Leaning on old elbows at Chinese lunch, tired of both the company and the food, he made a half-hearted decision not to do this again. He was not a fan of dim sum, but he did like Chinese food generally (his mind he had a faraway definition of Chinese food—think orange chicken). There was something essential about dim sum that turned the food lackluster. Eating at the whim of others—what they wanted to eat, what they decided you’d eat, this lack of choice and control from older women yelling and nudging into dining space.
He’d always thought at the table, hands pretending to be busy with tea or twisting napkins, while others were happily clacking their chopsticks together and on tin bowls, I motherfucking hate dim sum.
In a move not unlike him, he went back on his promise to himself, going to lunch with a Chinese girl, and in an effort to impress her and to make her happy and to get into her high-waisted skirt, he told her he’d take her out to eat wherever she wanted, and he just said it, threw it out there and didn’t think much of it, but her eyes lit up. She used to go to Dim Sum every Sunday morning with her family, she said. And since she moved to California she hasn’t, not because she hasn’t been dying to, but because she hadn’t anyone to go with, and wasn’t she so excited she now had someone to go with?
And so he said yes, because he liked this girl so far and because she looked pretty and bright, wearing red lips and shoes, and he knew he would hate the feeling of disappointing—not like he wasn’t used to it—but if he could, he would resist it. And because, she now had him.
They met at a coffee shop, she looking sharp red lips and shoes and smiles, and they walked to the dim sum restaurant, and he knew he felt disgruntled and unsatisfied at the start.
Months prior at a popular karaoke bar, he had the same dissatisfaction when a black man turned to him and told him how pretty his friend was, and told her that she loved to travel (as if she didn’t know), and that he was a psychic who had his own radio show and inferred his answers through date of birth, only. Then the psychic turned towards him. “You think too much, and this will fuck you up,” and he laughed. Not because he didn’t believe it, but because it was that obvious. That’s not psychic power, that’s intuition, he thought.