"No First Date" by Rono Hem ('19)

He was wholly held, absorbed, by a feeling. It was shame. He sat on the edge of his bed staring at the floral patterns of his dorm room rug. He couldn’t help himself from being drawn to the mysterious red stain he couldn’t get rid of. He played the dreadful scene over and over again in his head.

“Hi...uh Rachel. I was wondering if you’d wanna go see the new Batman movie with me this Saturday.” He dug one of his more unkempt nails straight into his thumb to stop himself from trembling.
“I mean it has pretty bad reviews and everything, but, you know, critics, they don’t know, you know?”
He could see her roll her shoulders back and scrunch her face up ever so slightly. It’s as if she was annoyed that he bothered to ask. He felt like his brain would fall out through his ears.
She took a deep breath and blurted out-
“Aw, I’m sorry. I’m going to meet up with my friend on Saturday.”

There was a pause. He could feel going numb, and the seconds felt like hours. Why didn’t he just get high before this? Maybe it wouldn’t have been that bad. He braced himself and said,
“Well we can go on Sunday. Saturday is pretty heavily booked. Yeah, Sunday is actually better I think.”
She looked perplexed, she seemed like she couldn’t understand how he came to the conclusion that he should try and be persistent. Why do people do that? “Like, no I am not going to say yes, less than ten seconds after I just said no,” she thought to herself. But she was feeling particularly generous today and decided to approach things gently.
“Oh. Sorry, I have to go to Church on Sunday.”

Her? Church?

The shame had engrossed him by then. His body and mind were in virtual disconnect, which is why with a feeble voice he said, “Oh that’s cool. You know what I’ll go with you.” He could feel the blood rush in and out of his head.
“But, I thought you were Jewish.”
“Yeah”