My Worst Date Story: In the Lair of the She-Wolf
We've all been there before: invited by some freak chance called Destiny, only to discover her name's actually Brittany and you're moments from meeting her parents already...
Aren't they all the same? Some dumb boy meets a beautiful, yet innocent girl and the world then spirals off into absurdity and oblivion. Like the beginning of a really bad horror flick: you know shit's gonna hit the fan faster than a NASCAR pile up, but you keep going, striding up each rickety landing in the hopes that salvation will be there to greet you by its zenith.
And yet, those stairs just keep on going, as if barreling up into eternity. You find yourself stuck in a metaphorical time lapse, where you begin to question your own sanity. You plead to the heavens, to the trees, to the wind, but there's nothing but white noise to accompany your fading voice as it drifts so casually off into the sea of yesterday.
"Hi," she said from afar, yet so sweetly. Her coat came off and fell along the back of her chair as a vial slipped into her hands unnoticed. The sound of her voice sends shivers through my core as she took a seat in my memories.
That's where she is—or, was—and remains, I guess. In some far off memory full of pain, of course, and learning. Memories have these wonderful glints about them, whether sad or outright embarrassing, some of our most iconic presentations of the self can be wrought back into existence at the simplicity of a sound, a smell, or even an emotion. Isn't that grander than even the condition of love itself? It's almost as if we all somehow share a bond, like intangible tunnels bred by feeling and connectivity, outlasted by the hard drives of human memory, our only pathways to the ether of eternal youth.
"What... what did you say?" Her nose was runny or maybe clogged, for she kept sniffling as if she had a cold. I found this only a tad bit odd, given that it was a recurring facet of our three-week-long relationship. I guess, if you truly wanted to, you could call this our third week anniversary. In reality, it was my escape from a dungeon of the mind known as the lair of the she-wolf.
I shook my head. "I didn't say anything."
We were in the far back corner of some Thai restaurant I had found, gazing uninterestingly at a menu full of foreign characters that meant, so far, absolutely nothing to us. At the sounds of her incessant sniffling, I peeled my eyes away from the menu, mind racing within a blend of aromas, from fried rice and Massaman Curry, to steamed broccoli and a pungent perfume, which wafted from the chair directly in front of me.
Her. That she-demon, the wolf mother of despair herself. She, of course, was already looking away, eyes scanning that same binding of foreign entrée options that laid before me, acting by some accord as if we were already in a relationship: never once meeting my gaze; never once telling me what truly bothered her so very much; never giving me the chance to at least make things right, but I assume that's the point of all memories.
Memories are truly remarkable things of guidance and devotion, up until you fall upon something like the worst date story you've ever experienced. As far as experiences go, I doubt I've ever had anything as memorable or quite possibly worthwhile as this.
"What are you gonna have?" I asked, but she simply shrugged. Something was up. I knew this only through some inborn intuition. She appeared both hyperactive, fidgeting and moving in uncontrolled spasms, while at the same time convincingly cold since it was the dead of December.
Her sniffling persisted. I asked if she was okay, thinking far off within my stupidly childish mind that she was depressed by something, or lost in some sort of emotional confusion that girls often receive from time to time. It was neither of these things, of course, just a full-fledged love affair with the white demon hidden within her pocket. An all-white crystalline substance of unimaginable powers. Powers, of course, that inevitably made her into the she-wolf.
You learn from them, your mistakes that is, or you just end up repeating the same stupid shit over and over until you're in the beginning of a bad horror flick again, running up that dim staircase without any semblance on where to go. That's dating in the 21st century, where one swipe right and a couple of witty messages can land you in a Thai restaurant without a single thing to say to each other after three weeks of continued hooking up, all of which has only accounted for one commonality between the two of you: a dependent affection for cocaine.
"You want some?" she asked from the seat before me, despite the four years of time that still separates us from ever being together. She displays that small vial, chunky white substances all floating in there deranged places from within, and I can't help but cringe as I reach for it—only to stop myself halfway.
I shook my head, noticing a pair of guests watching us from their seat in the rear of the building. I try to shift the conversation elsewhere, to lighten the mood maybe or just uplift our spirits, but she was far too rambunctious to let that happen.
"I think I'm gonna have the Moo Shu Pork with some ri-"
She loudly snorted two long pulls from the vial, upends her face to the ceiling and inhaled as if it were her first time ever breathing. Then, recapping the substance and safely replacing it in her pocket, she returned a somewhat haughty gesture at me before her gaze folded back onto the menu and once more we were interlocked in timeless revelry.
We had met on an empty ice rink after matching on some dumb dating application I now forget the name of. She fell and skidded along the rough surface, cutting her knee up so bad she needed not one, but multiple band-aids. Later that evening, at some house party we had both been invited to, the lavish narcotic soon took root. She, of course, had enough of the booger sugar for a very good time, and now that I think upon it the longer, I begin to see just how powerful that substance can be, even if initially administered by a loving figure like her.
"I'm... I'm not even really hungry," she suddenly states, still sniffling up a storm. From the corner of my eye, I can see that same family in the far back now on their cell phones, and I think: That's rude.
Without really trying, my head did this wobbling droop and tumbled back toward that fateful menu. Passing through time, as if I could somehow leap through worlds via that tiny slit between the menu pages, I searched and searched for something. Anything. What the fuck do I say to her? This was one of those dates you just knew, man—you knew it was going to be worse than Normandy, but you still put your helmet on, grabbed a machine gun, and trudged up the beach, anyway.
That's what happens when you're a slave of the she-wolf. Of course, the girl I refer to was no actual demon, but she had a few similarities to one or another. She once stole all of her roommates' rent money so she could take a trip to EDC in Vegas, prolly spent it on cheap vodka and a gram of molly. That's the second kicker: she liked—no, this girl loved to party. The moment to which I have been referring to was our third consecutive date, and if you're good at reading people, you won't have any trouble weaving through this plot line.
I could see her face glowing, illuminated by the bright white screen of her cell phone, which she held hidden under the menu like an 8th grader cheating on her Social Studies test. Every now and then she'd gaze up and smile at me. You know the smile: curt, sincere, wielding no metaphysical emotion but for the purest form of empathy. We're both here for reasons we don't even know, and yet it's as if time has come to a fucking standstill.
"So... what do you think of this place?" I asked her. There was a prolonged void of silence that followed, for which I added, "Have you ever had Thai food before?"
Her face soon folded into an expressionless inconceivability, then the demon responded in kind: "I'm allergic to Thai food, but..." She had to take a quick pause here to rub her nose, which was redder than a newly waxed Ferrari after the snnffttt of cocaine discharged into her nostrils. "...but, thanks for asking, you know. For taking me out and stuff." She said all of this as if it were one word.
I sighed, gazing back down at the menu. If only we could see the future, if only we knew how precious time was when together, we just might have made it last longer. I sighed again, this time getting the message across.
"What?" she shot at me. Her face was scrunched into a ball of fury. I could see veins popping at the height of her forehead. And, just as I thought it couldn't get any worse...
Worlds collapsed. Synapses inside her skull must have fired off into chaotic oblivion. Her head jerked upright so fast the wind and overheads rushed through her silky gold hair like melted caramel on a sundae. She was truly beautiful, I cannot take that aspect away from her. In the lair of the she-wolf, though, looks can be deceiving and memories can kill.
I didn't have to be facing the window to see the kaleidoscope of red and blue waving across the surfaces all around me, nor did I have to hear those gruff and menacing voices as the pair of police officers sauntered to our table: this was it, the last time I'd see the she-wolf ever again. The demon and her tricks, they finally caught up with her. I'll never forget that face, so sullen and tearful as the officers started cuffing her. Me, doing my very best impression to act both astonished and a little bit frightened, could do nothing but watch.
Like that, she was nothing but a memory. She was a spill I took on the stairs a little while back, nothing too injurious, but it still fucking hurt. She's now the face of what I know I'll never do again. She's become the very meaning of my banality. Thanks, I guess, for one of my worst dating experiences, but at least I no longer have to live in fear. I'm finally free from the lair of the she-wolf, but she'll always have a silent home within me, and that home is called addiction.