She knows he can’t imagine her eating all that.
Blind Date #23 sips a dignified spoonful of butternut squash soup. A freckle of creamed orange remains on his thin lips but she makes no attempt to alert him. Instead, she slices into her filet mignon. Blood leaks out like old nail polish.
Blind Date #23 tries not to stare as she quickly and methodically bisects her meat. She cuts the flesh into perfectly square, bite-sized pieces and one by one pops them into her mouth like a snack enjoyed during a movie. Every now and then she breaks for a sip of red wine (his choice) or a bite of her side dish (pommes aligot). By the time she has finished her meal, he’s only consumed half of his soup and a few bites of his Lobster Cobb Salad (the dinner special).
She smiles sheepishly at him and bats her eyes twice like her neighbor Christine taught her. “I guess I was hungry?” She raises her voice at the end, making the statement a question that requires his assurance.
He laughs and informs her he likes a woman with an appetite. They both know this is not true, and she traces hearts onto the white tablecloth with her finger while he finishes his meal. Programmed muzak falls softly from the speakers above them.
When the waiter offers them dessert, they ask for the check.
Blind Date #23 wants to come up for a drink. He doesn’t say so outright, but when his glossy car purrs up outside her apartment he looks at her expectantly and says, “Well, here we are.” This is the point in the play where the comedic relief runs on stage and declares a joke. This is the point where the audience laughs and everything is okay. She should take the cue, no doubt her fancy fifty-plus meal earns the man at least one kiss and one good laugh, but she doesn’t have the energy. She’d rather stay backstage. If his conversation weren’t so monotonous she’d remain curled up in the passenger seat with the seat warmer on, listening to Miles Davis and enjoying the new car smell. Opening the door takes so much effort.
She forces a smile. Her chapped lips crack. It’s easier to fake an orgasm. “I had a lovely time,” she says. “Goodnight.” And with all her might, she opens the car door.
She takes care not to alert Christine of her presence when entering her apartment. She’s in no mood for Christine’s false chipperness—Mr. Right is out there somewhere! The question is, what if she doesn’t want to find Mr. Right?
The cat is waiting for her, his long, back tail gliding back and forth on the wood floor like a snake. She doesn’t bother to take off her heels as she walks into the kitchen to crack open a tin of cat food. She dumps the wet chunks into the cat’s bowl and throws out the can. She doesn’t recycle. She doesn’t see the point, the homeless man by the dumpster will do it for her.