Fourth Date

Corvis suspected the date could have gone better.

It was their fourth official date overall. They had done things with groups of people and there were several events where they both showed up and did the “hanging out” thing, so his association with Melody had some time behind it. Up until now, he felt there might even be some roots here from which they could grow a strong relationship.

That thought made him pause. He wondered why, when he thought of relationships, his analogies always involved farming. Being a middle manager at Allus-Smith made him pretty much the farthest thing from a farmer, and the very pathetic looking “lucky bamboo” on his desk sealed the notion should there be any lingering doubt.

Mulling over the evening, he was hard pressed to put a finger on where things took a turn. Dates one through three went nicely. They built on each other as one might prep a field for planting. (There it was again.)

The fourth date seemed polluted with missteps and awkward moments. Maybe they were both off their game a little bit. The conversation seemed forced, the jokes – stale. They ate a quiet dinner and the evening capped with his grand statement about the suffering souls in third world countries and how things wouldn’t be so bad for them if…

He couldn’t recall the exact remark now, but once it left his lips he knew it was bad. Like stepping in something unfortunate, he knew it was not where he wanted to be, but his foot was right in it.

Her recoil to the remark, which he was sure he meant as a joke, was contained, yet her face let slip a certain amount of hurt or discomfort, he couldn’t say which, as if he said something pointed and hurtful at her directly. He learned in date two that she was born and raised, like her entire family, in Muncie and lived there until almost recently. This stint in Chicago was the farthest she had ever been away from home, much less a third-world country.

Dates one through three ended with shy smiles, and “let’s do this again…soon,” sort of phrases. This date ended with thank you, I’m tired, drive safe.

As he pulled away from her building, making a mental note that third-world country jokes were straight off the table, he feared he was being immortalized in her diary as another example of what she did not want her future mister to be. That her impressions of him, certainly unfair at this point, would be added to however many men she made notes about, that when considered collectively would guide how she moved forward into future relationships. That’s what women do right?

If date five happens, if by some miracle he figures out what triggered the chill and she is able to resolve his callous thoughts in her own mind, he resolved to step more carefully. If he can figure out what the error was, he will apologize. Unless bringing it up re-stirs the pot, then he would let it go. Then of course, he runs the risk of not acknowledging the error, cementing the notion that he is an uncaring clod and being definitively and officially marked in her diary as Mr. Wrong.

Storm clouds seemed to come from nowhere and while the promise of rain is good for the seeds of a new relationship, a torrent, a flood will only destroy them.

A scowl crossed his face. What was with the farming thing?

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