The clammy feeling between my fingers began to spread to the middle of my palms. Diabetes was common in my bloodline, but I had a notion this was not the particular cause of my current shakiness grappling my body, the experience of an uncommon and uncontrollable nervousness exciting my bones. The physical response of my body however did not mirror my state of mind. I was, to be honest, extraordinarily scared of what this ordeal could become. I could feel every palpitation of my heart beat, as the sound of a bass drum engulfed my ears, steadily rising in tempo with each short breath I inhaled.
I needed a moment to myself, to drown out the rising hysteria in my throat, so I closed my eyes and did what my mother taught me to do. I imagined all the birthmarks along my body, and instinctively connected the dots. As a child my mother would call me her sky, and I would pretend I had great stories written across my skin as constellations, holding every galaxy possible within my fragile soul. The stories she would make up about each new picture we found on my freckled body had been her attempt at planting a seed of faith within my ribcage.
The nostalgia of the memory brought me back to reality as I opened my eyes not realizing how odd I must have looked sitting alone across an empty chair in an unfamiliar restaurant with eyes shut and my head slightly bowed. I played a different game of connecting points of line as I scanned the room right and left, momentarily locking looks with others. To my relief none took notice to my eccentric behavior. A sigh of comfort passed between my lips as I noticed the waiter walking hesitantly towards me.
“I didn’t want to disturb you from your prayer, so I had your guest wait.. but if you are ready now, I can seat—”
“Excuse me, what did you just say?” I asked abruptly, trying with all physical force possible to suppress the rage of laughter that was triumphing my anxiety.
The young man, looked very embarrassed. I had a bad habit of making people feel unnaturally uncomfortable. I didn’t mean to sound rude or mockingly, but it sort of blurted from my lips before I could catch my breath and suck the words back in my stomach. My uncanny knack of speaking before thinking would get me in trouble some day — I had to remember this as I composed my face back into a kinder mold. It was just very, ironic.. I hadn’t spoken to God since my 16th birthday.
Smiling away my impoliteness I addressed the waiter again with a whim of laughter hidden amongst my voice, “I’m sorry, it’s my stomach talking, I swear! And yes, please, do bring my guest. That would be lovely of you.”
He walked away briskly, and I knew the moment of truth would arrive quickly with him. My nerves began to return with the idea of actually letting my mother set me up on a blind date. Just the thought of it.. why, why had I agreed to this again? No time to argue with myself, as I saw the waiter return towards me with a brunette walking steps behind him.
“Your seat, dear. Your server will be right with you two to take your order momentarily.”
Before I could get the hi off my breath, I noticed with surprise the necklace she had decorated herself with. A simple silver chain, with the fish cross as the charm dangling upon her neck like it was Jesus himself hanging on the cross.
A disappointing sigh escaped like a prisoner between my lips, “You are exactly the type of person my mother would set me up with.”
Again, I had given into to my natural ability of saying inappropriate things to people I hardly knew. I had to also remember to work on first impressions, as I smiled at the end of my statement to make it seem much more friendlier than I intended it to be.
She laughed lightly for a moment — her smile connecting with the wrinkles of her eyes. I couldn’t tell from her expression if she was offended or amused, and I partially didn’t care. The ring of her laughter was like church bells, predictable, always sounding at the strike of a new hour. Hopefully, this lunch date would pass fast.
She then extended her hand for mine, as an introduction, as a different persona overtook her voice.
“Don’t let my appearance deceive you, I am much more efficient at nailing people than the Romans.”