Wherever there was an empty space, someone’s put something there.
You have a noodle shop next to a soap store next to a used record slash head shop.
Even the rep theatre we just left seems to have just been dropped there.
How do people live in this?
But like anything, this is my problem, not theirs.
Suddenly we’re there.
“Best Dim Sum Dinner”
Ayesha looks at it a bit sceptically.
“Everyone says they’re the best,” she says, “whom to trust?”
It takes me more than a few seconds to realize that she’s making a joke.
We walk in.
The cashier waves us to a table near the back and another, passing waitress hands us what looks like a scorecard.
I realize now I should have checked this place out before.
However, Ayesha doesn’t seem to mind.
The old ladies seem to know her and I get the feeling this isn’t her first time doing this, which makes me uneasy.
In a way I wish we were both fumbling through this for the first time.
The rain has slackened off by the time we are done and now it’s just a dark, slightly chilly night.
“Want to walk around a bit, just…hang out…?” Ayesha suggests.
“Sure,” I hear myself saying, unsure where to suggest we ‘hang out”.
I hope she doesn’t suggest a club, let alone going dancing.
She looks like she’s a ‘dancer’.
I would suggest that we walk towards her house, but I realize that I don’t even know where she lives.
As well, not exactly the impression I’d want to give, her realizing that I’m walking her home.
Either she’d think I was trying to get rid of her or worse, I assumed that the date would end up at her place.
Stupidly, I really didn’t plan for a ‘third act’ in this date; I thought it’d be the movie, dinner and then I walk her to the subway and we say the usual pleasantries and then the awkward call a couple days later when I call her up and she says she had a great time, but…etc..
That’s what I’m used to, if I ever get this far.
This is new.
“Great,” I hear her saying.
And then she does it.
She takes my hand.
I really don’t do hand holding — or intimacy of any kind, really.
But she’s holding my hand and it is kind of nice and reassuring.
And I trust her.
Which is also a strange and new feeling.
For most of my life, classmates and ‘friends’ were nice to me just so that they could make fun of me later or get something from me.
It’s been a learning experience since I left home.
But her hand feels like a door left open.