His Chances | Pete

“Check out these two.”

Sarah looked up from her salad. “Who?”

“Over there,” Mike said, motioning with his eyes. “Blind date.”

Pretending to stretch, she turned and followed Mike’s gaze toward the entrance. There stood a pale lanky man, slowly scanning the dining room. He was dressed elegantly in a slim grey suit.

“Little overdressed.” Sarah said, though she wouldn’t have minded if Mike had worn more than just a blazer and jeans.

“Dressed to impress.” Mike concluded. A woman sitting two tables over raised her hand and fluttered her fingers. Unnoticed, she waved more aggressively to the man, who responded by raising his own hand and approaching her table. Over the din of silverware and evening palaver, Mike heard “Wonderful to meet you!” He looked back at Sarah, who had returned to her salad.  “Told you.”

“He’s late.”

“He was creating suspense.”

“Is that what you call it?” Sarah countered. Mike smiled.

“So?”

“So what?”

“What’s their story?” Mike asked. They played this game often. They made a good team: Mike was imaginative, and she was critical. She liked that about them.

“Hm…” Sarah watched the other couple carefully for a few moments. She could see the woman smiling and nodding at something the man was saying. “She’s very agreeable.”

“She’s his analyst, and they’ve just terminated therapy, so now they’re seeing each other socially. She does it with all her male clients; she gets off on the power imbalance, where she knows everything about them and they know nothing about her.”

“Don’t you think she’s too pretty to be an analyst?”

“No way. Analysts can be pretty. Besides, she’s not that pretty.”

“She’s beautiful, Mike.” Sarah went back to her salad. “I could never work with an analyst who’s better looking than me. I need to feel superior to them in some way in order to open up. And how much can a good-looking person know about suffering, anyway?”

“They read about it, in books. And when did you see an analyst?”

“In college, after my father died.”

“What did they look like?”

“It was a woman, 50s. Kind of matronly. Anyway, you said it was a blind date; she couldn’t be his analyst.”

Mike looked back at the couple. “You’re right. Ok: she’s the daughter of a woman in his mother’s book club, and their mothers conspired to set them up.”

“A woman like that getting set up by her mom?”

“She’s doing it as a favor to her mother. She’s generous that way.”

“Does she like the guy though, or is she just being generous?”

“She likes that he dressed up for her, but he’s not her type. She’s basically a heliophile, and he’s got as much color as an uncooked shrimp.”

“How do you like his chances?”

“Ça depends. What’s his story?”

“He’s… in medicine. Good salary, vacations, but not much spare time week-to-week.”

“Surgeon?”

“Not with arms like that. Radiologist, pathologist—one of those science-y ones.”

“She’s disappointed. If she’s dating a doctor, she wants it to be one of the life-saving variety.”

“Radiologists save lives.”

“Yeah, but she wants somebody on the front lines. She likes the idea of being felt up by the same hands that excised a tumor or transplanted a kidney.”

Sarah chewed arugula and watched the woman laugh at something the man had said, reaching her hand across the small table to touch his arm. “He’s doing something right.”

“He’s got a sense of humour. I like his chances.”

“You do?”

Mike nodded. “She likes that he’s got a serious job but doesn’t take himself too seriously. She’s tired of venture capitalists who treat every conversation like a pitch.”

Sarah wondered if his remark was a veiled criticism of her own personality. “You think she’s been on the market long enough to be tired?”

“Not everyone can be as lucky as us.”

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