He picked a table in the wrong room. I’d driven my own car and looked for him first in the old rooms. I loved the old rooms in Mother’s, the ones with the low lights, small cubbies and slanted floors. He picked the bright new room, like a gymnasium or a school cafeteria. It was a disappointment, but I’d survive it.
It was our second date. We met at a bar a few nights before. Each of us had come with someone else. We left with each other. He was a good kisser, and wanted more, but I made him wait. “I don’t do that,” I explained, “on a first date.”
I studied him. He was a little fleshy in the jowls. Otherwise handsome, with bright blue eyes and shocks of blond hair. He wore jeans, a cowboy shirt and cowboy boots.
He studied me. I was a little overweight, but not bad. Not then. I was running, dieting, taking care of myself. And I was tanned, not from salons or laying on the beach, but from a long hike through the mountains, solo. I was proud of myself. I felt strong and capable.
He looked at my feet. I wore jeans and my battered hiking boots, a trophy from 125 miles in the Adirondack Wilderness. “Next time, you’ll have to get rid of those boots,” he said, “and wear some nice pumps.”
I hadn’t finished eating; I’d barely gotten started. I got up and walked out. I had a pair of old pumps in my trunk for emergencies. I hadn’t worn them in years. I took them out and put them on the hood of his pick-up truck and drove away.