“Hello,” was the tone that first date started off as. Love was in the autumn air, and my body wanted to fuck but would never admit that as I shook her hand gingerly. We laughed at the occasion of meeting: it was a blind date. My friend John got us together in his own ironic sense. He did this from time to time, believing that I would make a handsome boyfriend to whomever – more so, just a friend who would be overly supportive to whomever had pretty eyes and a good taste in wordplay; therefore, I mostly was put together with the most troubled girls with brilliant minds that lied and lied. I think the only good I’ve ever done to those minds was fuck them with my own problems – perhaps in that regard, the girls I was introduced to and I held this bond of insecurity that was being molested by our own personalities. “I’m not a good story teller,” she replied some point in our conversation. “Nah, neither am I,” I chined as we talked more about poetry and prose under the shade of a willow tree. I wasn’t obsessed with such shit. It was just meant to be a conversation starter, most girls actually read and wrote such shit. Not this one. “What do you think about people?” She asked, her hands supporting her back as she leaned back. “Um,” I thought for a minute, gathering my experiences and all my perceptions, trying to find the light in a dark tunnel with many lumps and bumps and pricks and nips; “I think too much about people.” “What do you mean?” Her eyes settled into mine, and as they did, their glossy membranes appeared to open a spiritual torrent, as if a metaphorical ocean was being rushed into my soul – causing a flood of anxiety. I looked away, trying not to drown in that endless swell. “I don’t know.” I took out a cigarette – a bad habit I’ve picked up. “You must have something to say,” she said, still with sterner eyes that were now partially hidden by her solid black bangs that reflected sun beyond the shade. “Well,” I thought harder on how to articulate what I wanted to say. The thought scampered around like a wasp, and whenever I came near it, it’d threaten to sting me. But each moment, I became braver and came nearer. As I reached out, I thought of all the hopelessness of being human, the strength of fighting such hopelessness, and the hope of being more. “I think humans are generally brave.” I said. “Mhm,” she said patiently, expecting more fruitlessly. The silence crept back into conversation, and soon the light of the sun crept into the bleak black of the night. We shuttled back to her dorm, and at the entrance we stood for quite a while, awkward and apologetic. Her face burnt of red that came within a deeper feeling of self-consciousness and embarrassment. We both were blushing. “Would you like to stay?” She whispered. “No thank you,” I said. “I made tea.” I did stay over. She slept in a cozy position next to my left leg on the couch. Before her lapse, she was drifting off into a story about her father. He was a professor at DePaul, and she wanted nothing more than to spite him. His study was theology, and he preached on Sundays. I sat there, fully clothed, of course. My body subdued once again, and I, myself, oppressed by it. In the room, we sat, my body and I. And by then, I was happy with it. It had grown to learn not to wither. Instead, I was strong and healthy. The girl beside me trusted me. And I trusted her. Then she muttered: “Ben, I would never sleep with you.” “I know.” About a week later, we were on another date. I was being treated to a meal and ballet. In reality, I hated eating but loved ballet. I wasn’t quite sure what the performance was nor its significance. I feel like such critical review was superficial, materialistic, and daunting. This moment of watching women and men court on stage was perhaps the best. “What do you think of these men?” She asked. “I think they need to wear more clothing.” I replied. She beamed. By the end, we were hungry, and we ate a nice meal. I then kissed her hand as we said good-bye. She giggled and told me to call her again next time, which I did by the time I got home. But I didn’t get a chance to talk. The voice mail picked up. At the corner of 12th street, I kissed her. Her arms wrapped themselves around me, and I picked her up in the wake of our kiss. The light was gone, and as the street was, we were alone – not in the physical sense but in the emotional sense. No one was associated to us besides the person whose heart beat was nearest. We stopped by the bridge and sat, looking down at the murky water that reflected the darkness of the reality we were in. The bridge light was out, and a whisper could carry itself further than a shout could. She turned to me then and quietly said, “Teach me how to be brave.” “How do I do that?” I replied slightly aroused. “Be human,” she whispered. There, I knew what to do, and it was hard. I got up and left.