“I think they’re you.” He charmed.
I laughed. “Um. No. Don’t think so.” I put the pink spiked heels back on their platform. “Think I need something a little less ‘fairy godmother.”
“Too bad.” He sighed, dramatically. “A man can never find a good fairy godmother when he needs one.”
I laughed and moved to the Birkenstocks. “Maybe these are more the travel shoe I’m searching for.”
“No.” He shook his head back and forth dramatically. “They’ll never do. You’ll never meet a prince wearing those.”
I laughed. “What do you recommend for the perfect meet-my-prince-travel-shoe?”
He shifted his shopping bags to the other hand as he accepted the challenge with raised eyebrows. “Follow me.” He started a slow walk through the shoe department. He hesitated in front of a classy pair of brown pumps, before he settled on a pair of sturdy black shoes with a bit of heel, not too much toe and just the right strap.
Man. He was right. “These are awesome.” I mumbled as I picked up a shoe to view the price. Two hundred and fifty dollars? What? I dropped the overpriced leather on its resting place. “They’re not me.”
“Try them on.” He suggested. “They might grow on you.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.” I pouted, backing away. “Hey. Thanks for the help.”
“How could you walk away from the perfect shoe?” He mocked.
Exactly. I only had a few minutes to escape before those shoes would own me forever. I had to run. “I wasn’t really shopping, only wishing.” I said, backing away. Don’t look at the shoes. Holly. DON’T LOOK AT THE SHOES. “Thanks for your help. Bye.”
He called to me. “Hey. Wait a minute… Let me buy them for you.”
I stopped. Was he trying to trick me into buying shoes I couldn’t afford? Was he working for the shoe company? For the shoe store? Hmmm.
Wait. Did he say he would buy the shoes? As in pay for them? Hmmm. Should I? Should I? Um. Um. No. Um? No. “No thanks.” I smiled. “But thanks for the thought.” I turned away.
“Can I buy you a drink, or an ice-cream, or lunch?” He asked. “Right now. Here. At the mall. You’re done shoe wishing, aren’t you?”
I laughed. “No. Thanks. I need to go.”
“You would make me eat lunch alone? After I helped you find the perfect shoe? Are you sure you can’t eat SOMETHING?”
I laughed. Should I? I was hungry. Ok. “I’d love some lunch.”
We sat down in a little café outside and he snapped his fingers for the waitress. “I hate this place.” He grumbled. “The service’s awful.”
Hey. Where was his playful, fun side? “Should we go somewhere else?”
“No. They should improve their service. I’ve had the worst day.” He moaned.
“Well. Maybe it’ll get better after you’ve eaten something.”
“No.” He laughed. “X-wives don’t ever go away. They keep digging and digging at you.”
Oh. I smiled. He was one of THOSE. The kind of man who sits down at a table with a woman and automatically thinks it’s a therapy session. It was my own fault. I wasn’t particularly interested. Only hungry. Never eat with a man when you’re hungry. Go for the conversation. Eat at home.
“And my kids. They’re all growing up to be just like her.” He moaned.
“Funny how that works.” I yawned.
We hadn’t ordered yet. We hadn’t ordered yet. I could leave. Didn’t I have an appointment? How could I leave? I needed to go home and wash my kitchen floor. I know. This was drastic. I wished Cheryl were here. She would call him awful to his face and march off. I’m not that good. Why wasn’t I that good?
“I think I’ll take the afternoon off so we can get to know each other.” He smiled.
I laughed as all the blood in my body dropped down to my feet. Was he going to follow me to my car? I wasn’t hungry anymore. We hadn’t ordered yet.
“Is something wrong?” He asked.
(YES. SOMETHING IS WRONG. YOU ARE AWFUL.) “It must be my medicine.” I lied. “Have I mentioned that I’m epileptic?”
His head started shaking. His body went through a series of small convulsions. His eyes rolled back in his head. At first I thought that he was making fun of epileptics. Wouldn’t that be rude?
Then I worried that HE was having a seizure. You know. Some weird syndrome where you mention the word epilepsy and the person who hears that word starts seizing. How would I ever forgive myself?
Um. No. It was neither one. He was simply registering disgust. Oh. Good. We were on the same page.
He cleared his throat. “No. You failed to mention epilepsy. But. I’m not surprised. I bet you always save that bit of information for last, don’t you”
I sat smugly. I know. No comment was necessary.
He slammed his hand on the table. “What should I do if you lost consciousness, right here, right now?”
I know. I know. I NEVER lose consciousness with my seizures. I NEVER lose awareness since I only have partial seizures that give me visual hallucinations that last less than a second. “If I lose consciousness,” I said intensely. “CALL 911.” Hey. I would do the same for him. Wouldn’t you?
“Great.” He slammed his hand on the table again. “Just great.”
I smiled. “Maybe I should go?”
“Maybe you should.” He grouched.
You have never seen a woman flee faster. Really. I zoomed out of there at absolutely top speed. But. I couldn’t hide that big hop in my step as I quickly zigzagged my way to my comfortable single-dom.
Oh. How the dating game would change now that I’d found my escape hatch.
Over the next weeks I would perfect this game of Seizure Dating into a science. When I wanted a quick exit from a lunch date, I would slightly exaggerate a few parts of my syndrome….
“My neurologist says that it will NEVER go away, but that’s ok. You’ll get used to it. Everyone in my life has to get used to it.”
“But don’t worry. It isn’t catching. At least they don’t think it is. I mean. There isn’t any research, to date, that SAYS you can get epilepsy by simply having LUNCH with me.”
“And. I won’t gain too much weight if I don’t eat desserts. Man. I love desserts, don’t you?”
“And my medicine does regulate the seizures… as long as I remember to take it. Otherwise…. Otherwise… oh. Never mind about that. We can talk about that later.”
If I find myself enjoying a first date, the epilepsy isn’t mentioned. Because. Really. It’s only a part of my life. And. The side effects of the medicine are a much bigger issue than the seizures. The medicine controls them.
Hey. In the world where men can be clingy on a first date, watch out. Holly’s got a new secret weapon.