I scheduled two dates around similar times at an unfamiliar mall. I told my family and they were seemingly okay about it. My father expressed discomfort at the last minute. “This isn’t 18-year-old Briella,” I replied.
My mother offered to drive me and I agreed. Once we arrived at the mall, I met my first date in a crowded, dimly lit restaurant. He was an older African-American gentleman that looked five years older than my father. He was 6’2”, no gray hair, and no facial hair. Surprisingly enough, he didn’t have a receding hairline or a bald spot.
He wore a green striped shirt, dark jeans, and brown leather loafers. I didn’t know his name but he seemed nice. However, I was uncomfortable because I didn’t realize the age gap. I felt like I was having dinner with a sugar daddy which made me anxious.
After we ordered, I went to find the location I was meeting my second date at. As I headed for the restaurant’s mall exit, I recognized my mother and sister sitting on a “waiting patrons” couch. My mother was sitting with her arms and legs crossed waiting patiently. My sister’s headphones were blasting which explained her obliviousness to her surroundings.
“We figured we wait for you so you don’t have to wait for us to pick you up,” my mother said.
I read through the bullshit.
“You’re lying,” I said. You’re spying on me.”
“You’re not fuckin’ up everything I’ve worked so hard for you to get and everything you got goin’ on now,” she said.
Beads of sweat formed under my armpits. I was angry. I felt my mother still saw me as the volatile 18-year-old girl I once was. I had grown since then. I felt my parents didn’t trust me.
I stormed out the restaurant. I walked down the main floor and became completely lost. Suddenly, I found myself in a parking garage connected to the mall. I went back into the mall and realized it had been 20-30 minutes since I left my first date. As I walked quickly to my first date, I ran into my second date at a table near Starbucks. I quickly greeted him, noticed his appeal and our closeness in age. was My anxiety decreased knowing I was looking forward to my second date.
I ran back to the restaurant where my first date was leaving, paid the check and stood over his empty plate. I missed half our date. He remained courteous despite my apology for my lack of punctuality. As my first date walked out, my second date stood in the restaurant’s mall entrance. Somehow, they recognized each other. I noticed my second date looked like my first date.
Like he was his son.