but she walked away.

Sitting down, I saw grains of salt scattered on the table and wiped them off with my hand. When she returned with our drinks, we sat in awkward silence for the first little while. She held her tea close to her mouth, as if hiding behind the cup. She seemed sleepy. Her v-neck t-shirt displayed the word Princess spelled out across her chest, and her jeans hung low on her hips. She had just the faintest trace of an accent, something I couldn't put my finger on. "So, what do you want to know?"

"I was hoping I could get to know you better."

"Hmmm," her eyes raked me up and down. "Well, all right then." She began to talk almost endlessly about herself. How she was bi-polar, and how she hated religion, capitalism, and people in general. "All these people make me sick. What do they know," she said.

"You're not happy?" I leaned forward. My right hand suddenly felt hot, and I realized I was holding the coffee she had given me.

"What's there to be happy about?" she said, pivoting left and right on the food court swivel chair.

"I know what's missing," I took a sip of coffee. "You haven't found your soul mate". This wasn't me talking right now. It was the naïve romantic from one of my fake profiles. I (whoever it is I am) hated that cliché term 'soul mate', and I'm pretty sure she did too -- she seemed cynical enough. She just kind of looked away. "Are you a romantic?" I asked her.

"No, I don't believe in that shit."

I drank from my cup, thinking of what to say next. "What do you do for work?" I said.

"Retail," she said. I waited for her to ask me the same question back, but instead she looked down at the floor beside her and went off into a daydream.

Then she started talking more about herself. She said something about her family and friends being the only important things in her life, and that she was sad that they would never know how important they were to her. She said she was thinking of having a baby. She didn't care about having a man, just a baby.

Suddenly she was quiet, and looked at me. "What?" she said. And I was worried that I'd done something wrong.


"You're looking at me weird," she said.

"Sorry. I was just listening."

She leaned back. "You don't go out much, do you?" she said bluntly, as if it was the only way she knew how to be.

I blinked. "No, not much."

Jenn chewed her lip and said nothing for a while. I searched my mind for something to say, but nothing came. I thought of my bedroom, of being in a delirium of nothingness that felt more comfortable than this.

"Dating is overrated," she said with a casual disdain, and I wondered why she was on a dating website in the first place. But at the same time, a wave of relief came over me -- I didn't have to try anymore. My eyes drifted towards the red exit sign by the emergency doors. Of course I'd have to come up with an excuse to leave early, or I could pretend to be sick.

"Well, I have to get going," she said easily and stood up. I sprung to my feet with equal ease. I felt as if a weight had been taken off my shoulders, one I didn't even know I was carrying.

Who was this person? I thought. Was this the flirty Green_J I had chatted with the night before?

"It was nice meeting you," I said.

We nodded to each other goodbye, both knowing we would never see each other again.


Itchie says...

eaton centre? i'm from toronto, too : )

06/28/15, 11:45 PM

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