I say hello but I barely dare to look him in the eye. It wasn’t me who said yes to this. I don’t know who it was, but it didn’t come from me. Not that it matters to him. He got his second date. Why do I say these things. Why when I decide to say NO, I say YES. Like somebody else is speaking through me. Who is my ventriloquist?
I look at my own spectator. We’re like two peepers who openly peep at each other. Peep, he’s sipping his tea, mint tea with honey, it makes me laugh, a man who orders fresh mint tea with honey at a date. Peep, he looks at me throwing back my latte with a neck bent just so I won’t have to look at my personal peeper. This is worse than that awkward silence.
Peep, he puts down his teacup. ‘Hmmm, that was nice,’ he says.
Peep, she’s nodding, but why is she hiding her face behind that giant coffee cup.
Peep, he straightens his back and shifts on his chair.
Peep, she scrapes her throat.
Peep, he produces a smile.
Peep, is that smile true?
Peep, he opens his mouth.
Peep, the people at the next table are talking about us, they look like they’ve been married for years.
Peep, oh no, he is going to say something.
Peep, her eyes have the size of saucers.
Peep, here we go. He’s going to speak.
Peep, she’s choking!
Peep, he jumps up.
Peep, the married people turn our way.
Peep, she sounds like a seal.
Peep, don’t touch me. Go away. No, I don’t need a pat on the back.
Peep, thank goodness she is still alive. Or else this would have been the most awkward date ever in the history of human kind.
Peep, you think!
‘Wow,’ he says, ‘that was some bad coffee. You got me worried there. I thought I might have to apply mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.’
I choke again.
‘There now, just keep calm and you’ll be alright.’I feel like a toddler who is being patronized by his dad.
A kind waiter comes to our table and puts down a glass of water for me. ‘Thank you,’ I say, my first words this date. I take a sip and sigh like a balloon that just snapped.
‘So, you and your brother are on a day out? How nice.’ He asks while he wipes my coffee spit from the table.
‘Oh no, she’s not my sister. We are on a date,’ he says while he leans forward. Mitchel to the rescue again. The waiter looks at me. I shrug. I feel like a kid who just got busted trying to steal from the cookie jar. ‘Well, have fun,’ he says and I stay behind. Alone.
‘Feel better?’ Mitchel asks with a big smile on his face. And there it is again. I feel it. As if I like him. Impossible! I don’t like him. Why do I say things I don’t say and why do I feel things I don’t feel? Who is this freaky ventriloquist controlling me? Who holds my strings?
‘What?’ Mitchel jumps up from his chair for the second time, ‘you look like you’ve just seen a ghost.’
‘A demon more like,’ I say to myself. I want to get up, but it’s as if it’s not possible. My whole system, head to toe, is telling me to stay put. But I don’t want to. I want to go. ‘I need a bathroom break!’ I almost shout. And rush out knocking over an chair from the next table. The people peeping from the other table turn their heads.
I pop out the bathroom window and go for it. Jeff Dunham if you ever speak again: Silence I kill you!!!