The Play of the Waves – 1 – First Date

She had wanted everything to be perfect, and it was; still, amid a spectacular sunset, and after a wonderful day, some part of her worried.

Something is bound to go wrong, she thought.

“What is this called?” he asked.

“Guri guri,” she answered. “It means something like ‘massage’ in Japanese.”

“It’s a good name for it,” he laughed. “You look beautiful tonight, by the way,” he added, his eyes glowing with the last bit of the setting sun.

Yep, she thought. Something is bound to go wrong any minute.

“How much Japanese do you know?” he asked her.

“Very little. I lived in Japan between the ages of 1 and 4, so I know I learned some, but I haven’t really spoken in it in years. This is the closest I’ve been to Japan since then, and we’re — what? 3,000 miles away?”

“Something like that, or 4,000, maybe. Do you know any other languages?”

“I can actually speak a little French. N’est-ce pa une belle nuit?”

“It is,” he answered. “We are about to see a bunch of stars, too.”

“What about you? You obviously know some French.”

“My grandmother on my mother’s side was French. I studied Spanish in school, but I wasn’t very good at it. I’ve had to travel to Japan for work, but I know maybe three sentences, and I mispronounce those.”

There were a few moments of silence as they listened to the sound of the distant waves, mixed with music coming from the bar inside.

“Is something bothering you?” he asked. “I know it’s a weird question, since I don’t know you that well, but you seem a little… on edge.”

“Yeah, I’m a worrier,” she said with a sigh. “You might as well know that about me now. I worry a lot.”

“What are you worried about? Or is it more… general?”

“I haven’t had great luck with dating, honestly. I keep expecting something to go wrong.”

He looked at her, waiting.

After some seconds thought, she added, “What about you? Since we’re being honest, what’s going through your head?”

“I normally am very nervous going out, but I feel very comfortable with you. We’ve spent the last eight hours together, exploring the island, and the time has just kind of flown. It’s been really nice, to just be able to, you know, be, just be with someone. You are really interesting, and I was honestly thinking, I hope she’ll want to go out again.”

“Do you ever worry that stuff will just — go wrong?”

“Yes, well, if you predict doom, you are certain to be right eventually, but it comes at a cost. Still, sometimes, if things feel wrong, you have to trust that; that’s certainly part of dating.”

“How old were you when you started dating?”

“Ooh, that’s an embarrassing one to answer. I was eighteen, and my high school prom was my first ever date.”

“That’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“How old were you?”

“I was sixteen, and he was nice. A little boring for me at that age, but nice.”

“Do you know what he’s doing now?”

“Of course! He owns a contracting business; I think they do, like, doors and windows, in particular. I know his wife really well. She and I have known each other a long time.”

“And, since you brought it up earlier, if I do have a fear, or a worry, when it comes to dating, it’s that the other person will think I’m boring. So, my worry takes a rather predictable shape.”

“You are not boring. Not at all. I’ve had a really good time today.”

He smiled at her. “Me, too.”

“And I would like to go out with you again. But it will have to be back home.”

“Yes, I don’t think the company will pay for us to stay here and go out, sadly, so. If you are up for next Saturday, we should both be over jet lag by then.”

“Sounds great. Only I’m paying next time.”


Back at the hotel, she sat down on her bed, sinking back into the pillows. Nothing went wrong. You made it a whole day, and nothing went wrong. She heard a ding from her phone that indicated a text message.

So… how did it go? It read.

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