Red Dress Club Writing Prompt
Imagine you are meeting someone for the first time. You want to tell them about yourself.
Instead of reciting a laundry list of what you do or where you're from, please give us a scene from your life that best illustrates your true self.
This is an exercise in showing, not telling. You need to show us why this particular moment defines you, or why you want someone to know this truth about you. Be descriptive without bogging us down in extraneous details.
There is a wait at the restaurant which means the chances of us being seated next to the restroom are not good.
He puts our name on the list and the hostess hands us a buzzer. "Twenty-five minutes," she says.
Twenty-five minutes of waiting. Wondering. Racing heart. Knotted stomach. Deep breaths.
But I make sure he doesn't notice. I talk, a little too much. I am witty. I am funny. I laugh at his jokes. I touch his arm.
Our buzzer vibrates and we go to the hostess station.
"Right this way," she says and we follow.
I want to locate the restrooms on the way, but I focus on walking. On not tripping.
We take our seats at a table in the center of the room. Surrounded on all sides by people.
I look at him and smile. "This is great," I say.
I look around the room, pretend to take in the space - the funky artwork, the Gothic chandeliers - when really I am trying to spot the restroom.
There it is. All the way over there.
My stomach flutters.
"Can I get you something to drink?" our waitress asks.
I have given up soda for Lent and I don't drink water at restaurants. The only option left is tea.
Tea makes me have to use the restroom. Which is on the other side of the sea of people.
I glance down at the menu. Tea is the only option.
I smile brightly. "Sweet tea with lemon, please."
We order appetizers, dinner.
I talk, a little too much. I am witty. I am funny. I laugh at his jokes. I touch his arm.
My foot shakes under the table.
We talk sports, and politics, and world events.
I fiddle with my earring.
We talk about his stupid boss, my annoying co-workers.
He likes me. I can tell. A second date is a sure thing.
I finish my second glass of tea. I can't hold it any longer. I stand up and place my napkin on the table. My heart races.
"Be right back," I say.
I walk with my eyes down. Run my hand over the back of my skirt to make sure it isn't caught in my underwear.
I do it again just to be sure.
I steal glances trying to determine the path with the least amount of people. The fewest eyes, watching. The fewest lips, whispering.
I make it to the restroom and exhale. I pee. I smile at the girl at the sink. I reapply my lipstick. I don't look at myself in the mirror for too long.
The walk back to the table is easier even though the people are still there. Watching. Whispering. I keep my eyes down, but my heart returns to a steady thump...thump...thump.
"How about dessert?" I say when I sit down.
I smile brightly. To him it is no different than before, but to me it is. It is one of relief. Of triumph.
Until the next time.