When Tricia goes out with boys, they smother her inside (or against) parked cars in parking lots. No matter which way she meets them: at bars, through friends, at work, online; the dates always felt the same. The lavish attention caused her lips to twitch, eyes to wander, mind to freeze. Each interaction linked together into an endless stream of empty romantic moments, and yet she could not stop, not even if she wanted to
Tricia drove herself to the mall on a traffic laden highway that Sunday afternoon for another Internet date. With slumped shoulders and trembling hands Tricia kept one eye on the road and the other on her GPS. After some confusion on where to meet, they found one another in the ladies’ shoe department on the second floor of Macy’s. Paul walked with a little pep in his step, hands shoved into his pockets. His clean-shaven face and buzzed haircut depicted the rigidity of his life as a police officer. He offered Tricia his cheek. She leaned in and gave him a quick peck.
The two were about the same height. Paul had long lashes and deep brown eyes. Kind eyes, Tricia noticed. They spoke about past relationship histories. He was guarded, he mentioned a few negative things regarding the pizza they ate, the people around them. Tricia felt awkward, quiet, far different from her bubbly and flirtatious self. Terse moments and awkward silences aside, he was quite kind to her. He searched stores for a lavender vanilla candle she wanted, asked if she would like him to buy her anything; opened doors. After a couple of hours of talking and strolling, he reached for her hand.
“I’m so glad I met you.” He whispered in her ear before planting a kiss on her cheek.
Tricia smiled. Her cheek began to twitch a bit. She took a deep breath in. Savored a moment with a nice man as they stood in the lobby of Macy’s watching the rain pour down on the parking lot. Paul hugged her close, kissed her and told her she’s pretty. Braving the August rainstorm, he walked her to her car, opened the door, told her to return home safe. She looked out the car window and watched him walk alone in the pouring rain. No jacket, no umbrella. A pang of guilt rose in her gut. She pushed it away.
A few dates later they sat inside of his car in a parking lot. The skirt of her blue maxi dress rolled up as he leaned down to kiss her tanned, long legs, leaving a pool of slobber in his wake. He kissed her neck and apologized; still he didn’t stop. Tricia felt good, too good, too much. He pulled down her tube top so he could see her breasts. Part of her wanted him to stop. He said he’s sorry. She’s so pretty and he can’t help himself. He’s usually a gentleman. This time is different; she is different; he can’t help himself.
Afterwards, the air is tense. There is no dialogue; no art of conversation. Neither knows what to say. She feels awkward and uncomfortable sitting in the car of a stranger. Out of touch with her own feelings; ashamed of what she had done. He told her he wanted a relationship. She wanted one too. This isn’t right. None of it is right. Not with his man. Not with the next.