Being the only single girl in my girl squad of five friends, I was always the butt of all single girl jokes. And yes, I tagged along with them and their boyfriends on all their night outs and parties as the third wheel. I won’t lie, most times I enjoyed myself, being the baby in the group everyone sought to entertain, but sometimes, not having a partner (like on salsa nights or casual get togethers where couples got cosy with each other) did get to me. My girlfriends were well aware of this fact, after all they had to deal with all my whining on such days. But they also understood that I was a very sensitive yet super adventurous girl who would need a very a special man to handle her. They finally hatched a plan to set me up on a blind date with some guy. He was Anusha’s (one of my four friends) boyfriend’s flat mate and a sweet, gentlemanly sort of a guy. After a lot of drama and throwing tantrums, from, “I don't want to be set-up” to, “I’m single and happy, can’t you see…,” I finally agreed to go for it.
He was to pick me up from our apartment, where the five of us stayed in Pune, and was to take me out for dinner.
It was a Saturday evening and I slipped into my favourite floral blue skirt with a white top and nude stilettos. To be honest, I was excited and a tad bit nervous too. Not having gone out on a date for quite a while now, I felt I might be out of practice. The clock struck 9 pm and I expected him to be on time, because I am pretty punctual.
Finally, he reached at 9:30 pm and yes, I had hyperventilated by then. Irritatedly, I walked down the stairs and hopped into his car. He apologized for being late and greeted me with saying, “Hello, I must say you look beautiful.” That compliment sort of made up for him being late. I quickly checked him out too, from his stubble, his hairstyle, his clothes and his perfume. He doesn’t seem too bad looking, I said to myself. Then he asked me what I did for a living and if I liked Asian food. I was mildly impressed that he had taken the time and effort to book a place, especially for a blind date. As we were talking, suddenly the car jerked very hard and halted. I freaked out and almost shrieked.
He held my hand and asked me if I was all right, giving me a comforting nudge. He got out of the car to find out that one of the tyres had burst. He told me not to worry but I was scared to death. Stuck on a dark, lonely road with a stranger and a flat tyre seemed nothing short of a scene from a horror movie, except that it wasn't a movie.
For miles, I couldn't see another car, let alone another human being. All kinds of scary thoughts raced through my mind. “What if this was a planned move?”, “What if this guy is actually a psychopath” and so on. At this point, I regretted bunking my karate lessons in school. I put my thoughts to rest and finally offered to help.
He was removing the burst tyre kneeling on the street. I was shivering in the winter chill as I asked him how I could help. He stood up, looked into my eyes and told me that I had nothing to worry about and that he would keep me safe. Until then, I could help by simply sitting in the warmth of the car and entertaining him by talking to him. While I felt relieved with his consolation and jumped back in, I was slightly taken aback by the fact that my fearful eyes had given me away.
All this lasted for nearly forty odd minutes. And surprisingly, we had enough to talk about as he fixed the tyre. What started as a discussion about our friends, favourite restaurants, and interests ended up with us sharing our deep dark fears, childhood memories and ambitions. All dressed up, stranded on the street, in these strange circumstances... I was having a great time talking to this stranger. It was almost 11 and we were good to go. He hopped into the car and started driving. The restaurant would’ve closed by the time we would reach, so he took a detour to his own place (after confirming that I’d be comfortable coming over). We reached his apartment, but all his roommates were out. We made Maggi and chilled some wine to go with it. Sitting on the comfy couch, we ate, drank and talked about life. Finally, I realized it was late and I must head home. He insisted on driving me back home. Right outside my apartment, he said “Please let me make it up to you and take you out again?” to which I said yes and planted a soft kiss on his lips and shyly raced upstairs. What started off as a disastrous date turned into something so wonderful!
*Names changed to protect privacy
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Published on Nov 30, 2016