I stared at the pristine tablecloth, the perfect setting for two, a basket of dinner rolls, and my full glass of wine. I rubbed my arms nervously. Then drummed my fingers nervously on the table. I checked my phone for what had to be the 30th time in the past half hour and tried not to blush when the waiter came to my table again to ask me if I wanted to order.
I guzzled down my glass of Bordeaux seventy-two and motioned for more wine instead. I tried to keep my eyes averted from the waiter who was pretty darn hot, but all that I could think about was that he must think I am so stupid. He probably had a supermodel girlfriend with a size zero figure and a graceful fluidity that could rival royalty.
I, on the other hand, never came to anything like this. When I didn’t have my nose glued to my computer screen, I tended to be working and had no time to waste on prettying myself to be some guys arm candy.
However, for tonight, I had done everything I could to keep my massive mess of red curls tucked under the little diamond-studded headband I bought at Claire’s when I was sixteen that I had found stuffed at the bottom of a box earlier today. I can’t figure out why I chose to wear it, it wasn’t cool when I was sixteen it most certainly wasn’t cool now. I had gone to a fancy store when he told me he wanted to meet for dinner at ll Cielo and bought a dress that the clerk had said made me look stunning. It was so far from what I would normally wear but I had wanted to make a great first impression.
At this moment, I felt like bashing my head against the table. Instead, I looked up at the sky above, at the stars and tried to hold back the tears that threatened to fall. Why, oh God, why had I let Jesse talk me into going out with one of her boyfriend’s flakey, douchey friends. Well, I didn’t know him but from tonight I would say the assumption of him seemed fairly fitting. At least the stars were beautiful tonight. A million things started to jump into my brain all at once and I wished I didn’t have such an active imagination.
What if he saw me through the window and thought I was ugly? What if he brought his friends and they all stood outside laughing at the pathetic chic alone in the fancy restaurant downing her wine? What if he thought I looked stupid in my headband that belongs on a 12-year-old and a light poofy knee-length strapless gown? What if he hated redheads or what if Jesse had been telling him a whole bunch of stories about how much of a dork I was in high school? The waiter came back at least five more times over the course of an hour and a half and I felt like crawling into a dark space and never coming out again.
“Excuse me Madame, but we need the table for someone else now if you’re going to order food you can stay but otherwise… I… I’m sorry.” The hot waiter gave me a look of pity and I tried not to cry.
“It’s okay I will order something but I will take it to go.” I got up and paid him for the drinks giving him a big tip for putting up with me probably a lot longer than he could have then I pointed randomly at the menu and gave him the money for that too after he had finished repeating back to me what I had ordered. It all went in one ear and right out the other. The longer we stood there the more it felt like the whole room was turning in on me, staring and trying not to laugh. I grabbed my coat and weaved carefully through the tables so as not to disturb anyone’s meals. The restaurant was rather nice, there was no reason someone else couldn’t enjoy their night. I passed by a table with a family with their two kids. As I was passing by the little girl’s mouth dropped open, she leaned over to her mother, then whispered rather loudly.
“Mommy, is she a princess?”
I smiled all the way back to the parking lot where I waited for the valet to get my car. The car ride home was happy and I found myself humming along with every tune whether I liked the song or not. When I got home Jesse looked at me and smiled.
“You two hit it off!” She exclaimed happily.
“Nope, he stood me up.”
“What?! I don’t get it… then why are you so happy?”
“Because I had forgotten that I didn’t need anyone else’s validation and a little princess reminded me of that.”