Anticipation

Posted on 2019.03.20

He likes to wait.

More specifically, he likes when I make him wait. In his world, no one ever makes him wait. What he asks for, he receives. What he wants, he gets right away.

Except me. For me he waits.

The first time he booked a date with me, he noted that he was a man with many obligations and that his time wasn’t always his own. Riches, success, notoriety; all things that come to him if he just relinquishes control over his time.

That first night, I made sure to be early and was able to watch him as he entered the room. Heads turned ever so discreetly; everyone wanted to look, but no one wanted to be caught looking. Not me. I stared right at him as he approached our table. He’s developed blinders over the years and barely noticed that anyone was (discreetly) staring. He met my eyes and smiled at me knowing that once again, he had gotten what he wanted just by asking for it. I smiled back and waited until he sat down.

“You’re late.”

Confused, he looked at his watch and back at me.

“It’s 8:30?”

“But I’ve been waiting. So that would make you late.”

For about ten seconds he said nothing and just stared at me. I thought that was the end of the date and that Bridgitte was about to receive an angry call. I tried to keep my “serious” expression for as long as I could, but I could feel the giggle in the back of my throat. I took a deep breath to reset and made sure to not break eye contact. I could tell that it had been a long time since he felt like he was being told “no” and he couldn’t remember what to do or how to respond. In those ten seconds, I watched him process this unfamiliar feeling and knew that he liked it.

He blinked slowly, as if coming out of a trance and smiled. I knew that he loved it.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t say you’re sorry. Just make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“There will be an ‘again’?”

“I’ll decide that later.”

Finally, I let the size of my smile match his and he summoned a waiter to take our order.

I spent that first night asking a lot of questions to get to know him, but I learned more just by watching. He was a man who was very much about control and very demanding. A regular patron of the restaurant we were dining in, he barely had to lift a literal finger before someone was at his side, anticipating what he would ask for next.

By the time our appetizers were done, I knew I needed to not be like everyone else. He had enough people in his world saying yes. That wasn’t what he needed from me. Our waiter came over towards the end of our main course to promise us a special dessert not found on the menu. He thanked the waiter and looked at me with the expectant smile of a child waiting for his gold star.

“No thank you.”

That look of confusion flashed across his face and I seriously started to wonder how long it had been since someone said “no” in his presence. Again, we just stared at each other for a few seconds while our waiter hovered nervously. He tried to convince me that I would love this dessert and that the chef would be insulted if I refused it. I replied that the chef would be insulted if he refused it and that he could enjoy the desert if he wanted. I didn’t want it. I wasn’t trying to be difficult; I just really didn’t like what the dessert was made of. He started to speak and caught himself. He was hit with the realization that it wasn’t dessert he wanted; he wanted to win. He wanted me to say yes.

But he enjoyed the “no” so much more…

Ever since that night, he’s made sure to book with me as soon as my schedule is posted. His requests rarely vary: always the same place. At the same time. At the same table. He still likes structure after all. But now, I make him wait. It pleases him.

If it pleases me, I’ll say yes to dessert.

Photo by L. Christensen on Unsplash

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