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“Jordan, hi, nice to finally meet you.” He didn’t lie about his height!

“Hey Sarah… do we hug? I’m a hugger.” Gorgeous.

“We can hug!”

Jordan pulled out a barstool for Sarah. “I think you said you liked tequila so I ordered you a paloma.”

“I love palomas!” Okay, Jordan, I see you! “Sorry I was late, I thought they weren’t going to need me for a meeting, but then I got pulled in and that put me right into peak Parkway traffic.”

“Oh. Oh, that’s okay.” Jordan seemed disinterested in that detail. Is he one of those “never leaves Toms River guys”?

“Well, cheers.” They clanked glasses; a highball for Sarah, a whiskey glass for Jordan. Hm, are her hands kinda big?

“What was your meeting about?”

How do I condense this so I don’t bore him to death? “So obviously you know everything that’s going on in Ukraine—”

“Generally speaking.”

“Yes. Without getting into the weeds, I work for an agency and our client is a Ukrainian community group. We’re working on an outdoor media campaign, and I had to get some revisions to some artwork I did.”

“Oh, okay.”

Yeah, let’s not get bogged down. “What about you? How was your day? You said you’re a welder? I really admire people who work with their hands.”

“It was good. Do you wanna order food?” I really hope she’s not a vegetarian.

“Yeah, sure. I’ve been craving a burger.”

When he reached for the menus from the bartender, Sarah noticed Jordan’s Apple watch. I’ll just never get used to the idea of a big, rectangular void on someone’s wrist. But, I know I’m in the minority. She looked down at the tangle of bracelets on her own wrist and considered he might not like her style either.

“Do you watch UFC?”

“I don’t.”

“Ah man, well, my friend is hosting the fights on Saturday, I was gonna see if you wanted to come.”

“I would maybe come!” I mean why not? I don’t watch football but I go to Super Bowl parties.

“Nah, probably not fun for you.” Ikram Aliskerov. Anthony Hernandez. Merab Dvalishvili. Henry Cejudo.

“ᵂʰᵃᵗ ᵗʸᵖᵉ ᵒᶠ ᵐᵘˢⁱᶜ ᵈᵒ ʸᵒᵘ ˡⁱᵏᵉ” Robert Whittaker. Paulo Costa. Ilia Topuria. Alexander Volkanovski.


“What? Oh, sorry.”

The bartender slipped placemats and rolled napkins in front of Sarah and Jordan. “Food’ll be right up.”

“Was that weird?” Jordan asked. “The way he said that?”

“I don’t think so?” She didn’t realize, but Sarah let her voice end in a question mark. A lifetime of being female had contributed to a style of speech that always aimed to placate others.

“I thought he had an attitude.” He definitely didn’t have an attitude.

“Need anything else?” the bartender asked as he rotated Jordan’s chicken sandwich so it faced him. “Ketchup?”

Jordan clenched his jaw.

“We’re good, thanks,” Sarah replied quickly.

A message slid across Jordan’s watch. Andrew Tate: The Matrix Will Not Win, it said.

Andrew Tate? The green traffic light Sarah sailed through on her way to the date began turning yellow in her mind with Jordan’s bad take on the server; now it was blazing, dripping, lava red. She took a bite of her burger and a juicy bit escaped, rolling down the side of her hand. Gross.

Sarah weathered the remainder of the date, laughing authentically at a few anecdotes Jordan told, but mostly groaning inside. When the bill came, she offered in three different ways, to contribute to the total. Jordan rebuffed. She clutched a ten dollar bill surreptitiously under her coat sleeve in case he skimped on the tip.

They hugged once more outside of Sarah’s unassuming hybrid. Don’t get friendzoned…

The only thing remarkable about their kiss was that one happened at all.

Sarah hit shuffle on her playlist. As she backed out of the spot, she could see Jordan getting into a Jeep Wrangler. Well, that’s over.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Three days later, her phone buzzed.

Hey. That was fun. What are you up to this Thursday? 

Sarah sat up sharply, the covers on her bed falling off with as much surprise as she felt to receive such a message. Was he on the same date I was??

Two towns over, Jordan watched the three dots scintillate in the chat, then stop. It was a simple ques—

Three dots again appeared. Hey! Thanks, yeah. This week’s no good, but maybe the following?


Jillian Conochan

Jillian Conochan is a professional amateur; writing and editing just happen to be two current pursuits. Opinion range: strong to DNGAF.

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