The Things I’d Tell You If This Weren’t A Date
By Kiley Reid
I’m overly pleased that you were on time, strangely flattered that the hostess knew you were mine, and so nervously happy I sit on my hands.
“No no, a table is perfect. We don’t have to wait for a booth.”
You are downright electric and I can’t wait to find out why. Your laugh that isn’t forced. The way you sigh when I tell you yes, I do eat meat. You remind me of the day in grade school when you learn about a two-point perspective, and practice drawing shooting stars.
I don’t remember what I order because I absolutely love your shoulders.
“I’ve been in Manhattan for four years now. No I haven’t been to the Beer Garden yet.”
If this weren’t a date I’d ask to feel your face the way blind people do in movies. Tonight I’ll think of you but I won’t be able to place freckles and jawlines. If this weren’t the first time we’d eaten together, I’d rest my hands in the crooks of your neck and enjoy that one time when we didn’t know what it was like to kiss each other.
“I like the Union Square Trader Joes better, but yes, the lines are a nightmare.”
I want to believe that everything about you can be summed up in the way you reach out and laugh a, “My bad!” to the waitress, when it was really her fault for bumping into your chair. Yes, I want your charm to be as effortless and natural as it seems, but I also want the one you’re wearing to be your very favorite shirt.
I know I’m asking what your family does for Christmas, and Lake Tahoe really does sound lovely, but what I really want to know is if you dream in color, or if you dream at all. We’re talking about how annoying Facebook can be, but I really want to tell you is that whenever I blow a candle out at night, I feel like someone is watching me. I feel like you’ll understand.
I should stop drinking this wine so fast but I don’t know what to do with my hands. No, I’m not afraid I’ll sleep with you. That’s actually the least of my fears anymore. Sleeping with someone sadly doesn’t make them yours, but fortunately, it always doesn’t make you theirs. My concern is that your eyes are so sweet and so completely here, and I’m afraid that I’ll drunkenly tell you that the song Colorblind reminds me of the number fourteen, and that I don’t remember why.
You pay the check and I smile thank-you. You reach your hands up behind your head, and I don’t want to leave.
I want to touch your knee in this way that is neither sexual nor platonic, and just let you know that you seem miraculously kind. That this is the best first date I’ve ever been on. That I’m so glad I yolo’d and came. And that even if I hate you in a few months for breathing too hard or texting your ex, I won’t hate any of this moment. I don’t think I ever could.
Kiley Reid lives and writes in New York City. You can read more of her work at kileyreid.com