Someone more socially adept might suggest we dig deeper--religion, politics, child-rearing strategies--but I was mostly hoping we could focus on the food. He took me to The Black Adder, you know, home of the Anaspeptic Ribs, so I figured that's what he wanted to do too.
Then our waitress came over.
"Hey guys, welcome to The Black Adder! Can I--oh, hi, uh Josh." She put our waters on the table and took a step back.
Josh looked up. "Oh, Abby, hey!"
"What...brings you guys here tonight?" Abby asked.
"The ribs," I offered. "I'm Erin, by the way."
Abby nodded and pulled out her order pad. "Do you want to start with drinks?"
Josh, who had been playing with his straw wrapper this entire time, ordered a beer: "Just whatever's on tap."
"I'll take a whiskey and coke."
Abby smiled. "I'll be right back with those."
"Wow, that wasn't awkward at all. I'm guessing you guys have a sordid past? Please tell." I was elated at being off the hook for coming up with conversation--that interaction alone could entertain me for a night.
Josh looked over his shoulder, presumably to check that Abby was out of earshot. "We dated. For three years. She wanted to get married, I wasn't ready, and we fought about it daily until we just...stopped."
Another waiter came around with our drinks and Josh took a big pull from his beer. "Stopped talking."
"Oh." I stirred my drink.
"Yeah. Then one day, she was gone. Took all her stuff, no note or anything. She must've started working here recently. I saw her once at her old job. She used to tend bar at Eclipse. She threw a drink in my face."
"Well she sent someone else out with our drinks tonight, so that's a step in the right direction." I lifted my glass. "Cheers, to mending broken hearts."
He clinked his bottle with my glass and we both drank. I felt as though the night was going great. I already got this guy to open up to me! And with a juicy story nonetheless.
Josh took another look around. "You know, I um, I'm not sure if I fed the meter enough, now that I think about it. I'm gonna go...check that." He got up and put his coat on. "Order me a burger?"
THANKS: Brooke, for making dinner last night and tonight when all I wanted to do was eat and sleep.