24. Dealbreakers and Margaritas

 

 Let’s try this again. That was the message I got.

 Sure, it’s a date. Was my immediate response. This removed any possible confusion from the situation. A few minutes later I realized neither of us had provided any details.

 Same place? I texted.

 Your call. She responded. We’re still good to go then. I immediately chose a place far away from Central, without it being too inconvenient.

The day’s deliveries were a bit complicated. Sometimes the client makes ridiculous requests such as “this is very fragile” or “be very careful”. Which I would’ve noticed from the stickers. But now they’re charged extra for including notes or instructions. Then there were some slightly ambiguous addresses. Certain things don’t make it onto the map apps for some reason. Might have been inputted on a Friday afternoon. That’s what I always figure. All this almost distracts me enough from my anxiety of this evening’s plans. “Almost” I say because I manage to empty two pints and whatever was in my flask by the workday’s end.

This time I get to the restaurant plenty early. This is partly nerves, and partly because I think it’ll give me an opportunity to sober up. Said nerves made me drink too much again. Yeah, that’s what it was, the nerves. Or is it lack of nerve? Anyways, as soon as I sit down the waitress comes over and asks if I want a drink. Without thinking, I order automatically “Triple margarita please.” I suppose it’s a force of habit. I’m full of excuses tonight. And I’ve completely forgot about my intention to sober up. The anxiety takes precedent. Myra-pidly increasing inebriation is a contributing factor.

I’m unconsciously playing in the bowl of chips and salsa when Myra enters the restaurant. I sat in a chair facing away from the door because I wasn’t sure what the proper reaction to her arrival would be. Do I see her through the glass and wave like an idiot? Or should I jump up and down wagging my tail? This way she can tap me on the shoulder and say:

 “Hey, I guess it was my turn to be late.”

 “Hey, that’s okay, I got a drink. Is that rude?”

 “Not if you were thirsty.”

 “Oh yeah, really parched,” I say because I’m a moron.

 “Then how do you explain this dish?” she asks.

 “That’s complimentary, they do that at all these restaurants.”

 “All these restaurants?”

 “Mexican restaurants, I can say that right? They all, well the good ones give you chips and salsa when you sit down. You know, in case your date…or whoever is late.” Nice, I snuck that it’s a date again, well done.

Myra cracks, laughing so loud it startles the waitress. “Dude, I’m totally fucking with you. Do you honestly think I’ve never been to a Mexican restaurant?”

 “It seemed a little unbelievable,” I say, managing a smile. “I was trying to be polite though.”

The waitress has made it over. “Something to drink?” she asks Myra.

She points to my margarita, “I’ll have one of those.” Not knowing it’s a triple.

 “And another for me please,” I say.

 “Another triple?” the waitress asks. “I can’t serve you more than two.”

 “Yes, put triple sec in both margaritas.”

That last exchange drew a odd look from Myra. Perhaps because I was being a bit odd. Also I’m trying to cover up how inebriated I’m becoming. I pick up the menu to seem more interested in food than drink. I feel too uncomfortable to eat however. I settle on the #5 combo plate despite that.

 “The combo plates are usually a good way to go,” I say.

 “I’ve had Mexican food.”

 “Oh right, I forgot already. You got me good.”

That drew a chuckle. We’re both looking at the menus when the waitress buffers by bringing our drinks. The food selection has provided a brief period of breathing space. An opportunity to think of something witty to say once the waitress leaves. Something that will impress Myra. But I just use the time to freak out. Then, no longer with a menu to hide behind, I try not to say something really stupid.

 “Cheers,” Myra says, holding up her glass. I’ve already emptied a third of mine, but I clink glasses anyways.

 “Salud,” I respond. Then I attempt more Spanish. A lot more Spanish. Partly to impress, but also in the hopes it’ll cover up any slurring. It’s at that point I realize I can’t speak Spanish the entire meal. Either she won’t comprende, or more importantly, I’m nowhere near fluent. For some reason, I don’t stop trying.

 “Stop, detener. It’s starting to sound racist.”

 “Lo siento. I mean, I’m sorry.”

 “Dude…I got you again,” Myra says, laughing. At least she seems to be having a good time. Even if it is at my expense. “You’re too easy.”

 “I’m kind of nervous.”

 “Is that why you’re so drunk?”

Then the waitress approaches with our food. Her question caught me mid-gulp on the second of what Myra doesn’t know is the strongest of drinks. The large, salted rimmed glass is nearly empty as I slowly set it down. I’m quiet as we eat. Trying to formulate the proper response. Part of me is hurt somehow, and another part of me feels shame. In what seemed to be an eternity.

 “Yes, probably. You make me nervous because I like you. I really like you Myra. So I had a few drinks this afternoon. A few too many. I was trying to calm my nerves. All I wanted was to impress you.” Myra-west emotions are exposed.

 “I appreciate that, and I like you too. But I can’t be with a problem drinker. I’ve tried it before, and it doesn’t work for me.”

 “I’m not a problem drinker,” I say.

 “That’s not what I’ve heard.”

 “From who? Where?”

 “Around Central,” Myra says.

 “Fuck them!” I slam the rest of the margarita, and try to signal the waitress. All of sudden, my dream date isn’t going so well. What I guess is the restaurant manager, is now looking concerned, and in our direction.

The waitress made it right over, not to ask how everything was, but to say “You can’t have another triple margarita. I’ve already told you that.”

 “Triple?” Myra asks to no one really. “Who makes triple margaritas?”

 “Lemme have a beer then,” I say.

 “A light beer Senor,” the waitress says. On the way back to the bar, she shakes her head at the restaurant manager, pointing over her shoulder at me.

 “Maybe this wasn’t the best idea,” Myra says. Then she picks up the rest of her burrito with one hand, grabs her purse with the other, and makes her way out the door. I quickly follow her out onto the sidewalk.

I tap her on the shoulder. “Wait up, where are you going?” Myra stops suddenly and whirls around. The change in direction is quite the surprise to me, I planned on giving more chase, and I lose my balance temporarily. How long it takes me to regain it and stay upright validates what she says next.

 “You need to get help.”

 “I was nervous, give me one more chance.” Not that I would know what to do with it.

 “Get a chip, then you’ll get your chance. Thanks for dinner.”

Myra leaves, again. I continue trailing after her, until I’m yanked back in the direction of the restaurant by my collar. The restaurant manager is dragging me back through the door. I’m a bit too shocked, and drunk, to fight back much. As it happens I start to think I’ll be getting a drink on the house somehow. As if this is preferred customer treatment. They really don’t want me to leave. I could pay right away, then try to catch Myra. Seems unlikely, she always moves pretty fast. Shouldn’t let these drinks go to waste. I’m resigned to finishing my meal. Myra-nchero sauce has gotten cold to match this evening’s happenings.

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