Tonight, I grabbed dinner with my friend C from Peru. She and I (the only two people of color in our program) have grown extremely close and too much time has passed since the two of us had had the chance to catch up. So that’s exactly what we did over tapas tonight.
I arrived early (not because I’m punctual but because C is reliably tardy) to the restaurant and the first thing I see is a tall drink of water of a waiter wearing all black. His short, blonde hair and five o’clock shadow shimmer in the light, accentuated by his dark apparel. His sweater and pants hug his body firmly. His jaw could cut rocks in two. And those eyes, a shade of dark green pierces from them. Our eyes meet and there’s that annoying yet persistent little spark inside. Does he feel the same intrigue about me? Time to find out.
I text C.
Me: “Just got here. Aaaaaaaaand there’s a really cute waiter”
C: “En serio!?!?” (Really!?!?)
Me: “Yessss. But I can’t tell whose team he’s on so hurry up!”
C finally arrives and we are seated…on the opposite side of the restaurant where Wally (the mystery waiter) serves, of course. But nothing in life comes easily. Bring on the challenge.
C stretches her neck around the column to get a glimpse of him. “You’re team. Totally. Did you see those pants? Come on,” she affirms.
After our nice dinner and necessary gossip, I have an epiphany. “I’m going to give him my number.” C’s eyebrows jump up and her mouth opens wide with a smile like a kid realizing it’s a snow day.
You see, after experiencing minor heartbreak from being dumped last week, I feel invincible. I feel like a phoenix risen from the ashes; I’ve felt immense sadness and confusion and anguish, and I’ve overcome all of those. That makes this bird fly, hotter than the sun, ready for the next flight; nothing can bring me down, not even the potential rejection from Wally.
Once our bill comes, C rips off a raffle ticket-sized portion of the receipt and hands it to me with the pen. I write my number and sign my name, saying ‘let’s grab a drink sometime.’ Then we hatch our plan – I’m to say, “Hey, so I lost this bet with my friend. And fortunately, that means I must give this to you.” Smooth, right?!?
So, I head ‘to the bathroom’ to execute the plan…and just miss Wally. He’s gone to take care of one of the tables. Panicking, I go the bathroom. I count to 15 and then exit, having gathered myself and ready to take another swing at the operation. But no Wally in sight. Probably in the kitchen.
I mosey to my table and grab my jacket. One last time, C and I agree. She leads the way and I see Wally, sticking out from behind the bar next to three other waiters like a lone yet delicious curly fry in a sea of crinkle-cuts. I wanted to do this, I needed to do this.
And I chicken out.
C and I make it to the lobby and she looks at me and goes, “Dios mio, A! What do you have to lose?! Nada. Go!”
Tail between my legs, I head over to the bar. Wally finally makes eye contact with me. I say the line and Wally responds, “Vat?” in a think-ish European accent of some kind. Caught off guard, I wind up saying the line again and giving him the receipt with my number. Still perplexed, he responds with another “Vat?”
In my head, I’m screaming, “Abort. Abort. Abort. Mission failed, save what you can and leave!” But I try to remain suave. Actually, I don’t exactly remember what happened, just that I got flustered, my palms grew sweaty, and everyone at the bar watched this pathetic interaction. Wally did take the paper though, but I do not know if it’s in his pocket or next to the garnish I didn’t finish at dinner.
Next thing I know, I’m out on Commonwealth with C, laughing at how ‘brave’ I’ve become.
So yeah – I totally gave a stranger my number today. That’s a first. What did you do today?