I'm going to preserve what remaining dignity I have not already immolated on the pire of neurotically romantic notions and blame it on the chai. Black tea has caffeine, right? Surely something similar to British Breakfast has enough of that blessed morning juice to instill me with the inability to sleep, leaving me a frustratedly awake ball of self-deprecation and detached observations.
But I only had a small chai, and there's so little actual tea in it that I can hardly rationalize my twitching left foot or my energy-addled brain. Maybe I can blame it on the plane. Perhaps reaching a cruising altitude and ascending through rough air, a concept that I can only believe to be nothing more than a practical joke to increase dramamine sales, is what is preventing me from closing my eyes and sleeping the slumber of children tuckered out from a Yankee's game on a mild summer afternoon.
But I know what it is and I am a bit embarrassed at how on-the-nose the New York reference is. It's not the tea, it's not the plane, and, although I'm grumpier for it, it isn't that I left my iPod at home. It's that I'm nervous. I'm nervous to see you.
I don't know if it's the aforementioned self-deprecation or if it's more my post-modern need to deconstruct, but whatever it is, it's going to ruin my birthday in a way that only seeing you will be able to repair.
Scenarios are flying back and forth in my mind like jello cups in a junior high cafeteria food fight and I cannot, despite my best efforts at logic, reason, and everything else I gave up along with the $350 for this plane ticket, help but play the evening's possibilities out through my head in various permutations.
One of them is an unabashed success. You have decided about halfway through dinner that you would LOVE to hold my hand. We're swept up in the moment, caught in a whirlwind of optimistic spontanaeity and the general romance of the whole situation and as we're walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and I wrap my arms around your waist as we look out over this beautiful body of water, I can feel your heart thumping "Kiss me, kiss me" and I throw my caution to the wind and dive in headfirst and we share a kiss that could only happen on a first date on my birthday on Valentine's Day in New York City.
The next scenario is less pleasant. After a few minutes of conversation, it's clear that we have little, if anything, in common, and, despite what I imagine to be our mutual best efforts, our verbal chemistry does not translate into an actual emotional connection and we end up drowning ourselves in unrealistic expectations brought on by the too much premeditation, too many John Cusack movies, and, perhaps, not enough alcohol. I end up sleeping on your floor, leaving an hour before you wake and leaving you only an awkwardly-written note expressing thanks for the floor and the roof, if not the company.
But the one I keep coming back to is different than both of those, somewhere in the middle. After an adorably awkward hug when I first see you, we end up tiptoeing around conversation, each afraid of...well, I don't know what we're afraid of, but we're both nervous as hell. I half-jokingly offer you my arm, hoping inside that you'll take it sincerely, which you do, and I am revitalized with the hope and possibility that such an obnoxiously dramatic situation could only be to achieve.
We'll have a nice, quiet dinner and I'll be so distracted by your eyes that I won't notice that I haven't blinked for almost two minutes. In the middle of you telling me about the annoyingly ironic hipster jackass from your class whose jeans are so tight they look like a denim blue henna tattoo, my eyes, to preserve themselves after their moisture has been neglected so, will tear up involuntarily, making me look like the most sensitively staunch defender of scenesters, having been oh-so-offended by your obviously just criticisms of insincerity in both writing and fashion, and we'll end up having a race to discern who is more embarrassed: you, for thinking that you made me cry, or me, for literally, although in a roundabout way, having been brought to tears by how beautiful you are.
I think that would be a happy birthday.