Another girl walks in - dark hair, leggings - and it looks like she's looking around. I shift in my seat. This could be her. She's scanning the room, glancing everywhere but in my direction, so I go back to peeling the label off my bottle of hard cider. I'm loitering near the door like I said I would. I'm the only person sitting at a table on my own. I'm practically wearing a pink carnation. She can come find me.
As the girl stalks over to the bar my confidence slips. She looks a bit young, nothing like the fuzzy Facebook picture I'd stared at before running out, getting into an apprehensive frenzy and arriving a full, painful ten minutes early.
I picked my bag up, and placed it down again. There was no way I was going over to the bar. I'd already had my card marked once tonight.
It seems my poorly veiled natural awkwardness has been thrown into pitiful relief by this world- weary city, and I felt as all-elbows in this Billyburg hipster hangout as I did in the Upper Westside dining rooms with their attentive staff and winter views over Central Park. Earlier, faking it, I had strolled over casually to the bar, picked up what looked like a menu, and started scanning it for inspiration.
"Excuse me." The pixie-like girl to my right tilted her head at me.
"That's mine. That's my cheque. Can I have it back please?"
"Yeah, sure, whatever." I said, as if she was being totally unreasonable, and I had every right to keep tabs on her alcohol intake and nightly expenditure. "I'll just have a hard cider, I guess." The barman's moustache twitched, and the pixie snatched back her bill. With all the nonchalance I could muster I strolled back to my table and waited for my blind-friend date to show.
Turns out it wasn't the dark-haired girl after all. I wonder if she clocked me sitting at the table by the door, trying to look approachable.