You message her back that you’d love to meet up. She suggests a place you’ve never heard of, but you ask if she’d mind going to a restaurant you know. You choose it because you can walk to it (you can’t drive), because it has relatively bright lighting inside (dim lighting is nearly impossible for you to see in), because you know the menu (you can’t read menus, the fine print impossible for your failing eyes to make out). You don’t explain any of this to her, but she agrees to try your place.
On the evening of your date, you try on six different dresses before you settle on one that will definitely hide any armpit stains from nerves and working up a bit of a sweat in the half-mile walk to the restaurant.
You leave forty minutes early. This guarantees that you’ll be there at least twenty minutes before the girl, so she has to find you, not the other way around. Although you’ve zoomed in on her pictures on your computer, you have trouble recognizing faces in person. Unless someone is nearly pressing their nose to yours, you can only make a vague guess at their identity.
When you arrive, though, the front door of the restaurant is locked. You pull at the handle again, then noticed the sign. You take a picture of it with your phone so you can blow up the words and read them. “Closed For a Private Party.”
Shit. You can’t believe you didn’t check ahead of time.
You can’t contact the girl over the messaging service on your phone, because, unlike on the computer, the app won’t support text-to-speech or zooming in.
With your certain and safe plan gone, you feel a paralyzing swell of anxiety. You feel like your body is waiting for instructions from you to take each breath, to thrum out each heartbeat.