First Date

Benjamin Niespodziany

I rented an entire restaurant so that we could sit on opposite ends and launch paper airplanes at each other with ice breaker questions. “Did you have any childhood pets?” “Yes, an iguana with a tail that couldn’t grow back.” I kissed each paper before setting them loose, hoping she could smell my new cologne. “Do you have a middle name? “Yes, Tracy, after a real estate agent in Rhode Island.” Our waiter picked up the planes that crashed too soon, walked from her table to mine so we could share appetizers. “Would you like to try my drink?” I screamed her way, growing impatient with writing.  “No!” she boomed back, “I think that’s something we might do on the fourth date, but for now, let’s keep our saliva to ourselves.” “You’re absolutely right!” The restaurant was an echo. The staff watched us from the steps. After dinner, I walked her home on the other side of the road. I bought a mega phone from a convenience store and shouted, “You look lovely in the shadowed sway!” When I dropped her off in front of her place, she asked if I wanted to come inside, but I was a block away. I couldn’t hear her. She was too small. She was a phone number scribbled on a napkin, the ink too tiny to read. She was an ant farm, my magnifying glass doing nothing but sizzling.


Benjamin Niespodziany is a night librarian at the University of Chicago. He runs the multimedia art blog known as [neonpajamas] and has had his work published in Ghost City Press, formercactus, HOOT Review (forthcoming), Occulum, and various others. Find out more at

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