You perch yourself on the wooden edge of the restaurant’s landscaping, trying to look unconcerned and casual. You can feel little splinters snagging the ass of your dress, though, and a bit of yesterday’s rain-damp seeping into your underwear, which is optimistically lacy.
The wait feels so long you think you might have slipped into one of those pocket universes where time passes at one-tenth speed. Your heart is doing an impressive array of nerve-related gymnastic feats which no breathing exercise can quite conquer, and you can feel sweat pooling in all of the most inconvenient crevices. You look down at your phone’s lock screen, because there’s not much else you can do with it. All of the text is too tiny, and blowing it up and reading it word-by-word gives you a headache in minutes. If you had your headphones, you could listen to a podcast about the etymology of the word “muck” or the hidden design decisions behind mailboxes, but you didn’t think to bring them.
Finally, you see a car pull up. Someone gets out, and, as the indistinct form grows nearer, you see it a girl shape, with long hair. She pauses, then heads toward you . This must be the girl. She says your name, and you nod. She gets closer, smiles, and you’re relatively certain that she is very pretty, just like the pictures.
“I’m sorry,” you say, gesturing at the door. “It looks like we’re going to have to find somewhere else to go.”
“Oh,” she says. “No problem. But have you been waiting long? You could have texted me.”