My first date was at the cinema. We’d agreed to meet after slow dancing to Whigfield’s ‘The Summer is Magic’ a week earlier and I felt good. It’s hard to remember where I got the confidence from. I had taken my mom’s advice and gone for a chino, blue denim shirt and tartan waistcoat combination that made me look like a 43-year-old midget. My hair was cut short and brushed in a middle parting, which made my ears stick out.
The venue was Blue Route Shopping Mall on the outskirts of everything. I arrived an hour early. I walked around the mall with my hands in my pockets, my leather shoes squeaking on the tiled floor, trying to act nonchalant but coming across shifty. I checked my watch far too often and reading the Spur menu three times. I think Dr. Alban was playing on the mall PA. “It’s my life,” he sang.
She arrived. With nine of her friends. I counted them as they approached, giggling and pointing and whispering into cupped hands. They walked in goose-formation; my date at the front. We shook hands. They giggled. I went for a hug. They giggled louder. I offered to buy her ticket; one of the girls burst out laughing.