Maybe I shouldn’t have had wine. Or maybe I shouldn’t have let him pay for my dinner. Maybe I should just never have dinner with boys at all. I definitely shouldn’t have gone up to see his place. But I just keep hoping that girls can be friends with boys and that I don’t have to play defense all the time.
He’s a friend of Prince Charming, but tonight he’s not saying his name. Only five months ago he stood there and told me he was sure we’d end up together-- that Prince Charming wasn’t ready now, but that it would work out.
“I don’t think you’re right,” I told him. “And I can’t just wait around for him.”
He spent dinner laughing at me, but now he’s sitting too close. I had mentioned my boy in Brooklyn, dropping “we” whenever I could. It seems so wrong that he’s touching my hair. I don’t like this anymore.
He leans in. I turn my cheek-- a kiss-dodge in the truest sense. I know something now. I wait a few minutes, make some excuses, hug him goodbye when he insists.
On the sidewalk, I try to catch my breath. Why do I let this happen? I feel tears behind my eyes, but hold them back and walk. I think about walking home. I don’t want to go home. I know it. I clutch my phone, send a text:
“At 59th street, trying to decide what train to take.”
I know it’s needy before I press send. But that’s what I am right now.
It’s late, but not too late. And I find what I need on a stoop in Brooklyn.