We finish lunch and the $32 bill comes. My half is $14 including tax and with a 20% tip, becomes $17. I leave a $20. Shashi Kapoor leaves $17 and says, “This is all the cash I have.” I don’t mind paying for myself but I am not making up the difference, especially since the waitress TOLD him in advance of eating that this was cash only. Why did he buy $20 worth of food and drink if he only had $17. I am momentarily tempted to remind him of the cash machine downstairs, but it's not my fault he's cheap or forgot his ATM card.
“How was your burger?” Shashi inquires when we leave HK. “Good. How was your salad?” I ask. “Good. I would have loved a burger, too, but you know,” he says and pats his stomach. Is he SERIOUSLY kidding me with this shit? He pulls a Jerry Seinfeld by ordering a SALAD on a DATE with a woman who orders meat and then MOCKS his date’s lunch, after stiffing the waitress's tip?
“Would you like to take a walk?” Shashi asks. Not really I think, but I reply with, “Sure if we walk Uptown. I'm headed in that direction.” I say this knowing he has to head downtown, but at this point I am not interested in him romantically and I don’t really care what he wants to do. “Okay,” he replies.
We head up 9th Avenue, into Hell’s Kitchen, one of my favorite parts of Manhattan and I give him a guided tour of Desi Girl’s favorite restaurants. “Wow, I had no idea these places were here, they look great,” Shashi Kapoor says. “I never know who is willing to venture where in the City,” I share. I, for instance, will go anywhere including other boroughs. However, I have learned some people in Manhattan are parochial and live, eat and work in the same 10-block radius. Others think Manhattan ends at 96th Street, which is comical since Central Park’s north border is 110th Street and the famous Apollo Theatre is on 125th Street and I live at 181. With that said I have my quirks, too. While I love volunteering, I don't love going to the Upper East for our meetings because Central Park truncates my commute, making it cumbersome and annoying in inclement weather.
“I want a coffee, can we stop into Starbucks?” I ask. “I don’t like or drink coffee,” Shashi Kapoor says. Well, that’s fine and not what I asked him. I also never suggested that he buy one. And since he has no money, I’d have to buy it for him, which I have no intention of doing. Sidebar: I don’t eat tripe or pig’s feet, but I'm not telling that to someone about to order it.
Once I have my coffee we sit down. As I add Equal sweetener to my latte Shashi Kapoor says, “I can read palms.” He takes my hand and I smirk. Indeed, this is a clever way to hold a woman’s hand. “Your life line is long,” Shashi Kapoor begins. “How long?" I demand. This life isn’t going as I had anticipated so I hope to exit around 70-75, before my body and brain are ravaged by disease and dementia, and while I can still color my own hair. “Into your 90s.” Fuck that's a LOOOONG time. “Your luck line is good. It breaks in the middle but starts immediately. You're also very rational,” Shashi Kapoor says.
Well that is at least good new, though I am sure my brother would disagree. “And you're logical,” Shashi Kapoor adds. Okay, this FOR SURE my brother will disagree with. He likes to think he is the smart one, while I think to think I am the good-looking one. “You’re not really creative,” Shashi Kapoor says. Whaaaat? Why doesn’t he just throw me in front of a Bronx bound D train. I majored in architecture, love art and my passion is writing. How is that NOT creative?
While Shashi Kapoor can read palms he is no face reader. He hasn’t noticed that his words have literally wounded, more than mocking my lunch or telling me I am going to live into my 90s. “Your heart line is good," he says and presses the soft flesh of my palm under my thumb. “Wow. You’re very passionate.”
I know. I lead with my heart not my head. It’s why I let go of reason, rush into things with wild abandonment and end up as emotional road kill.
“This is interesting. For someone so passionate you have really only had one true romance,” Shashi Kapoor says and looks me straight in the eye. I know -- my college boyfriend. When I am honest with myself, that relationship challenged my dating faith and caused me to lose my ability to trust men at a far too early of an age. I worry my men will leave me just as I fall in love with them. Or that they view me as a time pass, waiting until someone hotter, smarter, richer comes along. It affected my self-esteem in a way that not much else could and time has not healed me. It's actually made me worse.
When my niece is older I will urge her date recklessly on her terms. She will have her whole life to be serious. College should be about learning, seeking and growing, not leaving scarred and fractured for years to come. But I do have faith that the romance with the Ex was not the last, but the first of many and I'm simply just a slow starter who is still searching for THE ONE.