The girl looked at him—there was something

definitely wrong with him. It wasn’t the nervous chatter, she was used to

and he didn’t try to impress her. He ordered from the menu, without reading it—

He was bored, or

trapped—that’s what it was—he was trapped like a rat, but he wasn’t scared.

He wasn’t mean to her either…

Afterall, she was a little girl, and he was a full-grown man.

And there was an understanding between them.

“Do you like Mexican food?” He asked.

“Yeah,” she said.

The waiter came by, and he ordered. “Carne, Fajitas, Por Favor.”

“Do you speak Spanish?” She asked him.

“No.”

He had a hurt look in his face, but he was tough. He was the kind of man who would endure, she thought.

“You said you were studying impressionist painting?” He asked.

It was a dangerous conversation starter, because it put her on the spot. She might have to admit, she didn’t know much about painting, even though it was her major.

“Yes, I like Monet and Degas.”

“What about post-impressionism? Seurat or Matisse?”

“Not so much. I prefer traditional brush strokes, to dots on canvas.”

Their food came sizzling hot. The steak was rich, and the plate of rice and beans smelled delicious.

“Do you enjoy your work?” She asked him. It was a dangerous question.

“Flower arranging is getting old. I chose a beautiful profession, but now they are only plants.”

“What will you do?”

“Hopefully, my poetry takes off,” he said with a sigh.

“Isn’t that impractical?”

“Yes.”

They finished their meal in silence. Afterward, he paid. She didn’t know what to think of him. He was nearing middle age, and bored of flowers.

When they walked out, a woman in her early 40s recognized him. She was holding onto her beauty, like a flower does, before it wilts. The woman wore a cocktail dress and was fumbling in her purse for something.

“Would you sign this?” She asked. It was a chapbook.

He signed and smiled at her.

“Is this your daughter?”

“My date.”

“I guess, when you are a famous poet, the rules don’t apply,” she said. “If you get tired of sweet young things, here’s my number.”

“I’m on a date. Sorry.”

The woman crumpled up her napkin with her number on it, like it was her last chance.

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