Story A Day for May, Day 19


My Last Date

Listen. It’s not like this is the first date we’ve ever had, right, Wittgy? Right, Wolfie? I mean, sure, I haven’t had a date in ages and ages, not since either of you came to live with me, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never dated. I’ve had loads of dates! Simply loads. As in lots.

Of course, that was back in the day.

Last date I had, when was that? Was that the time Carl and I hit up the Dylan concert? That wasn’t really a date. More like a shared interest. We were what my students would call “mutuals” in the same fandom. Big fans. We both stan Dylan.

I still stan Dylan. (Am I saying this right?) But I stand Dylan Thomas more:

“My hero bares my side and sees his heart
Tread, like a naked Venus”

Oh, dear. Not the best poem to quote while preparing for a first date, eh, guys? Especially a date with a woman who calls me “ballsy.”

But why not? Why not dare, no matter what the age?

My last date. I think my last date was with Caroline. Oh, I never told you about Caroline, did I? She was sweet. I wanted it to work out with her. If it had, you’d have two humans to dote over you, boys, give you treats and walks and fill your supper dishes.

But it is just me. We never moved past dating. Our last date–oh! This is why I hesitate. Because of our last date. Yes, talk about disaster.

One really shouldn’t break up on a date. Save it for a quiet conversation. “Meet me at the park. We need to talk.”

But we broke things off at our date. My last date.

I had been so hyped. Rocky Horror Picture Show. We dressed for it. Oh, so many of my students were there! This was back in the city. I was younger–oh, yes. I was, even though not so young, known as the “hip professor.” Ha! Yes. Me. It’s true.

And so, I was ready to sing along with the chorus. “Let’s do the Time Warp again!”

I had a blast. But Caroline. She didn’t really get into it. We’d been before. This was, like, our third time? But this time, she didn’t stan it. (I still don’t know if I’m saying it right.)

I thought perhaps she was nervous because of my students. She kept her seat when I was up front dancing before the screen.

When we left the theater, she said, “I’m taking the job.”

“What job?”

“You know. The corporate one.”

“With Exxon Mobile?”

She sold out. Just like that.

“It’s a good job. It will make my career.”

“Career with the devil.”  Was I wrong? Should I have listened, considered her side?

“I can make a difference there,” she said.

“Yes, but the position is in PR. You’ll just be making excuses.”

“I need to take it.”

We didn’t fight. We went silent. Both of us. I could feel her thoughts running along, counter to mine. I could make up all her arguments, as she could mine.

We walked in the buzzing silence along the wharf, stopping at last, under the moon. We rested our arms on the wooden rail, looked out at the minnows, circling in the lamplight. Something scurried behind us–a wharf rat.

“I can’t keep this up,” she said. “There will be so much traveling.”

But I knew, she couldn’t keep up this life. She had to hide, if she were to make it in corporate.

And was that really my last date?

I think it was. I grew older. I got the both of you. I decided that love was a butterfly–oh, so foolish. And I’d let it flit through my garden life. And now, the butterfly has landed on a cosmos flower, just as the petals are fading to lilac.

What will we talk about? I am out of practice.

She knows your namesake, Wittgy. So perhaps we can discuss the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus? How would that do?

Or I could talk about the two of you. Who can resist the antics of Wittgenstein and Wolfgang, my four-legged lifetime companions?

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Prompt for May 19: “Tell A Story ‘Direct To Camera,” from