“Listen, I’m picking up dinner tonight. And in return, the two of you are responsible for talking me down off my ledge,” I announced to Joe and Barry as the hostess fetched us at the bar.
“What’s up, darling?” Barry asked before resting his lips on the edge of the glass, taking a long sip of his cosmo and hopping off the barstool. “Ooh, we are so ordering that dish,” he announced as we passed a table loaded up with plates.
“Remember that guy I mentioned to you two weeks ago?” I said as I undid my coat and folded up my scarf.
“Yeah, the one you stopped eating for. How’s that going, by the way? Wait. Twirl,” Joe instructed.
It was Amada. I have no shame. I straightened my wrinkled slacks and twirled.
“Hold on, sister. You look great! I bet you’ve retired your fat jeans and are back in your skinny ones.”
With a girly giggle, I edged into the banquette and tucked my bag down by my feet. Barry read the drink menu. Joe read the dinner menu. I meanwhile took a sip of my water. Some ice slipped in so I chomped it away before returning to my crisis of the moment.
“Here’s the problem. He’s perfect. I can't find a single thing wrong with him. Which got me thinking. What if my flaws don’t match his perfection? What if he sees me and feels nothing? Okay, fine. What I really mean is, what if he sees me and thinks I’m fat?”
There it was. My one and only insecurity. Fucker. I sauntered past a storefront window the other day and purred at myself. My hair looked great, my jeans draped perfectly and my scarf complimented everything. Twenty-fours later and I was convinced the window simply had a strange tilt. The reflection was merely a distorted yet improved version of the real me, or at least the me through my eyes.
Barry gently placed his drink back on the table, took a deep breath and began his response.
“I could kill that Ex of yours for replanting that messed up seed in your head. Really makes my blood boil. But that’s another rant for another time. My honest opinion is if this guy doesn’t find you attractive, well, he’s clearly had a mental break. I’ve known you for what, ten years? Oh. My. God. Has it really been ten years? Remember that first day at Banana when we worked together. I thought you were such a raging bitch! And those godforsaken logo t-shirts I made you perfect fold. No wonder you thought I was a prick.”
“Barry, focus,” I instructed.
“Right. Listen, maybe he’s an epileptic. Something upstairs isn’t right. Wasn’t he in the service? Did he fight in the Gulf War? Maybe that nerve gas made him a little woo-hoo,” Barry said while doing a loopty-loop with his finger at the side of this head.
“I’m not sure if this is you or the cosmo talking but keep going,” I insisted as I ironed out the napkin on my lap. “I’m almost back to thinking I’m hot.”
“Okay, enough,” Joe interrupted. “Paige, just get over it already. Take a look around you. You’ve got most of the women here beat by a mile. Just check out your rack. I’m gay and I still appreciate it. I agree with Barry. This guy’s missing a screw if he sees you the way you see you. And don’t even get me started on how fucked up your version of you really is.” Joe stopped talking long enough to take a sip of his sangria. “Listen, if I ever end up a straight man, and I pray to God I don’t, but if I do? I’m marrying you.”
“Not if I don’t get to her first,” Barry announced as he reached out and placed his hand on top of mine. “I’d be such a great breeder. Our kids would be beautiful. Total head turners. But really now, could you ever imagine me straight? Ugh, I’d have to start dressing for comfort and stop using hair product,” he said, his last words drifting off along with his attention.
“Did you hear about the snow?” Joe asked while layering some roasted veggies atop a toast with goat cheese.
“We’re supposed to get snow?” I excitedly asked.
“No. That Mr. Perfect of yours, his town got 76 inches.”
“This weekend or this season?” I asked with hesitancy.
“Does it matter?” Joe replied before popping a ham coquette in his mouth.
I sat silently, mentally running through my inventory of heeled boots that would never survive one inch of snow, let alone seventy-six. As I peered under the table at my newly acquired pointy-toed, black leather, three inch heel number, Joe spoke.
“Right,” he said, dragging out the vowel for extra oomph. “Now you’re talking about a flaw.”
“God I love you guys. So much better than any therapist I’ve ever sat down with. Seriously, we’re only one course in and, holy crap, even I want to sleep with me.”