The first date

The white-hot chocolate seems bland. It’s mixed with cups of sugar but my tongue can’t seem to hold onto the taste.

The cup is warm, and I wrap my fingers around it to take away the coldness of winter.

Part of me is wishing I didn’t come, but that other part of me, the curious one is glad I did.

He’s sitting across from me and I feel anxious, like my heart is about to deflate in my chest. He’s nice and calm but nervous. He sits in an angle and he drinks his hot chocolate within seconds, while it takes me forever to finish mine. When I’m half way done, I start peeling the paper wrapped around the cup to divert my attention from the thoughts erupting in my brain like a volcano to the paper dissolving in my hands.

I keep my eyes down while he keeps on tapping his foot.

“Give me three good reasons why I should marry you?” I ask him, not because I wanna know but because I wanna see his reaction. He’s taken back like an interviewee does when an unexpected question is asked.

“Just one.” He says. “I’ll keep you happy.”

The answer brings a smile to my face but I hide it. He doesn’t need to know how I feel. I want him to back out. I want him to say things won’t work out between us because I can’t seem to say it. Because I feel like I’m developing feelings for him, and I hate that. I can’t be distracted. I have so much to do. So much to conquer. How can I let a guy side track me like that. How can I get into a relationship when I’m so focused on getting myself out there.

“I’m not ready yet,” I say to him sneaking a look into his eyes. He blinks but smiles and that smile melts my heart. Butterflies in my stomach twirl like a tornado. In his eyes I see confusion mixed with doubt. I wonder what he saw in my eyes. Probably an egotistical girl who has no idea what she wants from life. Or maybe a stupid indecisive girl.

“That’s ok.” He says, and I see a glint in his eyes that I can’t make out. He’s not mad or angry. He’s as calm as an ocean on a bright sunny day. And for some reason that gets me mad. How can he be so calm when I’m over here fighting a war I can’t win in my head. What was I expecting him to say? Maybe some romantic Bollywood dialogue? Saying how he can’t live without me. Maybe a curse? Maybe manipulation? Something besides that calm smile.

It’s weird how some people come into our life and change our entire direction. He changed my whole journey. And he didn’t even know.

I don’t know what it was about him that pulled me closer to him. Maybe in his presence I felt calm and human. I felt safe and for an anxious person that’s heaven..

“I should leave.” I rise to my feet, and pull out my charger from the wall next to the table. I say this because it’s getting late and if I stay longer I’ll change my mind.

“Yeah. I can drop you off.” He offers as soon as we leave the star bucks. The cold air slams into my face like a wall made of bricks.

I smile and shake my head, “Taking the trains would be easier.” I lie. I dread taking the trains at night. Some don’t work and the ones that do work change their tracks or they stop mid-way. Creepy people, drunkards, and drug addicts, sometimes take over the subways at night- especially on the weekends. But going with him doesn’t seem right either.

His car is parked on the opposite side and I’m surprised he didn’t get a ticket. He said he couldn’t find parking and he didn’t want me to wait so he just parked it. I don’t believe him, but I smile to assure him that I understand his struggle.

I feel guilty. I made him drive for two hours, just so I could say no to him. But he doesn’t seem bothered and that makes me feel a little better.

“Bye.” I wave at him. He smiles and waves back. My heart sinks in my chest as soon as I go underground toward the R train.

I’m so confused that I take the wrong train to Brooklyn instead of Queens. It’s only when I pass DeKalb Avenue that I realize I’m on the wrong train.

I curse myself out and regret coming here to meet him.
I’m frustrated with school and my manuscript and work that I feel trapped. Like I’m suffocating. What does my future hold for me? Where am I headed? This is not what I had in mind when I left high school. It was to graduate college in four years. Get into med school. Start working. Buy a house and a car. Easy peasy lemon squeasy. Except the fact that I didn’t want to study medicine and it took me forever to graduate because I was side tracked.

Tears slowly start cascading down my cheek. I sit down on the bench as soon as I get out of the train and try to figure out why I’m hurt. Why is my chest aching like it’s physically wounded. Like I’m having a heart attack. Am I making the right choice? Is this what I want?

Two trains pass by and I blankly watch them. It’s the third train I sit on or maybe the fourth. Everything was a blur that I wasn’t sure what I was doing.

This was a choice I had made and now I had to live with the consequences.

I went home with red cheeks and an attitude my mom and siblings couldn’t understand. I cried myself to sleep that day.

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