Thursday, March 9, 2017

Archives: Eggplant Parmesan

You’re a bad guy, I wrote. You’re not just a bad guy, you’re one of the worst guys. You look like a good guy and you pretend to be a good guy — you really commit to it. But you’re one of the worst guys.
I don’t usually speak that way and it had taken me a while to say it but I eventually did. The result was a terse back and forth, an accepted invitation to come over and the most awkward encounter.
“I think it’s time for you to go,” he said sitting on the floor of his furniture-less living room, a smirk playing on his face.
“Does it really make you that uncomfortable to be confronted with the truth of who you are, of what you do,” I asked narrowing my eyes and crossing my arms. It was unreal; the situation, the exchange, all of it. That conversation eventually gave way to us lying spent in his bed, his half Jewish, half Latino burly frame covered in only a t-shirt.
“I should go,” I said, gathering my legs beneath me.
“No, no stay,” he caught my ankle.
“No, I’m going to go and maybe do some more emails and you have some thinking to do,” I cast an eye over his belly, the one that he had once used as an excuse for why I was out of his league. Why we shouldn’t date because I was “too beautiful.” I had walked him through our neighborhood after that and calmly explained that I really couldn’t deal with those issues. All I knew was that I liked him, that I would never cheat on him and if one day I woke up and agreed with him, he would be the first to know.
“What are you doing Tuesday night?” he asked as I pulled on my sneakers back in his apartment.
“Don’t make future plans you can’t keep,” I responded, shrugging on my coat.
“I can make dinner, you like eggplant Parmesan?”
“Yes, I do but listen, don’t make plans you won’t keep.” He was standing, hanging freely, his fan whirring nearby. “You can just let this be this if you want. Or you can wait until Tuesday and text me then if you want to make plans. Just don’t make plans you’re not going to go through with.”
“I’ll see you Tuesday after work,” he responded, a child-like grin of his lighting up his face. I allowed myself to smile as he kissed me.
“Ok,” I nodded. “Tuesday.” I turned back to him as I walked out.
“If you change your mind, just text me, it’s cool” I said. “I would rather you tell me than not.”
“Tuesday!” He laughed.
To this day my texts to him are still green, though we live a mere 11 blocks from one another. I never got a chance to sample that eggplant Parmesan.
The worst guys.
** This story first appeared as a Medium post in July 2016**