The Wrong Date
It was a rainy summer morning. Ophelia was sitting next to a window in a café right in the heart of the city. She ordered her regular – a cup of cappuccino.
She’s sitting there, waiting. She’s nervous. She hasn’t been on a date for months. The rain isn’t helping either – the hour she spent in the bathroom trying to perfect her beach waves was turned into nothing but a waste of time. Oh, and the makeup! Good thing she took that face powder, despite Laura telling her not to. Better rush to the bathroom to fix her face before Matt shows up.
Honestly, Ophelia is really lucky to know the barista and be able to enter the employee bathroom that has infinitely better lighting. Phew, the face looks good. Well, as good as it can with that spot on her forehead. Damn it, why does skin give up on you when you need it to cooperate the most? Anyway, better go back to the table before he shows up.
He’s not here yet. It’s like he hasn’t changed. Ever since he was a child, Matt would be late for absolutely everything. Oh, but he has changed! He’s grown into a real man, all athletic, all handsome. Probably stopped eating dirt too. She hasn’t seen him in 10 years! That is literally a decade, half of her life!
The barista drops a cup. It’s surprising, Stephen’s usually quite graceful. Ooh, must be that girl with the massive hair, whose attention he’s after. She seems like a nice young lady and he definitely deserves to be happy. It’s been around two years since they broke up with Martha. Come on, Steph, it’s time to move on, life doesn’t end with the click-clack of Martha’s heels. Then again, Ophelia herself isn’t the one in a position to give advice. She’s been single for longer than that…
A silhouette rushes past the window, all soaking wet from the deluge outside. Matt must be stuck in traffic because of the rain. He wouldn’t just leave Ophelia waiting for nothing. And it’s just really rude for a guy to be late to a first date, seriously.
The silhouette lights a smoke. Their lungs fill with warm air, relieving them of the discomfort of the drenched coat and the water, that’s still dribbling down their face. The view is such an odd one. You feel awkward seeing how they’re completely soaked and yet, their posture seems relaxed as ever. The silhouette finally walks in leaving a trace of rain behind them. They take off the enormous old fashioned coat and you can see it’s a female. More than that. Ophelia recognises the figure.
‘Susie?’ – she asks timidly.
‘Heavens above! Ophelia!’ – the newcomer responds in surprise.
‘Haven’t seen you for ages, how have you been? Come, take a seat.’
‘Oh my! I’ve been travelling ever since graduation and now decided to come back to where I came from, enroll into a university and finally bring some stability in my life!’ – Susie was sharing her experiences left and right.
Meanwhile Ophelia’s thoughts were focused elsewhere. While her friend was talking about Vietnam, all she could think of was whether the colour of Matt’s hair is still more carrot-like or has it shifted to that of copper.
A quiet pop-ding breaks Susie’s monologue.
‘Oh, Laura’s looking for a flat, it seems?’ – she reacts to the notification.
‘Ah, yes, she’s been talking about it since last year. Maybe she’ll finally do it, who knows?’ – Ophelia answers unbothered.
A red head flashed in the window, followed by a big smile on a bright face.
‘It’s him!’ – Ophelia yells impatiently.
‘Who..? Who is it, Ophi?’ – Susie seemed confused by the sudden storm of emotion and eagerness from her otherwise calm friend.
She leaves her pal and jumps to hug her date immediately.
‘This… This is Matthew, my… my childhood friend. And this is Susan, a neighbour and one of my best friends,’ – she explains.
An awkward silence immediately stands. Susie, giving them time to catch up with what’s going on in each of their lives; Matt, still standing all wet from the rain; and Ophelia, expecting her friend to leave the couple alone.
‘So, how have you been, Ophi? Haven’t told much about yourself, have you?’ – chatterbox Susan tries to scatter the unusual stagnation.
‘Yes, I’ve been doing fine, just finishing my first year of philology studies,’ – she answers briefly, opening her eyes widely and turning her head toward the door, indicating her friend to leave.
‘Philology?!’ – the guy is left in surprise – ‘I never imagined you studying languages!’
He’s never imagined her studying languages? What on Earth? I mean it’s not like she’s been good at that since she was five. Shall we pretend like he didn’t just say that and it’s simply because of him being nervous on a first date? Probably.
Susie finally realises what’s going on and finds the easiest excuse to leave.
‘Oh, here comes Chris, I’ll better…’
‘OPHELIA MARGARET BLUE!’ – a loud voice interrupts – ‘Where on Earth have you been all this time? You still owe me that beer, remember?’
‘Christian!’ – Ophelia is genuinely surprised to see her mate after such a long time. He’s been studying in Sweden for two years now and she hasn’t heard much from him throughout that period.
Oh well, here goes your date, Ophelia. There’s no way she’s prioritising a date over some great time out with friends. Besides, she can always invite him to dinner, right?
‘Shall… we go, Chris? I’m sort of hungry and there’s a really nice diner just a few minutes up the hill,’ – Susie continues on trying to leave Ophi and Matt alone.
‘Yes, yes, yes! Let’s go, guys. We’re all starving, right? There’s no way you’re not famished after that cup of coffee, I already called a taxi,’ – Ophelia makes her priorities clear.
And so they leave for the diner. It’s a nice place, truly. Not a huge space, but beautifully decorated in a very trendy hipster manner. As they walk in, they immediately notice some architects solving important problems on one table, a group of teenagers trying to get each other’s attention with loud jokes and laughter, they sound almost like seagulls and a sole artist with headphones on, sketching. There’s a couple more tables left and while the guys go order the food, Susie and Ophelia finally have a moment for a little chat.
‘Okay, what is going on, mate?’ – Susie is still confused about her friend’s sudden change of mind – ‘Weren’t you asking me to leave just back there? And then you wanted to get out too? Explain, pal.’
‘Basically, we were kind of supposed to go on a date with Matt after all this time of not seeing each other and it was all fine. But then… then Chris showed up and you know, I haven’t seen him in so long, I had to put you guys first…’ – she whispered as if it was the greatest secret.
‘Are… are you certain he was going on a date with you? I mean, maybe I’m mistaken, but I thought he flirted with me back in the car there… I… I’m sorry, maybe I shouldn’t be saying this, but it’s just… Maybe I just misinterpreted something… Sorry,’ – her friend got puzzled once more.
The guys came back. They had the lunch, caught up with one another and the sun was already setting when Matt was the first to leave. So much for the dinner together, eh, Ophelia? That’s round about when she was surprised by Chris’ kind offer for Susan to leave. And all of you, dear readers, know what that means. When a guy puts effort into staying alone with a girl, that usually means he’s into her. Such position was Ophelia left in – came to see one guy, was staying the evening with a different one. Susie was staring at Ophi as if she was asking if she should stay or leave and after getting a reassuring nod from her friend, she left. You may wonder why is it that Ophelia decided to stay with Chris after spending the whole day thinking about Matt. Well, there was something so intriguing about this guy – the way he acted, it was almost entertainment, she was interested in what he was going to do next, in how long has he felt this way.