Saturday, I took one of my friends out to lunch at a local Japanese restaurant that we haven’t been to yet. We both love anime and are always looking for authentic Japanese restaurants.
I look up as the waiter approaches and my heart leaps into my throat. It’s him.
“Welcome. May I take your order?” asks the handsome guy, who seems to be even more handsome than he was last night. Maybe it was the uniform.
As my friend orders, I look at his name tag. “Ken,” it says. So that’s his name. I like it.
I also notice that he still has the green star from last night on the back of his hand, and a blue moon. He must have left and went to another bar. The rainbow bracelet was gone.
He turns and makes direct eye contact with me. “What will you have?” he asks. I could get lost i those amazing dark brown eyes of his. I have to remember to breathe.
“Pork yakisoba and green tea,” I respond. I fold up the menu and hand it to him.
He grabs onto the menu and pauses briefly as he looks at the back of my hand then to me. “We meet again,” he said.
My heart stopped. Just now, did I say “Hi” or “Hai”* to him as a response? I’m not sure, my thoughts are jumbled. I let go of the menu and somehow manage to smile. I hope it is a normal-looking smile and not scary. I can’t be sure.
[* Japanese, meaning “Yes”, sounds the same as the English greeting]
He smiles and turns away.
“What was that about?” my friend asks.
“Oh, I went out to the bar with Mike last night and every time the guy ordered he had to stand next to me to do it. He probably just recognized the stamp on the back of my hand.”
When he brought us our food, Ken and I smiled at each other. Why can’t I stop smiling? I’m old enough to be his daddy—wait, poor word choice. I didn’t mean it like that.
When he asked for dessert, I wondered if he was on the menu. I instantly felt like a pervy old man thinking that.
When he asked for payment, I said that I was paying for my friend also and gave him my card.
He looks at the card then at me. “James?”
“Yes,” I reply.
“Ah. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too, Ken.” Inwardly I feel so awkward using his name, but I did read it off his name tag. It’s not like I’m stalking him or anything.
After he returned with the receipt and my card, he hands it back to me with a business card of the shop we’re at and thanks us for coming and wishes us to return soon.
My stupid heart somehow thinks that he was only talking to me, personally, and not to both me and my friend. “Stop it,” I inwardly tell myself.
Later that night I take off my clothes and pull everything out of my pockets. If I don’t make sure I do this every night, something will be destroyed in the wash.
I pull out the card from the Japanese shop. It was good food, and my friend and I had a nice time. I flip the card over to the back to see if the card is a two-sided print. It was not. It was a simple white background with the words “Text me” and a phone number written in blue ink.