From Sex, Life, & Hannah::Volume 3, Summer Season (CHAPTER 23: WHEN DESTINY CALLS)
It’s 9:35 p.m. I’m supposed to be getting in my car and leaving, to make it home by my and Christian’s agreed-upon time, but instead, I’m in complete emotional trenches. I’m on a really great date with a really great man whom I haven’t figured out how to break up with yet.
I push my chair back. “Where’s the ladies room?”
Phillip stands and rounds the table. I feel his hand on my arm. He guides me in the right direction and I feel his hand brush up my side.
This is the longest we’ve ever gone without breaking out into a heavy make-out session, and I feel the tension as he moves closer to me…but I move away again. I start walking toward the bathroom, wishing I could sprint away from it all.
I push open the bathroom door, slam both hands down on the bathroom counter, and look at myself in the mirror. What are you doing, Hannah? My emotions are playing a tug of war. You’re engaged, in love, confident in your decision to be with Christian—even though, yes, it did all happen very fast…I look at my left hand and its empty ring finger…I need to pee.
I sit on the toilet, my hair buried in my hands. I rub my scalp. Why is this so hard? I love Christian, I want to be with Christian, but… Why am I still attracted to this man? Yes, he’s rich and powerful, and he rides around on private planes and yachts, and looks really good in a suit…but he’s also selfish, obsessed with his business, and fixed, because he already has a family. He’s not even a good kisser. I grab some toilet paper, wipe, and pull my pants back on.
Washing my hands, I look in the mirror again. I should have never agreed to this “date.” But if I can’t handle a breaking-up-with-someone date, maybe I shouldn’t be getting married. You’re just getting cold feet, Hannah. Pull yourself together, stop drinking the magical imported Japanese wine, and break up with the guy!
I walk out of the bathroom.
When I come back out, the waiter is back at our table. I sit down and look at the small plate in front of me; it has a flower on it.
“This is called the pearl of Urasawa.” The waiter points to my plate. “And you must peel back every petal to enjoy. It has been my pleasure serving you tonight; please stay as long as you like.” The waiter bows to me and then to Phillip, and walks away.
“Phillip,” I say, reaching for my glass of water this time, “I really need to talk to you about something.”
He looks at me, not a concern in his eyes, and starts peeling back the petals of his identical dish.
Still not knowing how to start what I need to say, I mimic what he’s doing; and as soon as I pull back the third petal, I notice something inside. Something opaque and gold and…holy shit, it’s a pair of pearl earrings.
“Everything is edible,” Phillip says putting a flower petal in his mouth.
“Really…?” I pull out the earrings. “Even these?”
“No, those are for you.” He’s stone-cold serious. “To go along with this.” He pulls out a light purple silk satchel from his pocket and places it on my side of the table.
I open it and look inside. I slowly withdraw a long strand of white pearls that perfectly match the earrings. Oh my god. I drop my head into my hands.
“I apologize for my sister being presumptuous.”
I look up.
“About the details of our relationship.”
I start to think that maybe Ireland is right. That God is coming back with a vengeance, on us all; for playing rock, paper, scissors during church sermons with my only friend from school who was also forced to go; for refusing to play the Virgin Mary during my fourth-grade Nativity play; and for being too hungover most Sunday mornings to even think about praying for forgiveness.
“Phillip, we can’t have a relationship, and it has nothing to do with your sister.” I let the strand of pearls drop back into their satchel. “I mean, it does, partially—but in general, I’ve been thinking about things, and I just don’t think it’s the right thing for either one of us.” I pull the satchel strings closed. “You have a business to run, and I don’t want to be responsible for…anything. I just…I just want things to go back to the way they were.”
Phillip pushes his plate to the side and I can’t read the expression on his face. I arrange the earrings on top of the satchel and slide his present back across the table. “I’m sorry for agreeing to this tonight. It wasn’t right.”
Phillip looks at me, his expression still blank. “If you’re concerned about compromising our working relationship, I understand. And I respect your decision.” He slides the satchel back across the table. “But this is still for you.”
I gulp down the rest of my water and tell Phillip that I have to go. He wants to call me a cab, but I’m suddenly feeling very sober, so I tell him he doesn’t have to. I grab my clutch— and not the satchel of pearls. When I turn for the door, the restaurant feels emptier than when I arrived—except for Phillip, still sitting at the only occupied table.
To Be Continued…
Sex, Life, & Hannah::Volume 3, Spring Season by Dorota Skrzypek.
Copyright 2012 by Dorota Skrzypek.
All Rights Reserved.
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