The Worst Date Ever

The RemembeRed memoir assignment this week,  from Write on Edge,  is to write about a memory of ourselves WITH someone else. Word limit, 600 or less. A way to start: His/her name was ______________________ and looking back now, I realize….

When he was on stage, his personality preceded him. In the theater, he captured my attention. But off stage, he was barely heard. His red hair, milky skin, and burnt sienna freckles made him look timid. Thin arms danced in the air when he spoke. A skateboard was not far from his side. His name was Jeremy.

I stared at him while he spoke, watched his cheeks flush from the heat of my gaze. Jeremy’s humbleness was charming and inviting. He was quick to compliment, slow to disagree and void of gossip. I was a junior in high school, full of girl drama and fickleness. I wasn’t sure if my friends liked him, he was too nice.

One day, he asked me out on a date. I said yes.

I primped for hours, changed my outfit a dozen times in anticipation. When he got there, I quickly sat in the car, sunk into the well-worn seat as Jeremy held open the door.

“Wait!” he exclaimed.

“What?” I shouted, already wondering if this had been a mistake.

“I brought you something. You just sat on it.”

I quickly arched my back, raised my butt, and retrieved a slightly crumpled red rose.

“I’m so sorry,” I blushed.

The night was humid. Drops of rain speckled the windshield as we left. I could feel my makeup slide, my hair fall. Jeremy noticed.

“I’m sorry it’s so warm, but my air conditioning doesn’t really work.”

We sat in silence for a few more minutes, the hum of the tires masking our awkwardness.

“I made a mix tape,” he said. “Could you put it in the tape player on the back seat? The car one broke.”

“Sure,” I said disappointed again.

Jeremy said he had a very special restaurant picked out for us. Once the music found its way to the front seat, conversation started flowing more easily. We talked about music and friends. He asked about what books I liked and what kinds of things I wrote. He asked about me. An hour later, we pulled into the parking lot of a chain restaurant.

“Here we are,” he said grinning.

“It’s a Jim’s” I said curtly, “There’s one down the street from my house.”

We drove to Austin to go to Jim’s, a place not unlike Big Boy’s or I-Hop.

We drove for an hour to go to a restaurant 5 minutes from my house.

“Yes,” he said hanging his head, “But you haven’t been to this one. With me.”

The rest of the evening was a blur. I nodded in all the right places, answered when spoken to, and smiled when needed. All I could think about was the sticky, hot, worn-out car with the broken tape deck I had to drive home in for another hour. I wondered how in the world I was going to tell my girlfriends I got all dressed up to eat at Jim’s.

We didn’t speak on the way home. Jeremy stopped the car in my driveway, jumped out, and held open my door.

“Thank you for a nice evening,” I said plainly, careful not to be too inviting.

He didn’t call again.

Years later I saw Jeremy at a bicycle shop. He looked more confident, but just as charming. We chatted casually. I remembered how sweet and kind he was, thoughtful beyond his years.

As we parted, I asked, “Why did you pick that restaurant so far from my house?”

He smiled,” I just wanted time to talk to you, that’s all. You were interesting to me then.”

Looking back now, I realize, I was probably one of his worst dates ever.

13 thoughts on “The Worst Date Ever

  1. I loved this post – your honesty, his lack of guile, his innocence, your vivid memories.

    I reckon that if we’re honest, everyone has a Jeremy, tucked away in our past. Just as everyone was once a not-so-great date or friend or love interest.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    1. I’m sure if I thought long and hard, there are more “Jeremy’s” in my closet. I wonder how many times I was the bad date? Ugh. So glad I don’t have to worry about dating anymore.

  2. I love how you turned this around. I was the worst date on many ocassions, looking back. Nice. And mix tapes – whoa. That’ll take you back.

  3. This is so, so good! This seems like the perfect response to this prompt, as I learned about him through your experience with him. The wrap up was perfect. Sometimes I’m amazed at our inability to say in the moment what we’re feeling. (“But you haven’t been to this one. With me” versus “I just wanted time to talk to you.”)

  4. Oh how I loved this, that you can look at it from “both sides now” and see it from his perpective too…that his inadequacy was simply his yearning for you, the conversation. This speaks so much of the angst of teenage dating, it was fabulous!

  5. I liked how your narrative was not only about how your expectations for the date were grossly marred (how you could dress up to go to a Jim’s?!), but also those of your poor date Jeremy. Great job!

    I just found the Write on Edge community and am excited to start posting my own contributions soon! 🙂

    Alyssa of Lyss on Something

  6. You were interesting to me then.

    Ouch. It’s funny how when you’re in high school (the universal you, including myself), it’s so important what our friends think. I like that you admitted you thought about that part of it, getting dressed up to go to a chain. All of those sweet but awkward things were his way of trying, which you obviously realize now. It’s brave to write a post like this, admitting how your judgment was a little “off” back then 🙂

  7. My first thought this is why you never date an actor….but by the end I felt sorry for the guy but I woulnd’t say you were the worst date EVER….

  8. Oy! Bet that was a bit hard to write! Great story. Interesting to look back at ourselves now that we’re older and wiser. To reflect upon our younger selves. Glad to know Jeremy grew more confident in himself. All ended well though! He’s happy. You’re happy. Plus. There has to be a few bad dates as that’s how we learn!
    You wrote it very well. I felt as if I was watching it unfold.

  9. Oh, I wouldn’t return to those days where insecurities kept our guard up at all times! Not for all the tea in China. You certainly captured the anticipation and discomfort that is such a part of that age.

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