I put my suit on this morning and looked at myself in the mirror before I left for the corporate grind. “God I haven’t slept in days.” I think to myself as I tug on the rings around my eyes might have suggested years now. I hated everything about myself. I absolutely detested myself. I was a suit monkey and my job at bullshit inc was killing me one minute at a time. my apartment was a reflection of how pathetic I was. All my furniture was used like a junkie whore. Everything was dark and dingy. I could barely stand to look at myself and it. The mirror might have been the ugliest thing I owned because of how truthful it was.

My wife left me about a year ago now. I don’t blame her. I would leave me too. Trust me I’ve tried. I just don’t have the balls to be that cowardly. She couldn’t stand how weak I got. I think I was alwAys like this she just didn’t see it until she met her new boyfriend at work and saw what a real man looks like, acts like, taste like. I’m not sure if I ever loved her or if I was just grateful someone loved me.

This suit is a boring shade of grey so dull it insults the color by mere comparison. It was three sizes to big. The fabric hung off of me like meat from a carcass picked by vultures. My shirt should have been white but I haven’t washed it to the point that one might think my shirt has jaundice because of my alcoholism. My finger were just as yellow. I picked up smoking again after she left. I hate smoking but each time my lungs fill with the tobacco I die a little and I love it.



Chapter 4: The date.
I was so nervous when I went to go pick gretchen up from her apartment. So many thoughts ran through my mind. Would her roommates like me? Would they think down on me for being so young? Maybe I didn’t have enough tattoos for them. Then again, they were the least of my worries. What if gretchen hated my stupid hair? Could she guess I didn’t know what to wear? I just really wanted her to like me.

I pulled up to her street and almost kept driving. I was sweating bullets and my heart might as well have been a super charged fuel injected racing engine. And then I felt this jolt go through my body, bringing me back to life and grounding me to the fact that I was the luckiest guy in the world at that moment. I was going out on a date with gretchen [Latin last name].

Her roommates were friendly but seemed almost uninterested as if they were 3 snooty cats. She was so excited. Honestly I don’t know what it was, maybe it was the way she came into the room or the way she smiled at me,but her smile gave me a sense of accomplishment. She looked amazing and simple. A black band tee and tight, hip hugging purple jeans with glossy black pocka-dot pumps. Amazing.

We said our goodbyes to her ever dismissive roommates. I told them “I’ll have her back before 10!” They didn’t laugh. On the plus side she chuckled and pulled me out the door. I’m sure it was so I didn’t make a bigger fool of myself in front of them or maybe she was just embarrassed. I apologized and she said it was ok. I went to open the car door for her and she kissed me on the cheek. In a mock southern voice as she got into the car she said “my oh my, well aren’t you just the sweetest Georgia peach.” As I walked to the drivers side all I could do was smile. I was too confused for words.

I was driving an ol’ beat to hell and back 94 jeep wrangler. The paint was chipping off, there were cracks in the windshield, the A/C had given out a long time ago, but I loved it. Gretchen was even nice enough to say my jeep had a certain charm about it. We made small talk about our days on our way to a small restaurant I frequented. She told me about her job and how she hated the customers she had dealt with during the day. I knew exactly what she was talking about as a former fast food worker I hated the customers. Truly they are the worst part of any job. Our whole ride there we shared our most personal, annoying, infuriating customer service horror stories.

Its a nice night out. It’s warm with 0 humidity and a nice breeze. Perfect first date weather. We pull up and the parking lot is empty as usual. As we’re walking up to the front door I make sure I’m walking a little bit faster and on the side of the door that has the door handle. I open doors for women of all ages and I’m not sure where I picked up my gentlemanly ways. In life though they’ve always served me well. Again in her mock southern voice “I certainly have a gentlemen accompanying me tonight.” In return I did an English accent “but o’v cor’s miss, o’v cor’s.” It was almost as if everything I said made her laugh, giggle, or smile and to me any of those three are good. I didn’t pull her chair out. That might have been a little to far, but I did wait for her to sit down first before I sat down. The waiter came by and we ordered. I won’t tell you what we each got because its of little relevance and I would rather you not judge my eating habits. I’ll say this much she was a lady in every sense of the word. Hell, she even started off with a light salad.

As the date continued its natural course we got into heavier topics. I know they say you should never talk about politics, religion, or abortion on a first date, but I’ve always been one to not follow social norms. She didn’t want to talk about any of that. She wanted to know more about me. Apparently I was fascinating, articulate and handsome to her, god knows why. We finished our meals and left. I felt too full but not because of the food. It was her. She filled me up. It felt like I was getting a tube jammed down my throat and my stomach pumped.

The whole ride home I was nervous. I wasn’t sure if she would want to have a cliche first date door way kiss or if she would just turn away and say “slow down there, tiger.” I normally drive one handed because driving should be a passive activity, but tonight I was expecting her to reach out for my hand as it rested on the emergency brake. She didn’t and I should have known better. I reached out to grab hers and she said “well, you waited long enough. We don’t live in the 50’s you know.” She smiled and squeezed my hand tighter.

Like I said, tonight was perfect, perfect first date weather. Perfect first kiss weather. Perfect falling in love weather. My kind of weather. The air was charged with electricity and awkwardness and as we pulled up to her house I wanted to just keep driving just so I wouldn’t have to say goodbye to her, to this night, to her holding my hand. I got out and as I walked over to her side to open her door my stomach flipped and flopped like a fish gasping for air and to be honest I’ve never felt like a fish since. Gretchen got out of my jeep so gracefully. It had me even more in awe of her. I held my hand out to help her out and she didn’t let go as we walked up her driveway which felt 1000 miles long and at the same time all too short and small. Her door frame Hung like a canopy of wood, nails, and paint but yearned to be something greater.

“I had a really good time with you tonight.” Why did tonight have to end I thought. Couldn’t it just go on forever? “I think its the best first date I’ve ever had and if I were a different kind of girl you’d be in my bed tonight, but I’m not that kind of girl.” As we stood there playing with each others fingers as we held hands facing each other I leaned in to kiss her goodnight. She leaned up to accept my kiss. Her lips pursed and waiting, but more then anything wanting my lips to meet hers. We kissed. The whole world seemed to go away. The whole world seemed to be more alive, more real, and all that mattered in that moment was her lips, my lips, our hands, that amazing first date.