I was on time, for once in my life, for dinner at the house of a new friend.
I parked my car and without bothering to ring the doorbell, I barged in.
A sullen quiet filled the foyer. The lights were off. There appeared to be no one home.
?Helloooooo?? I called out. It has happened that I?ve messed up dates in the past, or gone to the wrong house entirely. But no denying it, things weren?t looking good.
A door slammed, snapping my attention to the top of a flight of stairs. A man in a terry robe. Erik. My host.
?We said 7! It?s only 6!? He cawed. ?I still need to take a shower!?
Inexplicably, he was clutching a purple teddy bear.
?No worries!? I lied easily. ?I?ve a got a quick errand that needs doing.?
To fill the hour I ventured to a diner. The smells of coffee and French fries stirred my appetite. I ordered a cheddar cheese omelet.
An hour later I returned to my host?s home to find the lights on, soothing music playing, and Erik ably manning pans in the kitchen. All was well.
Except all was not well. Everywhere I looked, I saw foodstuff forbidden to me due to boring allergies.
?There?s nothing I can eat here!? I declared. ?Why don?t you let me take you out to dinner??
?But I want to cook!? said Erik.
After some negotiations of what I can eat and what he had on hand, Erik settled on making me a cheddar cheese omelet.
?Brilliant.? I said, feeling a little sick. There is simply no room for the truth in such situations.
After dinner he invited me to join him on the sofa. I sat at the opposite end, facing him.
But then he swiveled, so that he had his legs stretched out between us. Deliberately, he thrummed his be-socked feet against the cushion I was sitting on.
I pretended this was not happening.
The toes wiggled in dingy mustard socks.
Trying to create a moat of space I pressed myself back against the arm rest.
Erik excitedly jabbered on about some recent good fortune come his way, but I found myself distracted by these little bunny ears twitching beside me.
Ratcheting up the affront, Erik suddenly grabbed my ankles and attempted to haul them into his lap.
?No!? I said, as I yanked myself from his grasp.
?I want to give you a foot rub!? Erik was blushing. ?And I want you to give me a foot rub. I love them!? He said, and pressed the awful socks against my thigh.
Almost involuntarily I sprung to my feet.
With giggles to help diffuse the awkwardness I excused myself. It wasn?t until the drive home I remembered the purple teddy-bear. I should have known right then. I should have known better than to return.
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