Monday, February 8, 2016

Second Date

                The light snow brushed easily from the edges of David’s boots. He clomped his feet on the floor to shake off the excess as he unbuttoned his coat. He took his hat off and hung it on a coat hook next to the front door. He put his coat over his hat and then his scarf over the coat. He rubbed his hands together as he stepped from the foyer into the hallway that led to the living room.

                “Make yourself at home,” said Mary from the back of the house, “I’ll just be a minute.”
                “Okay,” said David.

                 David stepped through the living room, around the white couch, the glass coffee table, over the zebra rug towards a bookcase filled with a few books and a lot of photos. There were framed pictures of Mary and her various friends from around the world. A picture of her on an elephant, a camel, petting a tiger, hugging a small Indian girl, playing a flute as a cobra danced out of a basket, jumping up on the Great Wall of China, sky diving, hugging some famous basketball player, hugging some Asian children, hugging some other people in front of the Kremlin. There were lots of hugging pictures.

                “If you want some wine or anything there’s some on the kitchen counter. I opened a bottle while I was getting ready and I just never got around to having any, so you’re welcome to it,” called Mary again from somewhere in the house.
                “Thanks, I’m okay. I can pour you a glass if you like though,” said David.
                “That would be great! Sorry I’m taking so long. I will be out in a few,” said Mary.
                “No problem, take your time,” said David.

                He walked away from the bookcase and stopped to look at a framed oil painting over the fireplace mantle. It was some really abstract piece that reminded David of the time he spilled paint on the floor of his sister’s room when they were eight and he got in so much trouble for it. Yet, here was a long blue streak of oil paint on a white canvas garnering praise and likely; a hefty sum.  David adjusted his glasses on his nose and turned toward where he assumed the kitchen was.

                The home was very white. It was quite comfortable though. There was an open, airy, feel to the home that Mary had made for herself. There were glass vases with lilies and general glass doo-dads strewn about, but not cluttered. David walked by an impressive dining room table that looked to be an antique. It was old but not out of place in the modern dining room setting.  David could feel the weight of the old table and the contrast with the rest of the sparsely decorated dining room.  It worked through.

                He found the kitchen and saw the marble counter tops, white appliances, cabinets, and other white accents of the room. Even a white country kitchen sink sunk into the white marble counter tops. The island was also white except for a thick pine butcher’s block and the greenish glass of Mary’s opened white wine bottle. David opened the cabinets and found a wine glass. He took one out, then thought about it and took out a second. He figured he might as well have a glass now.

                He poured two glasses of the white wine and took a sip from his glass. He looked around the kitchen toward the smartly appointed breakfast nook complete with the New York Times crossword puzzle open and partially completed, in pen.  David took another sip of wine.  He heard Mary coming down a set of stairs and he quickly checked his reflection in the window overlooking the river. He felt like a chubby middle aged man and he tried to suck in his medium sized, slightly out of shape belly.

                “Thank you so much for being patient with me. I’ve been such a scatter brain today,” said Mary.

                Mary was elegant in her simplicity; a black dress, smart heels, a thin string of pearls around her neck, a cream colored pashmina over her thin shoulders. Her dark hair seemingly casually tussled, but in perfect order.   She entered the kitchen and David handed her the glass of wine.

                “You look incredible,” said David.
                “Oh stop, I just threw all this together,” said Mary as she took a sip and smiled.
                “Don’t be modest, you look great.”

                The awkward silence of a second date settled in. The first date was at a steak house where the conversation never seemed to stop. David was enamored from the start and he couldn’t believe this woman had any interest in him whatsoever. David and Mary met through a dating web site and had started talking when David made an amusing comment about Mary’s enjoyment of County Fairs. He didn’t remember the joke though. It was something inane but hit Mary right in the funny bone.

                “I really like your home,” said David, “it suits you.”
                “How so,” asked Mary.
                “There’s a sophistication tempered by modesty,” said David.
                “That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my place. Usually people just say it’s very white. I mean, not white as in race white but as in the color white. I sound silly don’t I?”
                “I know what you meant,” said David.
                “I didn’t want to sound elitist. Oh my goodness I’m just fumbling,” said Mary.

                David stepped around the island they were both hovering over to be closer to her.
                “You’re doing fine. I know what you meant. I’m quite certain you didn’t mean anything by it. It is white. It’s a white kitchen. But it’s hardly a racist kitchen,” said David.
                “Thank you, I save my racism for the basement,” said Mary.
                “Really, I would have thought the attic,” joked David.
                “Oh no, all my racism goes in the basement in cardboard boxes marked ‘Racist Stuff’. There’s a pile of them near the water heater,” said Mary.
                “Aren’t you afraid it’ll get damaged from the moisture,” asked David.
                “Oh no, that racism is surprisingly durable,” said Mary.

                David laughed.

                “We’re terrible people I think. Making jokes like this on a second date,” said Mary.
                “Well, if we’re going to get along I should probably know where you keep your racism,” said David.
                “I’m not racist you know. I’m only kidding,” said Mary, “And I’m starting to feel guilty for even making such jokes.”
                “Don’t worry. I won’t tell the P.C. police if you won’t,” said David, “but you are a terrible person.”
                Mary playfully punched David in the arm and made an amusing scowl.

                “Well, you’re a terrible audience to encourage me to be such a terrible person,” said Mary.
                “Guilty,” said David.

                The setting sun started to light the kitchen in a golden wintery hue. David squinted a bit at the streaming sunlight.

                “Would you like to move to the living room and have a seat,” asked Mary.
                “That would be lovely,” said David.

                She led the way as David took the bottle of wine from the counter and followed her into the other room.  He hoped they would get so involved in their conversation and enjoying each other they’d never leave. They had a play to attend, but David hoped Mary would be just as happy to skip it as he would.

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