There we were, once again; looking into each others eyes.
We had been here too many times before. Neither of us saying a word that we really mean – just mutually indulging in meaningless, surface-level chatter.
Well not this time, I thought. This time it would be different.
In moments like this, time seems to stands still. Like the universe was holding its breath.
She fidgets a little, the resulting rhythmic ripple that courses through her luscious hair hypnotizes me. I can’t help but stare. Maybe I should say something?
Shit. It had already been 10 seconds since she said “hey” – and I was just standing here looking at her, locked in my inner fantasy.
Say something. Anything. Just don’t fuck it up.
“Hel-sup”. Fuck. Jesus man. Just pick a word and go with it. Either say “hello” or “sup”, not both. Now you seem like an utter idiot.
‘Hello’? Who says that anymore as an intro? It’s so outdated.
For that matter – who the fuck still says ‘sup’ anymore? That dated phrase needs to die with all the 90’s sitcoms that seemed to favor the horrid overuse of the phrase to seem cool and relevant. It’s such a nightmare of a phrase.
FOCUS. You’re doing it again.
Shit, he’s right. Ok what do I say?
“Hey are you alright?” she says, a slight worried expression on her face.
I smile back at her – she’s concerned about me. This must be a good sign.
“Yes I’m fine thanks. I’ve been waiting for this moment longer than you can imagine. I have something very important to tell you” I bite my lip, trying to look as seductive as possible.
She grins as she says: “finally”.
I take a deep breath. “I want to be honest with you. I want something from you. I know what it is, and I think you know what it is as well”. I turn away shyly to display a coyness which I’ve decided within my delusion is attractive to members of the opposite sex.
She looks at me up and down, and her grin quickly turns into horror. “Oh my God!” she yells. “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave!”
I’m dumbfounded. I look around; all around me people have the same grim look on their face. Have I transgressed some unspoken rule in our relationship? What have I done to deserve this shared hatred and disgust?
“What did I do?”
“Sir. You’ve just come in here and stood at the counter for the last 10 minutes not saying a word. Do you realize that there is a significant line of customers behind you?”
I look behind me, one person pulls the finger. I look back at her, “wow, are you gonna take that? He just flipped you off”.
She rolls her eyes. “Next time could you please work out what you want to eat beforehand and make a prompt order”.
I’m taken aback. “But what about all that we’ve been through? The history, the moments we shared? ‘Just an order’ and that’s it? My heart can’t do that” I say as I gaze mysteriously off into the distance, lost in another fantasy. Out of nowhere a fan starts blowing, and I just stand there looking handsomely windswept and carelessly interesting.
She groans. “You come here every Saturday to buy a burger from me specifically. Everyone knows you’ve had a crush on me since you started coming here a few months ago. It started out funny, but now it’s getting really embarrassing. Especially when you pace outside the store waiting for me to start my shift.” She takes a deep breath, as though slightly regretting being so harsh with me, but she stands firm by her decision.
“You’re just saying that, Mary. I know you feel the same way about me” I say with a hurt, but triumphant smile.
She puts her head in her hands – a sign of frustration? Or a sign of her yearning for me. We’ll never know.
“For fuck’s sake – I told you the last 3 times: MY. NAME. IS. JENNIFER. I DO NOT LIKE YOU. I don’t even know you. I literally see you every Saturday when you come to get your burger, that’s it. Why do I have to do this every Saturday.”
“It’s just what couples do, Mary. Just let it be – it is what it is” I reply.
She shrieks in suppressed passion for me, and storms off back into the kitchen.
A big burly man emerges, a kind but bored look on his face “alright mate that’s enough for this week, we’ll see you next Saturday. Wear pants next time please – hide THAT as you leave”. He points generally to my crotch area.
I look down – I have indeed forgotten to wear pants and underwear on this particular outing.
No matter, I tend to forget things. The doctor says it’s a part of the package that I have.
It’s all part of the delusional fantasy I constantly find myself caught up in.
I exit the burger joint and make my way along the street as the evening wind gently brushes against my bare crotch and dangling member. As I walk, I think about the emotions that Mary and I shared just then on our latest date, and think ahead to the next one.
Always on the same day, at the same time – Saturday’s at the Burger Joint.
I look up to the sky and swear that I catch Cupid winking at me. I wink back.