“No, don’t come to my building. The lot is full and they’re parking on the street. I’ll meet you at the diner. It’s right at the corner of Main and 5th. Oh shit…..how will I know you?”
“I’ll be the only one wearing a hat that says HI KARLA on it. Don’t worry, we’ll find each other”
So, Paul is there about 15 minutes early, after ripping a page out of his calendar in the glove compartment, penciling her name in big block letters, and sticking it on his hat band. He sits and orders a coffee, fidgets a bit.
Karla takes one last look in her closet mirror, and slumps a little. Jesus. This whole outfit just screams 1960’s Bag Lady. Oh well, it’s a good test. If he can’t take me as I am, I’ll know it right away. No sense in wasting time.
She’s 15 minutes late. He’s on his second coffee, when he sees, through the slits in the blinds, a woman kind of peeking in the front window. He doesn’t know if she’s looking for something inside, or studying her reflection. At any rate, it’s a little comical. A crooked pair of glasses rides on a face that squints a little as it studies its own teeth. She walks on, and, a few seconds later, makes an awkward entrance.
He’s a bit stricken. Is this her? A tartan skirt with neat pleats, only a few folded over on themselves. Nylons…..nylons? who wears nylons any more? Shoes a little too big, making for a mincing stride as she walks towards his table. But, bright eyes. Yes. Bright eyes. One a little bigger than the other with those peculiar glasses. Full of spirit.
Paul stands up and smiles. What Karla sees, aside from the ridiculous hat, is a nervous guy dressed in Sunday best blue jeans, a suit jacket, and construction boots. But, he was clean.
Good. We’re both nervous. And he hasn’t laughed at me yet. Perfect start.