Photo – Javier’s Cantena © Guerin Design
Jenna got all dolled up for her dinner date. Little black cocktail dress with a matching bolero jacket, sheer black hose, black heels. She checked her look once more and headed toward the door. Her roommate, Lil, looked up from a magazine, raised one eyebrow. Lil didn’t believe in online dating, wished Jenna luck mockingly. Jenna smirked and let the storm door slam instead of taking care with it. Everything was fine. Until a king-sized wave of nervousness hit her on the way to her car.
Jenna’s legs felt unsound, began to wobble. Her hands shook. They fumbled for the key fob in her purse, they rattled the keys, made it hard to press the button to unlock the doors. What hell, she thought. She looked back toward the house, considered calling the whole thing off. Until movement at the living room window caught her eye. Two slats of the blinds snapped shut where Lil’s eyes had been peering out.
Jenna huffed and got into the car and headed downtown to Javier’s to meet Matt. Matt. She liked the sound, enhanced as it was by degrees, from tepid e-mails to passionate phone conversations to this first hot date. She thought back over the highlights of the wind-up to this moment, and she smiled, thought Matt might be the one. Until she saw the Exit 3 sign and the wave of nervousness returned, complete with beads of sweat.
This is just not worth it, she thought going west on Mockingbird. This is torture, she thought turning onto Cole. Maybe Lil is right, she thought as she pulled up in front of Javier’s. She fumbled for the door handle, got out of her car. A handsome, young valet caught her arm when her knees buckled. Oh, thank you, she said. What a nice lad, she thought. Until she heard him mumble to one of the other valets, something derogatory about her.
Jenna huffed and clipped up the steps and through the front door. The maître d’ acted charmed at the sight of her, like he acts at the sight of anyone with money, and he led her into the dining room. Her eyes flashed across the room looking for one man sitting opposite an empty chair. And there he was, considerably heavier than he was in his picture online. But no matter, she thought, considering how lithe their connection. No matter at all.
The maître d’ led Jenna to the table and Matt stood to greet her. Their eyes met, excited and joyful. Their exchange of pleasantries was fiery and sweet. Without breaking his gaze, Matt moved around the table to stand before Jenna and offer her his hand. She took it and felt its warmth race to her heart. She hadn’t been wrong about him. He is the one, she thought. Until he helped her off with her jacket and his eyes locked onto the sword tattoo on her left shoulder. Then everything changed.
Matt’s eyeful of excitement and joy deadened during the cocktail. And by the appetizer, the passion in his voice had flattened out to the thinnest sound of tolerance, at best. Just one more offense, Jenna thought, and he would flee from their table as fast as his meaty legs could go. Funny, she thought. Funnier still, was her forgetting how objectionable tattoos are to some people. She’d had hers for so long. Her circle of friends and clients had them. She hadn’t even thought to mention it to Matt. She began to laugh until tears rolled down her face, and that did it.
Matt told her he was sorry, that he couldn’t continue. He signaled the waiter and paid the check. Then he escorted her to the entry, her eyes still streaming down tears of laughter, of disbelief, of hurt and rejection, of the absurdity of it all. But there were no tears of loss or regret or shame. To each, his own, she whispered when he said good-bye. She watched his meaty legs carry him away, his Armani suit pants binding around them as he hurried down the steps to the valet stand. And she thought if she were crazy enough to continue with online dating, she would add to her profile, “I have tattoos: one where the sun shines, two where it doesn’t.”
Jordin Sparks’ “Tattoo.” Fiery and sweet.
Missalister’s “Where the sun shines,” copyright © 2009, was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#180 – Tattoo” Click here for more on prompt #180 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.