They arrange to meet at the art festival, inside the park, near the willows. Arriving separately, for a second date stroll. When they reach the end of the exhibit she took a risk and asked if he wanted to keep walking, such a perfect day, and he did, past the fountains and the playing fields, and ending up here for drinks.
As soon as they get to the restaurant she excuses herself. They’d gotten coffees from a vendor at the art show. They sampled three beers from the microbrewery exhibit. In the park pavilion she used the public restroom, but the coffee, the beer, the water bottle she always carried—by the time they reached the bar she had to pee again.
That’s twice now for her. None for him.
They drink gin and tonics drinks sitting on barstools. Conversation is a gentle stream. He’s been divorced only once. He doesn’t get to see his son enough because the boy lives two states away with his belligerent mother. Father and son Facetime once a week. Her: never married. Hasn’t happened yet.
They order a second drink, and share a platter of oysters.
Their first meeting took place last week, for coffee. He was even better looking in person than in his photo. CPA in the finance department of a company whose name she recognized. Her: treading water in the adjunct pool.
He has yet to mention any male friends. There are a brother and a sister, nearby. He is nine months to the day older than she is. He wears glasses, which means soon she can wear hers in front of him. He reads books and when she mentions she makes her way teaching and talking about books he says he finds that enchanting. A word she cannot remember anyone ever using to describe her or anything she’s ever done.
Now they’re getting ready to leave the restaurant and she has to pee again. He still hasn’t used the restroom. It’s been six hours. This is distressing. His bladder must be the size of a basketball. Except it isn’t. She knows a bladder only holds about sixteen ounces. When you pee as often as she does you do some research about bladder capacity and function.
You ready? he asks.
Let me just run to the restroom first.
Third time. Shouldn’t be embarrassed. She flushes, washes her hands, checks the mirror. Her face is her face.
He looks up as she returns to the table. Has she mentioned his smile? One of his best features.
Their plates have been cleared and he’s paid the check. They’d negotiated this earlier. His idea. Splitting the amount, putting out two cards for the server—he didn’t like to get involved with that, he told her. She could pay next time, he said, implying there would be a next time.
You need a turn? She wishes he would use the restroom.
No, I’m good.
Would he invite her over now? A sudden alarm: she’s afraid he might be a golden shower boy and is saving himself to urinate all over her when they make love later.
That would fall under dealbreaker. There is always a dealbreaker. This one is still married, another wears an egregious cologne, another still lives with his parents. One never stopped talking. The next was monosyllabic.
Not that she’s perfect. By no means. Flaws aplenty. But there’s what you can tolerate and what you can’t.
They step out to the sidewalk. The sun has gone behind the buildings and the air is cooler now.
We could walk to my place, he suggests. If you want to. It’s not far from here.
Um . . . Do you have a bathroom at your place?
Yes. Do you have one?
Do you ever use it?
I’m not sure I understand. He shows her a different smile now. Not as dashing as his other one.
That’s okay. It’s late. She should get going.