The First…

The Next Family

By: Brandy Black

Do you know how when you are dating and everything is so new in the beginning and you like the person but you don’t want them to know that you like them too much and the games sort of begin? The games…the I’m-going-to-casually-invite-you-over-to-dinner-even-if-I-don’t-know-how-to-cook games. The I’m-going-to-act-like-I-spent-5-minutes-getting-ready games. The yeah-sure-swing-by-at-8-so-we-can-have-some-dinner-games. This was the very nonchalant approach that I was using and had in the past pretty much mastered (except the cooking- I had never made dinner for anyone before -breakfast yes, dinner no). I called my best friend Caren, a chef, while wandering aimlessly in the grocery store. I don’t think I had ever seen past the dark school boy cookie and wine aisle- were they both in one? I thought so. Caren, like any good friend would do, stayed with me through every painstaking aisle as we built the menu for my dinner date. We kept it simple and full of Brandy’isms. Artichokes. Pasta. Shrimp. Capers. Focaccia Cambazola and wine. I lit candles, I found my best butt jeans, casual yet totally intentionally hot. I turned on Jewel, yep I know, Jewel? Really? I’m still mad at myself for that. I waited and waited and waited. The dinner started getting cold, I started getting drunk, my neighbor came over to visit, the wine bottle was empty, the food was gone and no Susan. I left a casual message on her voicemail “Hey, so I thought you were coming over for dinner tonight but huh, I guess I was wrong? Was I?”

The next day I was done, furious really; it was officially the first time I had ever been stood up. I was decorating my new apartment when Susan showed up unannounced with a large chocolate chip cookie in her hand.

“What are you doing here?” I said.

“I got your message,” she said through the screen door -definitely taken aback by my reaction to her. “I was asleep. I completely slept through the whole thing. I didn’t even realize it was a real plan.”

I stood probably hand on hip, foot out to the side, likely very bitchy and scary looking.

“Anyway” she said, “I brought you this cookie. I’m sorry.”

“Ok, thanks.” I took the cookie. “See you later.”

She stood, dumbfounded. I turned away coldly and began talking to Beth who had been witnessing this curt conversation.

I don’t think I turned back to see if she had left for at least a couple minutes. I was done.

“I thought you liked this girl,” Beth said.

“I do.”

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