“Something beeped,” she said.
“My watch,” he said. “It’s telling me it’s time to stand up.”
She laughed. The watch blinked. They were naked, lying on her bed. It was a first date. Dinner had gone well. He had picked her up from her office in SoHo and they had walked over to a pizza place on Varik. It was a mild spring evening. “Walking weather,” he’d said.
She found him easy to talk to. She worried she had talked too much and when she said so, he assured her he could listen to her all night. Done with pizza, they walked south on Varik and then on Canal. “Let’s get a drink at Jimmy’s,” he said. “Beautiful night for a rooftop bar.”
She had never been to Jimmy’s before and once there, like a school girl, she walked full circle to take in the vista that was Manhattan. When she returned to the table, the drinks he had ordered were there. Two Manhattans. He was talking to his watch.
“What’s up?” she said, pointing at his wrist.
“Nothing. Just checking the market.”
She thought she saw the watch smirk.
“But tell me more about yourself,” he said.
She didn’t tell him about her abortion last year. She didn’t mention her two miscarriages a decade ago with the guy she thought she loved. She avoided talking about her abusive father and alcoholic mother. “Just a small town girl,” she said. “High school cheerleader. Anthropology major at Oberlin. Eight years ago a friend got me the job at the agency. Been writing copy ever since. And what do you do besides practicing law?”
He didn’t tell her about the six months he spent in prison for insider trading. He didn’t mention his divorce or his twelve-year-old daughter who doesn’t speak to him. That would come later. If there were a later. “I ran track in college and was a pretty good second baseman. I have a cabin up in Connecticut. It’s quiet, secluded. Maybe you’ll see it one day.”
“And maybe I won’t?” she asked.
“It’s our first date,” he said.
Out on the street, they took a selfie with her phone before walking, arm in arm, back to her apartment.
The next morning she showed the photo to a friend at work. “Cute,” the friend said. “Has he called yet?”
“It’s ten o’clock,” she said. “Give him a chance to get settled.”
He called her at three. He said it was a nice evening.
“He used the word ‘simpatico,’” she told her friend. “Is that an automatic disqualification?”
“Give the guy a break. He was being nice,” her friend said. “But if he uses it again, beat him with a stick.”
They made love again that night. This time it was in his apartment on the Upper West Side and she spent the night. The next morning while he was in the shower his watch lit up.
“Get out while the getting is good,” the watch said.
“Yes. Listen to me. This guy is bad news. Leave.”
“Got it,” she said. She dressed hurriedly and left. She didn’t answer when he called later. She ignored his texts and calls until they stopped.
He was perplexed. “Why does this always happen to me?” he said aloud.
holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Spalding University. His fiction has appeared in The Louisville Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Free State Review, Great Ape Journal, and Delmarva Review, among others. His story “Vondelpark” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2017. His story “Yo-Yo Man” was a Fiction Finalist in the 2019 Tiferet Writing Contest.
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