San Francisco, California

Cool +1

Woh Hei Yuen is a little park in Chinatown and I’m the only one here; I’m sat at a picnic table in the dark and the cold, looking forlornly at the pagoda across from me where a cat is showing off, prowling along the very top. This whole time I’ve been watching this cat I can’t help but wonder if he’s about to give me an annoying side quest but truth be told I’m extremely anxious for other reasons that are quite beyond me.

It’s not like a drug deal is about to go down here in this creepy park, but it certainly feels that way right now.

Where the hell is she?

I’m trying not to look at my phone. What I want to do is look so fabulously cool that it’s upsetting. I zip up my motorcycle jacket (cool +1) as the bitter cold is turned up a notch and an icey gale blows across the city. The trees and bushes flap around me in an awkward dance. My leg is jigging uncontrollably. My heart is racing (cool -8). Time feels a bit fractured. I look around for something to lock my attention onto. Whittle out the nerves whilst I wait.

The moon is up there, doing its thing. It looks off-kilter and somewhat broken, a floating rock suspended in the sky, and yet it’s extravagantly bright this evening, more so than usual. Well, that 0.5 seconds of moon stuff was fun. Now I’m bored again.

Dammit this is one of those rare moments I wish I smoked cigarettes because 1. it would help calm my nerves and 2. I would look so cool right now, waiting for her like that. What if she walked into the park and I was sat on top of this picnic table, blowing clouds of smoke into the night air with my motorcycle jacket on, but it looked like I wasn’t waiting for her at all? That would be extremely sexy, huh?

Ugh what am I even thinking talking about. I’m a puddle.

This whole evening is about to be a disaster. A colossal fuck-up of the highest order. I’m about to meet someone I’ve never met before but...well, it’s someone I’m absolutely bonkers about already. How is that possible? Is this just out of desperation because of the pandemic? Is this because she’s funny and cool and sort of scary? Is it because I haven’t been on a date in ten months? Or is it because I already told her how I feel, and that’s the reason why we’re meeting in this freezing cold, broken-moon, cat-sidequest-ridden park?

Feelings are about to happen here and I know it. Ugh.

Because of that, there’s so many ways this evening might go sideways. It might already have gone sideways in fact, what with my anxiety barreling through my nervous system and setting off all the alarms.

Wait—I hear something. Boots crunching on leaves in the dark (cool +12). Well, here goes nothing.

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