Nine

36, Small Town Bureaucrat

Nine is good looking and asks good questions. He’s got an interesting backstory — he’s ten years in the US via Fiji via India. He’s too young by a decade, but what the hell, right? Plus, so far, he’s head and shoulders over everyone else for online conversation.

We chat for a week and try to make plans, but I have to travel and then, there’s Thanksgiving to reckon with. We finally settle on a date, but I don’t want to meet the day after Thanksgiving to eat pastry. I’m just too sluggish, and I ask if we can reschedule.

He suggests we meet at the dog park the next day. It’s perfect; I’m thrilled and he scores major points for this idea. I take a shower and put on the cute stomping around boots.

The dog and I head to the park. It’s a gorgeous day, bright blue sky, though it’s quite cold. I text Nine when I arrive to tell him where I am. “I’m wearing a purple hat,” I say.

10 minutes later, I get a response. “I just got out of the shower, I can be there by three.”

“Three is not two. This is not what we agreed on,” I think. I take a deep breath before texting him back. “Let’s skip it. I’m going to walk the dog and go home.” I do not offer him a second chance.

I walk the dog once around the park. My phone buzzes in my pocket.

It’s an apology.

I decide not to answer. Not now. Maybe not later, either.

“At least you got something out of this,” I say to the dog. He jumps in the car and I crank the heat.

We both sigh.